Donald Trump seems perplexed — genuinely perplexed — by the Anti-Trump protests since November 8. He won, didn’t he? In the pageant of presidency, he got the crown and is taking his victory lap after which he reigns (not serves) for four years. It should be all applause from here on out.
But one week ago, Trump was unfit to lead. And one week later, he still is. I continue to stand with the majority who did not vote for Trump. That’s why I marched last Saturday with thousands of fellow Angelenos chanting NOT MY PRESIDENT. (And, no, I wasn’t paid.)
The prospect of a Trump presidency doesn’t make me feel like a “loser” but it does make me feel like a chump. The same feeling I had as a kid when I diligently played by the rules even after it was clear the bully was about to turn things upside down — usually by declaring new rules in the middle of the game. Even in grade school, you can see that hollow victory is still victory. So while I respect the democratic process and the peaceful transfer of power, I feel a deep absurdity, knowing Trump and his inner circle don’t. They just need me to get in line quietly.
I fear what we’ll become under Trump, not because of what he stands for but because he stands for nothing. He says whatever gets ratings. He does whatever keeps the cameras pointed in his direction. He stokes the worst in us, because it’s easy.
And get ready for that grandstanding to be a regular feature of the next four years. The New York Times reports (paywall) that Trump has “…expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide…” There’s the clue to the daily task that’s been thrust on us — filling the bottomless well of Trump’s need to be adored. His brand will be revived, products will roll out, and those rallies will become one long, inescapable infomercial for Trumpalia.
He’ll undoubtedly get rich out of the deal, but personal adoration is something else. Even the briefest look at presidential history shows that it’s never been a platform for “instant gratification and adulation.” Being president is not like being a TV host (with your face on buses and billboards). It’s not like being a CEO (where you can just fire all the people who disagree — remember, we’re the majority of voters). It’s not even like being a beauty queen (where white teeth and super-coiffed hair really, really count). Serving the people is mostly thankless, grueling work, and winning my adoration isn’t the same as grabbing it.