What We Talk About When We Talk About Trump

I was going to wait until Monday to post this, but certain…events have necessitated that I post this now.

For the last year, no matter what side of the political divide Americans fall on, one thing has been certain: it’s been next to impossible to keep the man’s name out of our mouths. To quote Lady Sovereign, love him or hate him, still an obsession. It’s completely understandable, because the man is fascinating, much like the furry blue noodles I found in the back of my fridge were fascinating. He lies about literally everything, insults women, people of color, and physically handicapped people like that’s his job (as opposed to, you know, leading the country), and it feels like if you miss an opportunity to mock him, you risk normalizing this behavior. However, by focusing in so strongly on his bizarre behavior, we are quite possibly giving him more power, like the hydra of Greek myth- every time you cut off a head, multiple heads grow back in it’s place.

He rose to power through populism, fueled in equal parts by Twitter and the media’s coverage of his antics. The more the news covered his outrages, the more people followed him on Twitter, and the more people took to Twitter to mock him, the more the far right latched onto him as a warped bastion of freedom. It’s not a bad strategy by any means- his behavior draws negative attention, and the negative attention draws backlash from his supporters. Meanwhile, the actual atrocities he’s committing- not that talking about assaulting women isn’t an atrocity, mind you- are going unnoticed. Every time he wants to distract the world from some awful new plan he has, all he has to do is hop on Twitter and tweet some made up nonsense and our attention is immediately drawn to that. It’s all smoke and mirrors, and it’s feeding into our collective short attention spans. All the while, he’s getting what he wants, which is nothing more and nothing less than our attention. So how do we rectify this? How do we stay watchful and alert without feeding the beast?

The key lies in paying more attention to his actual political actions, and not his outbursts. Yes, they are unacceptable. But as long as we keep looking, they’re going to keep happening. I fully understand that I am as guilty of this as anyone else; I am just as responsible for adding fuel to the fire and looking away from the actual impact of his policies so I can make fun of him. So, here it is: from this point on, I am going to attempt to pay less attention to the man and more attention to his actions. His actions are just as terrible as his tweets, and addressing them do much more to of get him out of office than making fun of him on Twitter will. Besides, we have the entirety of history to make fun of him. And we will take advantage of it.


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