So all of a sudden the racist and bigoted billionaire Donald Trump has jumped into a commanding lead over all the other millionaire and billionaire Republican presidential wannabe’s? Yet you’re surprised?
Why? For at least the last 20 years, you’ve had this coming.
A society which still lives in a cartoon-cut-out, despite its many fantastic and fabulous contributions to society in things like technology. A society which believes that guns don’t kill people? A society whose government is as dysfunctional as its opposite number is in Athens? A society where the words of someone called Kim Kardashian carry weight? A society where a true, decorated war-hero like John McCain could select an air-head like Sarah Palin as his running mate and expect to be taken seriously? A society where a vast number of people genuinely believe the world was created around 6 000 years ago? A society that repeatedly elects members of the Clinton and Bush clans? A society where reality TV and obesity wobble together into the future, an F-16 in one hand and an iPad in the other.
If he didn’t already exist, Hollywood would have scripted Donald Trump to rule over your society.
Bouffant hair, flamboyant, rich beyond the dreams of ordinary mortals, living a life of – apparent – excess and extravagance, Trump comes direct to America from The Hunger Games. Oh, sorry – he’s already on reality TV in The Apprentice. Well, he was, until he started saying what many ordinary Americans apparently think.
Ordinary white, racist, probably blue-collar, likely-to-be unemployed Americans, that is. I can imagine what ordinary black or Hispanic or any other kind of Americans think about The Donald. They probably talk about him the way he talks about Mexican immigrants.
But the reality, America – no TV-pun intended – is that to this long-distance watcher, many parts of your country appear to be in deep disarray. There are undeniable problems when it comes to race relations – witness the recent spate of killings by largely white policemen of largely black suspects, and the unsurprisingly angry reaction of the various communities to those. I’ve already mentioned gun control. Witness the bizarre response of your politicians to the massacre of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina, by one Dylann Roof, hoping to ignite a race war: “Let’s take down and ban the Confederate flag”. America, do you seriously think Roof strangled his victims with the controversial banner?
Your system of government deadlocks often, angrily and publically, threatening to bring the world’s largest economy to its knees every time it does so. But then we should remember that your system was designed to meet the needs of a new nation, in the hothouse years directly after the American Revolution in 1776, and the French Revolution in 1789. That’s why two parallel sets of laws can exist in tour country: one which allows the use of marijuana in certain of America’s states, but leaves it illegal at the Federal level. No wonder you have a split-personality. Your system is no longer ‘fit-for-purpose’, to use a wonderful phrase that I believe emanates from your fair shores.
This same system engulfs itself in its own version of reality TV every four years. Now, in mid-July 2015, we’re still more than a year away from the next Presidential election. Yet between now and then, America, you and a large part of the rest of the world will watch, debate, observe and comment as the various candidates parade, pronounce, pontificate and spend profligate amounts of dollars boosting their chances of election.
I must acknowledge it’s gripping stuff, fascinating, well worth following, a soapie of note. As your old booster and circus ringmaster P.T. Barnum would have put it, it is The Greatest Show On Earth! It’s reality TV at its very best. And that’s why Donald Trump is perfectly cast in his role.
For the nation that prefers Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Caitlyn Jenner to anything more substantial, who better to lead you than someone who himself is clearly a figment of his own fevered imagination?