“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”– Mary Shelley
A funny thing happened before the Christmas holiday. Donald Trump admitted that he not only has had the vaccine, but he has also had the booster. The crowd’s reaction was interesting to say the least. My avid readers (those that avidly read as I suspect no one avidly reads my work) will recognize Mary Shelley as the creator of Frankenstein.
The story is easy enough to remember. Of course, the best part of the story was how it was created. It seems there was a bet about who could write the scariest story. I’m almost positive that no one considered her a contender at the beginning.
As on the money as that analogy seems at first blush, I’m not certain this is a Frankenstein situation. Trump didn’t so much create this monster as much as he simply fed it and released it from it’s cage. He recognized it when he decided to run for president. Say what you want about him, but he recognized the anger that was there and plugged into it.
People will make the obvious comparison with dictators and demagogues of the past. They’ll make the obvious and lazy connection to Adolf Hitler. Sure, there are parallels there, but one can always find parallels when they look hard enough for them. The parallel I draw is not necessarily with Germany but with the French Revolution.
He doesn’t fit any particular individual in that scenario. What he has done is take advantage of his place as an outsider. This is where he fails to recognize what has happened. After serving as president he is no longer an outsider. He can’t play into people’s discontent anymore. Now, he owns a part of that discontent.
The country is not in as extreme a situation as France was, but there are similarities. People are smart enough to see how things are slipping away. They are largely incapable of pointing the finger where it belongs. They see education costs rising. They see wages stagnating. They see other costs going up like health care costs and housing costs. One party has been really good at pointing fingers away from them. It’s the immigrants’ fault. It’s women’s fault. It’s those LGTBQ+ people’s fault. It’s ACORN. It’s Black Lives Matter. It’s Antifa. It’s critical race theory. It’s the war on Christmas. In short, it is everyone except for the people responsible.
What Trump didn’t figure is that once you get people started on a lie, they will follow that lie to its illogical conclusion. They will keep latching onto alternative treatments that don’t work. They’ll keep resisting the obvious. They’ll keep looking for scapegoats and when they don’t find a new one they’ll start pointing the finger at you.
That was seemingly going on in France at the time. The people were dissatisfied and they wanted new leadership. New leadership came in and they didn’t like them either. So, they kept revolting and they kept replacing until they stumbled into Napoleon. The funny thing is that I don’t think that’s what they had in mind in the beginning, but they did so much damage that is who they ended up with.
In that sense, I’m sure there is a comfort in someone that hates the same people you do. There is a certain amount of comfort in that hate. I can offload my failures and my insecurities onto those who I hate. The problem is that same person who helps us to point the finger either has no ideas to fix anything or actively doesn’t want to fix it. They want to fund raise off of it. They want to rob you blind while they are getting you to look at the “other”.
Eventually, you get to the point where you have stoked those fears long enough. You’ve been in power long enough. You’ve spun that yarn about protecting people from the other long enough. The people aren’t smart enough to realize this was a situation of your creation, but they are wise to the fact that you aren’t making it better. You never built the wall. Mexico never paid for it. Immigrants are still here. Costs are still high. Wages are still stagnated. Yet, here we are peddling the same crap we did in 2016 and 2020. You are here because you have nothing else.