Trump the Heretic
any objections to Trump are purely aesthetic in nature. He is not “presidential”; he is “temperamentally
unfit”; he is a danger to some utopian future; and in every case, he speaks words and uses a dialect in a way a puritan would disapprove of. But
given that whatever it means to be “presidential” is born of custom and dogma, that the criticism of temperament is itself born of emotion, and
the appeals to a dangerous future are the absurd products of revelation and prophesy, one might suspect that Trump is more like a heretic threatening
the established and peremptory order while the fundamentalists are shaking panic-stricken in the comfort of their confession booths.
Actor Susan Sarandon, Dailywire correspondent Ben Shapiro, and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi have all compared Trump to the drunk uncle at a
wedding party. We can excuse them whatever issues they have with their uncles, but picturing Sarandon, Shapiro and Mandvi with the same metaphor and
at the same party, they come off as the prudes who leave early because merriment is biologically impossible for them. I don’t know about you but I
would much rather sit at a table with a drunk uncle than spend a minute in tedious conversation with a group of pearl-clutching finger-waggers. Loosen
your tie for God’s sake! I know, I know, the point about not wanting a drunk uncle to be the president is valid. The problem is, drunk uncle Trump
doesn’t drink, has built a successful empire, and has amassed nearly half a century of leadership experience, and at any rate, would not be caught
dead at your wedding. The metaphor will just not do.
But this seems to be the norm. The imagining of suspicious and ridiculous mental scenarios, comparisons and analogies in regards to a Trump presidency
is all a prig really has nowadays, and prigs they are.
The motives and reasonings behind such blanket contempt towards Trump—a man who seems to get along just fine with people in general, but from a
distance and through a media filter is the most dangerous man alive—are reminiscent of the motives held by the inquisitors of the past, and just as
superstitious. Heretical ideas, behaviour and speech were denounced in the same way by both the tribalistic religious and the tribalistic classists
throughout history, which perhaps explains why both right and left-wing puritans engage in the same sort of witch-burning when it comes to Mr. Trump,
making for some odd but comfortable bedfellows.
“Trump is literally Hitler”, lamented comedian Louis CK.
“Trump hates Babies”, argued Rolling Stone Magazine.
“Donald Trump is the World’s Most Dangerous Man”, deplored Der Spiegel, adding that “Nothing would be more harmful to the idea of the West
and world peace than if he were to be elected president”.
“This is how fascism comes to America”, wrote the Washington Post, in which a bellyaching writer reminded us “the attempt to treat Donald Trump
as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic”.
Laughable indeed. None of these are true, of course, and grounds for defamation, but the desperation is immediately apparent in how they maintain
their fantasies, and which superstitions they will use in order to do so.
The trite and obsequious claims of “Trump is not presidential” are conformist and moralist in nature. If the demeanor and oratory abilities are of
your prime concern, then you only prove your desire for custom, conduct, and posey, and other vain snobberies—not much else. One thing is for
certain, Trump does not conform to some ill-defined standards and expectations in the moralist’s head. Trump doesn’t look the part, at least
according to a fevered imagination. They cannot imagine a President Trump, only proving themselves to be lacking in imagination.
Avoiding fear-mongering is as easy as taking these appeals to revelation for what they are. When it is claimed that Trump is a danger to some future
moment, we don’t catch an actual glimpse of what lies ahead, but of the faith-based paranoia of an ardent believer. With all of the hubbub around
how Trump talks and (oh lord) his tweets, we are not given any evidence of how his dialect is perilous to the duties of leadership, to the success of
an administration, or anything else for that matter, but of the sententious attitudes of puritanical prudes.
Speaking of temperament, the San Diego Union-Tribune, in a self-proclaimed historic endorsement of a Democrat for president, appealed to
“temperament” before comparing Trump to Hugo Chavez and Cristina Kirchner, both of whom led their countries to chaos and corruption. Kirchner,
herself a lawyer and politician, was criticized for corruption, crony capitalism, falsification of public statistics, harassment of independent media,
the use of a tax agency as a censorship, and the use of public funds to attack political opponents in her candidacy in Argentina (according to
Wikipedia). In a fit of irony, the San Diego Union-Tribune then goes on to show its support for lawyer and politician Hilary Clinton. Their logic
here is based on one nauseating and emotional premise: “Imagine President Trump”, proving their arguments to be born of just that, imagination.
This cause for condemnation on imaginary grounds has worked historically well for the tribal and dogmatic minds concerned with heresy whenever it
threatened their self-seeking allegiance and conformity, that ritualistic murder and atonement was once the only fitting punishment for it. When times
are less superstitious, however, crying and pontificating is the only remedy for such irrational fears.
The grand inquisitors—the media and political classes—have already taken it upon themselves to engage the heretics with a moral crusade. Andrew
Sullivan of New York Magazine said “it’s our patriotic duty to stop this maniac from becoming the president of the United States”. George Will
tells the Republican establishment that “Republicans working to purge [Trump] and his manner from public life will reap the considerable
satisfaction of preserving the identity of their 162-year-old party”. Jorge Ramos, leading Univision news anchor, says neutrality is not an option,
and that there are instances in which journalists have to take a stand when confronted with “racism, discrimination, corruption, public life,
dictatorships or violations of human rights”, none of which have even happened yet. So much for journalistic ethics.
There are many valid concerns against a Trump presidency, of course. Congress might actually have to do their jobs in keeping him in check. But the
invalid concerns far exceed the valid ones in the public marketplace. Imagery of a fascist dystopian future, a nuclear war, a future rife with
oppression and concentration camps, and as is the norm, the second coming of Hitler, pass through the minds of those who believe in the prophecy and
revelations of an army of bloggers, political hacks and pundits, many of whom couldn’t predict what would happen later in the very same day, let
alone later in a future Trump presidency.
Convicting someone of pre-crimes seems to be something straight out of Minority Report, but instead of utilizing psychics who can see in the future,
we are using those who refuse to see beyond their dull and baffled rage.