With Trump as US president, let’s sit back and enjoy the show
Yonden Lhatoo relishes the prospect of endless entertainment and buffoonery with Donald Trump in the White House. Relax, it’s not quite the end of the world
“Be careful what you wish for,” my friends warned me when I wrote in this space back in February that I was rooting for Donald Trump to win the US presidential election. Well, now that the unthinkable has happened, here I am, relishing the moment, not regretting it.
I’m not a fan of that vile man in any sense, but, like I’ve always said, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter a damn who is in charge of that country. America will do what America wants to do and has always done.
You heard Trump’s victory speech. It was like they brought out an inflatable doppelganger with an accurate hairdo on stage to toe the line after months of racist, misogynist, chauvinistic, divisive, antagonistic, isolationist and protectionist rhetoric. The suicide bomber of American politics is suddenly the saint, pontificating about the “time for America to bind the wounds of division” and “come together as one united people”.
I followed the big American television networks’ news coverage throughout election day, and found it more entertaining than the most cringeworthy moments in Ricky Gervais’ The Office series. Pundits, pollsters and seasoned hacks figuratively soiling themselves in a combination of bewilderment and horror as the realisation sank in that their smug narrative had been oh-so-wrong.
Then I watched mainstream media denial and dismay give way to alarmist panic as global stock markets took an initial dive on news of Trump’s stunning upset, never mind the fact that it merely reflected the usual brokers and bankers gambling on people’s hopes and fears, rather than the end of the world. As you can see, that melodrama is over and everyone’s back to their pragmatist best at making money, never mind who’s sitting in the White House.
How could a man like Trump become president, you ask? Well, if you’d listened to soothsayers like guerilla documentary filmmaker Michael Moore back in July, “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘[expletive] you!’ ever recorded in human history. And it will feel good.” His assessment of Trump’s blunt talk: “It’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called ‘the middle class’ loves Trump. He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for. The human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”
Will he build the equivalent of the Great Wall of China along the Mexican border? Will he ban Muslims from entering the US? Will he tear up international trade agreements? I doubt any of it. Refer again to his subdued victory speech, bereft of any vengeful or “braggadocious” entitlement.
If I’m wrong, then I personally look forward to Trump running a more insular America focusing on its own affairs while leaving the rest of the world to fend for itself. And I relish the prospect of four years of unfettered entertainment every time he appears in public. I really missed that after George W. Bush retired. There’s something nihilistically reassuring about the thought of another bonehead sitting in purportedly the most powerful office on the planet.
And so much for lecturing the rest of us about democracy. The unpopular Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election because America insists on following an 18th-century system under which the real votes are cast by an electoral college of elites considered to be wiser and more responsible than Joe Public.
A much bigger triumph for democracy was the legalisation of marijuana in at least six states on election night. All you Americans threatening to relocate because of Trump, you know where to go now.
Yonden Lhatoo is a senior editor at the Post