“I’ve fallen for a lie. You were never on my side.” — Billie Eilish
There are all kinds of moments when you begin to feel your age. One of the biggest aspects of this feeling comes through music. As one commenter said, “In my teens I’d listen to music in my car and think that these were my jams. When I was in my twenties I’d be in a club and think these are my jams. Now, I find myself in the grocery store thinking that these are my jams.” Sadly, it’s all true.
Eilish is the first major recording artist born after the dawn of the 21st century. At least, she is the first one I know. Our daughter listens to her music a lot and I never really considered it, but the lyric above came from the song for the new James Bond movie. It’s funny how an older vehicle like Bond can reveal a new talent to those of us on the wrong side of the hill.
Of course, when it is related to James Bond, the idea of faith, trust, and betrayal takes on added significance. Most relationships with politicians aren’t life and death situations and most of us are taught at a very young age that if a politician’s mouth is moving than they are lying.
It makes perfect sense that some people would view Donald Trump differently. He was never a politician. At least he wasn’t in the strictest sense. He “ran” for president a couple of times before 2016. He made a semi-serious bid back in 2000 and flirted with it in 2012. Then, there was all of the birther crap that happened in the meantime. So, to say that Trump wasn’t a politician was only true if you define it as someone holding elected office.
When viewing his whole political life from afar, that has to be the most fascinating dichotomy. On the one hand, his followers loved him because he didn’t pull punches and “told it like it is” and yet he lied more than any politician in recorded history. I’m not sure how that adds up to telling it like it is, but to each his own I guess.
Trump was able to build his political brand through populism. The dictionary defines populism as “a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.” So, let’s try this on to see if it fits. Someone that says he is worth ten billion dollars and that stiffed contractors and creditors for years is in it for the little guy. Does anyone else see the problem here?
The appeal of populism is generally the axiom of the idea of having a president you would want to share a beer with. They always said that about George W. Bush. The irony there is that Bush doesn’t drink due to a drinking problem he had in the 1970s and early 1980s. However, the thought process is simple and innocent enough. You want someone you can relate to.
Of course, we can take this to its logical conclusion. As a comedian once said, “go down to your local bar. Look to your left. Now look to your right. Do you see any presidents there?” This falls into one of those conservative myths like the myth about picking yourself up by your bootstraps. It all sounds good. I want someone like me because then I could trust them. Except, I realize there is no way in hell I would trust me to be president of anything much less the United States and I like to fancy myself as fairly intelligent.
So, people fell for Trump as caring for the common guy. People fell for Trump telling it like is. Is that all they fell for? Well, I had people tell me that he was a brilliant business man and that he would run America like one of his businesses. Is that Trump Steaks? Ttump Airlines? Trump Vodka? Trump’s casinos? Exactly which business do you want him to run America like?
Furthermore, the whole idea of a businessperson being the best person to run America is another myth put forth mostly by conservatives. This isn’t to say that a businessperson couldn’t be an effective politician. Everyone has to get their start somewhere. However, that’s the whole point. People start at lower levels and work their way up the chain as they gain more expertise and experience.
I didn’t walk into a classroom when I was 22 and suddenly demand that people make me the head principal or superintendent. We don’t see business owners walk into an airplane cockpit and announce they were there to land the plane. A business owner isn’t fixing your cavity or removing your appendix. People get training to do these things. They practice before they do these things. We trust these jobs to experts in their field. Why should national politics be any different?
We say all that to say this. Most of us (meaning more than half) knew what Donald Trump was all along. We knew he was a con man and that he really wasn’t in it for the little guy and he really didn’t have any idea of what he was doing. Yet, we can understand someone telling themselves that the politicians had failed so let’s let this guy give it a try. He has given it a try and it was an outright disaster. Admit that he lied to you and let’s move on.