WHAT THE ELECTION
IS REALLY ALL ABOUT
Sometimes they can surprise by showing how little has changed. More often, they reveal the beginnings of ideas and themes that would infuse later arguments.
During the run-up to 2016’s Presidential election, author and television writer Shalom Auslander penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he explored the comparison between Adolph Hitler and The Donald then becoming a popular anti-Trump rant. Auslander wasn’t fond of the comparison, and actually felt that it belittled Hitler…
“Hitler was a megalomaniacal psychopath who should burn in Hell for eternity,” he wrote. But at least der Führer was someone “who actually believed in something. There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.”
The “fools,” of course, were us — which was Auslander’s main point. He wanted to show that Donald Trump could have gotten to where he was a genuine contender for President of the United States only because We The People were so irredeemably weak minded …
“Are we that terrified? Are we that hateful? Are we that frightened, that cowardly, that selfish, that helpless, that cold-hearted, that dumb, that easily manipulated, that easily provoked? Are we so bereft of answers, so pathetically hopeless, that all we can come up with is easy scapegoating and blind fealty to Our Great Leader? Are We The People really going to fall for the dumbest, oldest, easiest trick in the book?
“Because if we are, then we won’t need an Adolf Hitler to embrace that darkness. Even a two-bit con man like Donald Trump will be enough.”
Alas, We The People went on to fulfill Auslander’s worst fears.
Two years later, we are approaching an election that will determine whether Trump’s efforts will be stymied by the loss of Congress to the Democrats. And We The People are under attack once again. The assault is visible everywhere — all over social media, as this current meme suggests, and even on the streets, as shown by the New York City trash can posters displayed at the top of this essay.
We are stupid.
We are ignorant.
We are selfish.
We are narrow-minded.
We are racist.
We are déclassé.
We are fearful of the future, and intent on turning the country back to its Euro-centric, slave-holding, imperialist past.
Worst of all, we’re mired in anti-scientific religious superstition.
We’re a mess!
And we might just as well be left to the depredations of a lunatic like Donald Trump — except we’re holding up the accomplishment of that borderless, multicultural, gender-free, egalitarian utopia that is America’s ultimate destiny.
So get the hell of the way, and take Donald Trump with you!
Now, of course, Donald Trump isn’t actually running this year. The election involves the Senate and House of Representatives, along with state-level and local offices. But I find it interesting that Democrats — all across the country and at pretty much at all levels — have very few issues to run on.
They’re airing the usual attack ads, the kind that claim your opponent is the most corrupt politician since Boss Tweed (of course, those are a staple of both parties). But pretty much the only thing they’ve put forth as a campaign theme is protecting insurance coverage for pre-existing health conditions.
Granted, pre-existing conditions are a significant concern for many people, but they’re not what you’d call a governing principle. If this is the most Democrats have to say about their vision for the country, it shows how thoroughly The Donald — that non-candidate — has come to dominate the scene and sucked all the air out of the political discussion.
And anyway, after Obamacare, nobody’s going to oppose this guarantee which everyone now accepts as a given. (Nobody’s put forth any workable proposals about how to pay for covering pre-existing conditions, but nobody’s going to oppose it.)
Bereft of real issues, the Democrats have only their hatred of Donald Trump, and by implication, their contempt for those who let this oafish, unpolished, unqualified interloper snatch the presidency from the exalted personage who really deserved it. Hillary Clinton.
And so the focus comes back to us.
Poor benighted, incorrigible us.
We The People.
That’s what this election is really all about: The enlightened against the great unwashed. Those who know how the country should be run — and who, therefore, deserve to run it — against the hoi polloi, the lumpenproletariat.
It’s the establishment versus us.
In a sense, Donald Trump is an icon for us. More extreme perhaps, more over the top. But embodying the deplorable characteristics of most Americans.
We The People.
Yes. That’s what this election is really all about.
I don’t know if this meme is a false-flag effort, a sick joke, or expresses someone’s true feelings. Either way, it’s very disturbing…
As if to underscore my point — these memes have appeared in the late hours of the campaign…
Here’s a link to that 2016 Washington Post op-ed in which Shalom Auslander argued that calling Trump Hitler belittles Hitler…
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Yale computer science professor David Gelernter notes the characteristics of Donald Trump that make him an iconic American figure…
“Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American — except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.”