If you are in the media and think you’re in one of those zombie movies, where all the people you thought were your friends suddenly become glassy-eyed robots and start marching mindlessly toward you …well …you are.
I was raised on Walter Cronkite and “Goodnight Chet …Goodnight David.” And I’d never considered that any of those stodgy old newsmen, reading in monotone, had any political opinions on anything. But they did.
Then, the savior of the world showed up in one Barack Obama. And the press showed us all EXACTLY who they were. I saw several “journalists” crying tears of joy on the night of Mr Obama’s election. One anchor retorted, “this is the FINAL repudiation of the Reagan Revolution.” I found that telling …and a little disturbing. The election of Mr Obama seemed to be a signal to the press that they could finally – after all these years – put all their cards on the table. And so, they did.
When Mr Obama was asked, “what has enchanted you the most about the presidency,” I rolled my eyes so far back in my head I could see a memory from 1975. What was happening? I mean, got the historic nature of Mr Obama’s skin tone. But as he put forth policy after policy that just didn’t seem to work (but was continually given cover by the media) I mentally checked out more and more.
By the time of Mr Obama’s last year, I didn’t watch televised news anymore. I didn’t read any more newspapers. I had let my subscriptions to Time and Newsweek (and DEFINITELY Rolling Stone) lapse. Why? Because I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting the straight story anymore. And too many reporters had shown me their politics. And, more importantly, they had shown their disdain for people like ME.
News people, talk show hosts, comedians, actors and musicians need to realize something: when you criticize an elected official (or a single political party), you’re also criticizing the people who voted for them. You’re not just saying George W Bush is evil, you’re saying the people who voted for him are evil …by proxy. I admit I voted for Mr Bush (the second time). I felt like he was a good man trying to do his best in horrible circumstances. I still feel that way. But when Rosie O’Donnell called for him to be “tried at the Hague” for war crimes, on national TV, she wasn’t just calling for HIS prosecution …she was also calling for mine.
The people in the “fly over” states …GOOD people …had gotten so fed up with being told that just because they didn’t support government run healthcare, just because they would like to see taxes lowered, just because they would love to see the private sector give something a try before it becomes a trillion-dollar government boondoggle, just because they believed in border security, just because they’re not sure they are responsible for destroying the planet when they buy an SUV, just because they actually LOVE their country and want to see it succeed …that they are somehow, racist, homophobic, backward war-mongers who are killing children and grandmothers, taking food out of people’s mouths, and basically being the hands of the devil.
Well, sometimes, when you’re in a relationship with someone who constantly belittles you and cuts you off mid-sentence and marginalizes your concerns and calls you names and laughs at your choices and treats you like a lessor human being, you stop fighting back and just check out of the relationship. You smile and shake your head dutifully and stop listening to pretty much everything they have to say. Then, you stop caring what happens to them. You lose your empathy for their well-being, because you know in your heart they have absolutely no empathy for yours.
And one day an opportunity comes along. An opportunity to drive them mad while exposing who they are. And while you don’t think of yourself as a vengeful person, you are so cut off from them, you just seize the opportunity without emotion.
America’s opportunity of this kind was Donald J. Trump.
THOSE people …the one’s who’d been marginalized by David Letterman and Chris Rock and George Stephanopoulos and John Legend and Michael Moore and dozens of others, came out and secretly voted for Trump. They were tired of being the butt of every other joke on every late night show. They were tired of being called racists because they support the police. If I may put a fine point on it, they were tired of sending their tax money to people who called them “deplorables.”
So, when Trump insulted John McCain …they stood silent and said, “deal with it.” When he mocked a man with special needs, they stood back and again said, “deal with it.” When the Access Hollywood tapes came out, they gritted their teeth and again said, “we don’t care …deal with it.”
He was the new significant other no one wanted to take to a cocktail party or home for the holidays, but who listened and treated them like a real person. He didn’t dismiss their opinions. He embraced them.
Now, we’re watching a president of the United States tweet things at 2 in the morning that make him sound like a 14-year-old girl. But guess what? Nobody who voted for him cares. And all you coifed, made-up, well-spoken talking heads in the media are just gonna have to suck it up and deal with it for the next three and half years. Because all the people you thought were ignorant and devoid of public policy knowledge, just going to ball games and politely raising their kids and going to church on Sundays and being the salt of the earth, have been insulted by you for so many years, they’ve turned into those zombies you thought you knew …who are now coming to eat you (not literally. No one is coming to physically eat anyone. This is called a metaphor).
Guess what? You didn’t know them and you didn’t respect their point of view. And now they don’t care how much you wring your hands. They don’t care how serious your tone is on the evening news. They don’t care about anything you have to say. I believe they know that what Trump is doing is completely unseemly for a sitting U.S president. They know their liberal friends are going to torch them (and him) on social media. But they’ve been called so many names for so long (with total impunity), they’re impervious to it, now. They’re just standing there with terrifying little smiles on their faces while Trump goes hog wild after the next sacred cow.
It won’t matter what he tweets. It won’t matter who he insults. It won’t matter how weird it gets. They won’t care. Because he’s actually addressing their concerns and you pushed them too far away. And nothing short of him committing murder – ON VIDEO – will turn their opinion about him …or you. They hate YOU more than they care about his tweets.
They checked out. You helped them get there.
And you know what? Even though I’m not a fan of Mr Trump’s Twitter antics, as I sit here, LITERALLY breaking the law because I have no health insurance, while listening to people say my belief in repealing the ACA will KILL hundreds of thousands of people …and I watch that absolutely wild, unsubstantiated assertion NOT get challenged ANYWHERE in the media …I’m starting to get it.