If 2020 was a movie, it would be rated R for violence, hate speech, a pandemic, treason, and climate armageddon. When Hollywood filming resumes, this year will come to Netflix, and it’s antagonist will be anti-mask crusader Donald Trump. He’ll bristle over who plays him and marvel at trailers with his likeness.
The first–and probably last–presidential debate would have been the perfect end to a presidency littered with felons, insane conspiracy theories, lying, hatred, democracy degrading, and psychological warfare. But this Shakespearean nation-drama needed something more climactic to test its survival in the final days leading up to the election: Will American democracy die or will the President? The final episode of the worst reality show ever airs November 3.
Trump’s followers are getting ready to vote–and they will vote. They’ll vote because they know they may never find a president like him again. Trump carries their Tiki torch like nobody else will. He represents everything they hold dear: whiteness, hatred for immigrants and the LGBTQ community, cheating, a loathing for poor and unemployed people of color, hypocritical Evangelical Christians, mocking the disabled, hunting endangered wildlife, law-breaking, brute dictators, sexual assault, deregulation of the worst polluters, and deep-seated misogyny. These defenders of Christopher Columbus’s land scorn scientists, doctors, historians, journalists, educators, diplomats, and facts. They live on Fantasy Island, where truth is whatever Trump spits into a microphone at his super-spreader rallies.
Thankfully, Trump’s debate debacle–a 90-minute infomercial for Tylenol–reminded Americans as they prepare to vote that he’s an awful person. He can’t fake civility or intelligence because he has neither. Trump didn’t just mock Biden for wearing a mask, but for wearing the biggest mask that he has ever seen. Only a playground bully would accuse someone of wearing a big mask, which is why it didn’t surprise anyone when Trump said it. Trump’s list of shameful actions is endless, but the phony mogul’s politicization of a public safety issue ranks among his most unforgivable decisions, given how many people his recklessness has killed.
Many Americans were shocked by Trump’s lack of empathy–even as Biden discussed people dying. But Trump cannot listen, learn, reflect, compliment, or display compassion unless someone is talking about a stock. As Biden described his son who died of cancer and people who died of the coronavirus, he naturally started talking about Hunter Biden, because what else could be on the minds of Americans? Trump never thought about pausing to acknowledge Beau Biden or 210,000 people who we’ve lost to the pandemic. They died, so they’re suckers and losers like the fools at Arlington National Cemetery. He has no sense of history or responsibility, and no respect for his office.
Trump supporters don’t just accept his malicious conduct and abhorrent values–they cheer for him knowing all they know. His values are their values. Although they like to play a game of “This, But Not That,” there’s no separating his actions. His cult members don’t get to say they like his trade policy, but not his white supremacy. And gaslighting opposition by bemoaning “cancel culture” like victims is pathetic and transparent. If you support white supremacy, you get canceled. Full stop. Among the most challenging realities for Americans to accept is that we live among people who either don’t realize Donald Trump is a walking atrocity, or they do, and they embrace him.
Now America’s most famous victim has the coronavirus–a shocking development that sent shares of Clorox soaring. He would never deflect attention away from himself and give it to our heroic nurses or afflicted people without health insurance because life is about him. Now the man who has obliterated the value of science will rely on it to save his life. The Irony Gods made sure that his coronavirus treatment, Remdesivir, which scientists developed using stem cell research under the Obama Administration, provided one last hurrah of hypocrisy from the Evangelical Christians’ dear leader. How many precious embryos died to save him?
Trump’s disregard for the American people has gutted our economy, hindered the education of millions of children, drained our healthcare workers, and put countless business owners in bankruptcy. He had a chance to unite the country and steer the ship through choppy waters, and instead, he drove it into an iceberg, which is now melting thanks to his anti-environmental policies.