Dear American friends,
We, here in Toronto, completely understand the mounting shock you feel about what Donald Trump is able to say without blowback from his grassroots political base. Words like “unfathomable” and “inconceivable” and “holy fucking shit” come to mind.
Trump derides the integrity of a war hero’s family. He mocks the disabled. He lies and contradicts himself with the frequency that other people floss their teeth.
But look. We went through this in North America’s fourth largest city with mayor Rob Ford.
Perhaps you’ll recall that Ford was an out-of-control alcoholic who eventually admitting to smoking Crack, after careering around City Hall on all kinds of cartoonish antics including making a reference to giving his wife oral sex on live TV.
Ford wasn’t a narcissist, so much as he was an overgrown child with addiction problems and poor impulse control, may he rest in peace.
But, like the gardener in Peter Seller’s brilliant movie “Being There,” Ford unwittingly became the blank slate upon which people projected their bitter frustrations and hopes for vengeance. He was a mascot for sinners, as one Jamaican-Canadian told me. How do people participate in a democracy when they’re dispossessed, hounded by the police, repeatedly humiliated? They support someone who resonates with their sense of failure or anger.
The truth we Torontonians learned from our bizarre Rob Ford era is that North American voters have completely reconceived their idea of what’s important in electing a governing figure. It isn’t about merit. It isn’t about resume. It’s about projection of self. This person looks like me, and I want to be seen, witnessed, acknowledged, in elite power structures.
Once that deeply abiding, personal decision is made to invest in a mascot, there is absolutely no dissuading. Arguments are futile.
I know, because I have tried arguing with Trump supporters on Facebook, and they engage in a closed loop system of logical argument that just repeatedly locks out the basic premise of Trump’s radical unfitness to lead. You point out to them that Republican security advisors have just penned an open letter to raise the alarm about Trump having access to national security briefings, given that he’s clearly suffering from a personality disorder, and they counter that Bernie supporters weren’t happy at the DNC.
They have CHECKED OUT on the matter of perspective, because what really matters to them is having a mascot.
They want to be heard, and they will, quite literally if unintentionally, blow up the country for that to happen.