I Want To Be Donald Trump
Around 10PM yesterday night, on November 8, I went to sleep. In the past, I’d stayed and watched – when Bush beat Kerry in 2004, when I’d gotten rejected from Stanford in 2012, and when the Celtics destroyed the Lakers in the 2008 Finals. I had gotten my four-function calculator and re-added all the vote numbers, re-read that rejection e-mail, and watched the trophy ceremony and every postgame interview – all because it engendered hate. Hatred that would be a motivator, the worst kind of motivator, but one that paid off – Obama in 2008, the Lakers in 2010, and my anticipated admission to Stanford for graduate school in 2017. But this time, I slept, until I couldn’t really sleep anymore, realizing that the sun would still rise and work would still call – the election didn’t matter to them. This time, there wasn’t anything to get mad over.
I realized that I wanted to be Donald Trump. I want to be able to say whatever I want, defy all traditional norms and labels, make truths my own, connect with people, and have the ability to lead with influence.
Over fifty-nine million people voted for Donald Trump. And it doesn’t matter that more voted for Hillary, because fucked-up or not, that’s the system – you wouldn’t be crying foul if she won the electoral vote and not the popular vote. But that’s about 47.5% of the country, almost 1 in 2. Statistics would interpret that as: if you look to your left and look to your right, one of those people is going to have the opposite view as you. But that’s not true, is it? Everyone around us has the same view – just take a look at all the Facebook statuses that you’ve liked in the past 12 hours. See which of your friends you consider to have a different political philosophy, and which of those friends with whom you’ve actually shared a conversation.
We were so quick to deride – automatically labelling all Trump supporters as uneducated, racist, misogynistic, deplorable. We demeaned them to the point where they fled for the hills, hiding from the pollsters until they could participate in the only poll that counted. And in doing so, we built up the false sense of security, of complacency, and decided that we didn’t need to show out. Take the conservative view – not the one that you see on TV from FOX News or the one that Tomi Lahren screams at you every day. The one where not all church-goers want bathroom police, not all patriots want to behead Colin Kaepernick, and not all white people want to punch a black guy at a rally. The one where some have lost jobs to Mexican immigrants, or been victimized by the attack of a radical terrorist – and have no other frame of reference regarding those people. You individually are a product of the people and the situation around you – none of us should pretend to be noble enough, to think that we’d have been that much different.
Over five million people didn’t vote for either one. Five million idealists whose only crime is not understanding where idealism and practicality diverge, and who just want to feel warm and fuzzy inside about the candidate they chose. If the 8AM bus leaves at 7:59AM just as you’re running up to it, you don’t stand there and idealistically demand that the bus return and take you; you walk or bike or take the train because it’s practical. If you vote for someone that can’t win the election, you don’t care about who wins the election. Change comes from within a party, not from those abstaining from either one. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, for all their clamors for more attention, know that they couldn’t stand up to the media scrutiny – their every-four-year run is little more than a personal vanity endeavor. They didn’t realize that their action was not victimless, because they believe in idealism, a concept which this country was built upon.
We were so quick to blame – blame the DNC or the media. Levelling accusations against the democratic elite when less than a dozen of their e-mails were about Bernie with no proof of nefarious action, and when he was inept at getting the minority vote despite his otherwise terrific campaign. Casting aspersions on the media of the free air time, when we all tuned in for all of the controversy because it was must-watch TV, eliminating their roll as the mediators because no one wants to hear what someone else thinks about Trump. Forgetting that we were never going to have a beer with a presidential candidate – how many times did you think about Obama over the past eight years, except when he was doing a late-night show or giving a major speech?
We were even quicker to revolt. Protesting at a system that worked exactly the way it was supposed to. Exercising our moral-high-ground, holier-than-thou, “how did America get like this?” gag reflex. Questioning how this was unfolding before our eyes, when there are so many people in this country who are distinct from us in memory, thought, and feeling. Reminiscing about how we should have appreciated Mitt Romney, and John McCain and retroactively traded for years of their nonexistent administrations. Calling it unfair when we had so recently snickered at opposition’s assertion that it would be rigged. Using this as an excuse to express cynicism – a sorry kind of wisdom – at the ability of institutions. Donald Trump is the president – that much is fact, so what the fuck are we protesting? While all of our biases have collectively shrunk over the years, we have one bias remaining – against those who disagree with us.
And now, we’re so quick to flee. Canada’s immigration website crashed yesterday, and everyone’s claims of ‘moving out of the country’ had a slight hint of truth to them. Regardless of however little a president can do to affect the economy, notwithstanding the enduring scorn he is to endure from conservatives, neglecting the fact that the religious hacks from Cruz to Huckabee were soundly defeated – we’re ready to run. Ready to be fair-weather fans of America, promising to don our American flag jerseys in four or maybe eight years, but storing them on the top shelf for now. Sit your ass down. You’re not going anywhere, because that gives the winners an even greater majority. And that means that next time, we let them win – not ‘them’ as in those with whom we don’t agree, but ‘them’ as in those who fear us as each side does the other.
I still strive to be Donald Trump. And when that happens, I hope that people – upon waking up from that early night’s sleep – will still root for me. That they’ll be unafraid to challenge, but do so without invoking fear. That they’ll act pragmatically without losing a shred of their idealism. And that they’ll stay and build instead of run and knock things over on their way out.
I hope that all of that happens with this Donald Trump too. We don’t owe it to him, but we owe it to ourselves.