I swore I would never pull the lever for Donald Trump for all the veiled reasons Meryl Streep laid out for us …in her seven thousandth acceptance speech …where she sets us straight on a few things. Thanks Meryl. Please send me some tips on what to have for breakfast …I need your opinion on my everything in my life. Anyway …
I have a special needs daughter and I work with veterans. Mr Trump disparaged both of those groups during his campaign. And it kind of took my breath away.
I kept wondering why people stayed with him. But I watched …and listened. I had discussions and tried to steer clear of arguments. I took it all in. And by the time he won, I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
I’m still not telling anyone who I voted for (or if I even voted at all). But Mr Trump’s victory still intrigues me. HE still intrigues me. And the fact that a legend in her field would dedicate her lifetime achievement award to commenting on HIM, rather than creating her own historical, timeless moment …is intriguing to me.
Personally, nobody gets to live in my head cheaply enough to wreck my lifetime achievement award speech. But clearly, he’s STILL making great real estate deals.
I believe I was the FIRST blogger to assert that I think the man has a personality disorder or some sort of special need (maybe even on the Autism spectrum). But guess what? He’s about to be the president, now. And there’s a reason for it.
Over the holidays, I was in contact with some unlikely Trump voters, who you would never guess were on his side.
I spoke with several minorities as well as (God forbid) entertainment folk, who all either secretly voted for the man or completely get why he won (even if they didn’t vote for him), and would prefer no one know it. The irony is they don’t want anyone to know it for the EXACT reasons Trump opposers are scared out of their minds right now. They are afraid of being discriminated against and yelled at and lectured to and made fun of and even harmed, physically. The wrath of the tolerant is often too much to bear when things don’t go their way. As we saw last night, it always shows up at Hollywood award shows. And sometimes the darkest side of it shows up on Face Book live …but I digress.
In all the unlikely Trump voter cases I just cited, nothing about Hillary Clinton’s hacked or leaked emails made the difference to them. It wasn’t about her alleged corruption. It wasn’t about her being shrill (that’s not alleged …that’s for real). It wasn’t about her owning a vagina. It wasn’t about style points or pant suits or the Democrat machine not messaging to them correctly.
It also wasn’t about Donald Trump’s crazy uncle routine. None of the people I mentioned, crossed over for Trump because they wanted to see minorities silenced or the clock set back a hundred years or any of those well-worn cliches. In fact, most of them voted for Trump IN SPITE of having to roll their eyes at his tweets and public statements every other day. In every case I’ve mentioned, it came down to a couple of things: reversing current policy and getting rid of the status quo.
All the people I know who secretly voted for Trump did so with trepidation. None of them want to have to own the crazy tweets at 2 am. ALL of them wish he would stop yelling at SNL. And they all pretty much know he’s probably a world-class jerk they would not want to have dinner with.
But you can’t go 8 years without cracking 3% GDP and not have people feel it. You can’t have an unsafe America and it not shake people to their core. You can’t have a culture spinning into chaos without people reaching for something to steady them. People know subconsciously that this – America – is the last stop. If THIS ship goes down …there’s no place left to go. And people are feeling the starboard bow dip …at the very least, they’re hearing the ice berg scrape the hull.
And so, unlikely groups of people went to the polls and gave this unlikely guy a chance. And if you’re in the arts and don’t understand why …then you’re too insulated.
Everything Ms Streep said in her speech was correct on its face. But she never has to juggle utility bills and isn’t stressed about her health insurance rates going beyond her ability to own a policy. She’s not worried about going to a mall and getting capped by some self-radicalized maniac.
But the rest of America is in enough crisis – enough real crisis – to have turned to a guy they would’ve never considered in different times. If you want to measure presidential legacies, look no further than the arms into which they drove the country. Want to know how we felt about Nixon? Look at Carter. Want a sense of what we needed after Carter? Look at Reagan. And if you’re trying to reconcile the legacy of Barack Obama …I give you Donald Trump.
So, the 45th person to take a shot at this will take the oath in a little more than a week. And we will all move on into uncharted waters with him …whether we like it or not. And we’re probably going to have to endure speech after speech by celebrities who are pretty immune to the day-to-day struggles of middle Americans …for at least the next four years. Then we’re going to have to watch our president tweet something sophomoric back at them and call geniuses in their field “overrated” and never allow himself to be the bigger man.
Yep …THIS is where we are.
Having said all that, believe it or not, I have an odd feeling we will be strangely fine. I’m a big believer in the American system and the American people. We’ve survived a lot of crazy in our two-hundred and forty-one years. And Donald Trump, for all his faults (which are legion), does manage brands pretty well.
Now, his brand is the United States of America. I’m curious to see how he manages it. My hunch is it won’t be unlike how Howard Hughes managed a multi-billion dollar empire from a chair in a movie theater, completely nude and stacking and re-stacking Kleenex boxes. Still …
My diverse and multi-dimensional friends are curious about this as well. They found themselves voting for someone they didn’t really like …to hopefully restore a country they love.
So far, his pre-oath actions have been a mixed bag for me. Some of it I have found to be brilliant. Some of it has been very non-presidential. Some of it has been downright disturbing. Most of it has been unconventional. But ALL of it has been interesting. And we’re just getting started.
I may be the only person in America (or the world) who doesn’t have passionate feelings one way or another about the upcoming presidency (my feelings for the MAN, not withstanding). Mainly, because I don’t really know what Donald Trump is. He’s DEFINITELY not a conservative. But he’s not really a liberal. He’s not an actual Republican. But he’s not an actual Democrat.
As a person, he’s a petri dish of contradictions and “issues.”
But if you’re looking at him through any of those lenses, you’re missing the point of what’s actually happening right now. What is happening right now is something we’ve only seen in the movies Meryl Streep says are better than MMA or the NFL (clearly, she hasn’t seen enough of either). The 3-minute, elevator pitch is the perfect “high concept” for Hollywood: “What would happen if an eccentric billionaire/global real-estate tycoon, who had NEVER held any public office (local or state), ran for president of the United States …and won?”
Well, we’re are all about to find out …together. And all the speeches in Hollywood aren’t going to change it.
Oh …and PS – He’s not Hitler. Neither was Obama. Neither was Bush. Shut up.