Honestly, I wanted the man in 2012. I was excited Trump had joined that race. But then he ran off as soon as his TV show got picked up again.
It was on the original "The Apprentice" that I felt I'd gotten to know Donald Trump. For someone who was among the high and mighty, he never seemed to talk down to anyone, and always gave a fair hearing. He seemed to have a heart.
I also noticed his common man's way of talking. From the simple phrases and limited vocabulary to the non sequiturs that now perplex our "thinking" classes. I thought to myself, "This guy just needs an interpreter." I yearned to be it. I felt I understood what he meant to say, and where a seemingly harsh assessment was coming from, even if he himself couldn't provide supporting sentences on the spot.
Articles such as Vox's "Donald Trump's strange speaking style" expose the sophisticates who write them as likely not having talked to ordinary folks in a long time, or they'd recognize the scattered, choppy patterns-and if you strip away the money and fame, Donald Trump is ordinary folk.
One Everyman cred I've observed in Trump is a sort of obliviousness that's borne of a fair mind. In 2010 the Miss USA he was touting was an Arab-Muslim-American named Rima Fakih. Trump seemed to give no thought to our loaded, post-9/11 era that was being flouted by the crowning of a Lebanese immigrant. (Even if this has been the trend in show biz and advertising since 2002, the pageants are a more traditional venue and wouldn't be as inclined to embrace this sort of Stockholm Syndrome.) It was one of those things that made the man seem rather apolitical as far as his day-to-day mentality went, particularly since Ms. Fakih was dubbed "Miss Hezbollah" by a few blogs because of some relatives.
The same year, Trump appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman," who asked his opinion about the Islamic Center being built atop Ground Zero. Trump said it was an insensitive and inappropriate move, and that it would serve Muslims better--from a publicity and goodwill perspective-to just pick a different location. So Letterman asked, "Does this suggest that we are in fact officially at war with Muslims?" To which Trump replied, "Well, somebody knocked down the World Trade Center."
Again, not a politician. It was a naked-emperor moment, as evidenced by the now silent audience. "O.M.G.," I thought, "He gets it. Even without really getting it."
Meaning, he gets it in a Regular-Joe way, wherein he knows what Muslims are capable of but it's not always at the front of his mind and he doesn't judge a passing Muslim by it. It's what our thought police ostensibly want us to do.
The big Trump/Muslim dustup of 2016 was of course with the Pakistani Gold Star parents who performed at the Democratic Convention. Setting aside that the dead hero's father, lawyer Khizr Khan, was outed afterwards for facilitating illegal immigration (the website was hastily pulled down), the "anti-Muslim" position the Khans were objecting to in Trump got twisted as usual.
That scrutinizing immigration from the Middle East could come to be considered "racist" or "discriminatory" would be a shock to our 2001-02 selves, when it was everyone's logical assumption that Muslim immigration was a thing of the past. In the years that followed, I wasn't the only one scratching my head as Middle Eastern immigration seemed not to ebb but to increase, making me wonder what our bureaucrats were up to.
Yet Trump isn't even asking for a halt to Muslim immigration; he's asking that we first know what we're doing, a contrast to multiculturalist officials who, rather insultingly, don't distinguish one Muslim from another. It's something that has led to developments such as Pakistani-Canadian journalist Jawaad Faizi getting beaten by the likes of what he thought he was escaping by immigrating to Canada. (His 2007 attackers told him to "stop writing against Islam." "I had so many problems back home as a journalist, but I'm shocked that this is happening here," Faizi said.) Similarly, Islamic dissident Wafa Sultan has said, "At times it feels to me that Sharia is following me to the United States" (about various Islamic organizations successfully pushing for parallel legal systems in the West). I'm sure that on some level the Khans understand this, but the show was more important.
The election in the end was a no-brainer: one candidate wanted to bring fewer beheaders into the country, the other wanted more; one candidate wanted war with Russia, the other didn't. We didn't even have to choose between being beheaded and being nuked: the same candidate who was against one was also against the other. It couldn't have been any easier. That's why, to the understandably offended Latinos, I say, "Would you rather be insulted, or beheaded?"
But every time the Democrats trotted out another foreign-born child to feign fear that in Trump's America there'd "be no place for someone who looks like me," it was as ridiculous as my 200-pound self worrying that, in light of the brouhaha over 1996 Miss Universe's weight, in Trump's America there'd be no room for fat girls.
It was the completely unjustified faux insecurity of gays, however, that was truly beyond me, particularly since Trump voters actually want homosexuals to not get crushed by makeshift walls like those that get dropped on them in Muslim countries-by people of the variety that the gays find common cause with (against those Trump voters). It's this kind of warped thinking that finds us in a world where Columbia students say it's only fair that, in addition to birth control and abortion, Planned Parenthood also provide female genital mutilation.
The Fear-of-Trump posturing culminated in Hillary's mantra Is this who we are as a country? But all the talk of insensitivity toward women and minorities won't even be allowed in the logical conclusion of Hillary's America. So fixated were we on the tinge of racism in Trump's sometimes carelessly worded but real concerns that we almost chose the candidate who invites the real dangers which bring what we fear anyway, in much more concrete and drastic terms. I'll bet on Western society keeping its decency in a 'Trump climate' over hoping for decent treatment from backwards cultures gaining a critical mass. Indeed, some gays figured out that Hillary infesting us with an ancient evil is worse than Trump banning it with too broad a brush, and so a Los Angeles restaurant table of gay men confided to my friend that they'd be voting for Trump.
Lest a reader try on his or her own to interpret whether what Trump says makes him a "racist" or "misogynist," The Huffington Post has been on hand, ending every article about Trump with a "Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims-1.6 billion members of an entire religion-from entering the U.S."
This common citing of the sheer number of Muslims doesn't exactly come across as an endorsement. It sounds more like a threat telling us we'd better improve our manners or we're endangering everyone.
But good manners, eloquence and intellect we can get from the frauds who make up the establishment that boycotted the Republican Convention, from the old codgers who "took a stand" against Trump-no less invoking love of country rather than continuity of their perks that a Clinton victory promised. If these are the "real Republicans" that Trump isn't, then give me more Trumps.
Trump's "politics" come from the angry sane American in him, not from Right or Left. That's why to nitpick about his conservative creds, as Glenn Beck spent the year doing, is missing the point. Before Left or Right, you must start with Sane. And at his core-quirky behaviors aside-that's what Donald Trump is. This was the candidate who hadn't lost touch with survival instincts the way the insulated Washingtonians have-to our detriment. Trump is neither Democrat nor Republican; he is the Sane party, and sanity can be gruff and uncouth.
Sure enough, Trump's sanity is constantly being 'corrected.' He's gotten flak for not endorsing the likes of Harry Reid's favorite Republican, Paul Ryan, who doubled down on pro-Muslim immigration after the Paris and Orlando attacks, and not endorsing John "I've-never-met-a-jihadist-I-didn't-like" McCain. At the same time, a New York Times editorial in August rebuked Trump for "bigotry and intolerance," predictably holding up McCain as the ideal: "Just eight years ago...a woman [at a town hall] told Mr. McCain that she couldn't trust Mr. Obama because 'he's an Arab.' 'No ma'am,' Mr. McCain replied. 'He's a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with...' Republicans would do well to summon the integrity that Mr. McCain showed in 2008...to repudiate Mr. Trump once and for all."
Integrity: one establishmentarian scratching the other's back. McCain and Obama are just different shades of the same animal: a broken and backward establishment that endangers the citizenry-underscoring the appeal of Trump in the first place. If Trump turns out to be even a shadow of a fraction of what he put forward, it's more than what our political elites have to offer. That they actually had to make appeals to us Plebeians throughout the year, and we told them "No," makes erratic democracy still sweet. As blogger Charles Hugh Smith wrote in August, "With Trump ascendant, the serfs are selecting the noble in the castle on the hill." Meanwhile, the Never-Trump conservative voters, bloggers and columnists who won some fleeting popularity points with the mainstream are now inching their way back after exacting their pound of Trumpian flesh and enjoying their 15 minutes of in-crowd approval.
One of these hacks, a former Reagan official named Doug Elmets, said at the Democratic Convention, "I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan." But as the inauguration nears and we brace ourselves for the fevered pitch, let's keep in mind that the hysteria escalates with each successive Republican. Recall the mobs rapping on Reagan's limousine, only to be outdone by the relentless persecution of George W. Bush-who made Reagan suddenly not so bad anymore; lo and behold 2016 brought the spectacle of Hillary Clinton praising W, who, it turns out, wasn't so bad after all, not compared to this guy. "If you thought the Left was petulant, vicious, and obnoxious during George W. Bush's presidency," Matthew Vadum wrote in Canada Free Press last month, "you ain't seen nothin' yet."
My husband, on whose desk sits the Reagan bust I bought him years ago, declared that what we need is someone to ride in who gets Islam the way Ronald Reagan got Communism. Someone to be to Islam what Reagan was to Communism. Could Trump be that man?
One might say he's no Ronald Reagan in that Reagan, living in a different era, didn't understand Islam, and thought that abetting jihad was supporting a lesser evil against the Soviet Union. And so Trump now has to clean up a mess partly made by Reagan, peace be upon him. Ironically, to get Reagan's mess cleaned up, Trump must employ Reagan methods. Invertedly, he'll need Russia's help.
It's what everyone knew in 1991, when all the writing was about how we'd entered a new era, of partnership and cooperation against a common new global threat. Yet inscrutably, after winning the Cold War, our hostility toward Russia increased, and we went about encircling it with NATO after promising "not an inch closer."
Instead of compounding the might of the civilized world against a clear enemy that professes itself such, we invited the enemy in, pushed off a capable partner, called foe 'friend,' and cast out the Slav as barbarian. At such a loss are we over how to fight the real enemy, which is at the gate, all we can think to do is infest ourselves with it, while pointing to Russia as a decoy.
How much time do they spend telling us that Muslims aren't "like that" but Russia is? When Russia hasn't been killing Americans in 30 years but Islam has. Media and think tanks Left and Right are abetting this hoax against civilization, yet it was the same estate that insisted throughout the Cold War that the Soviet Union and Communism weren't a threat--when they were. If today the same voices want us to believe that Russia is the enemy, be skeptical.
Such is the toughness of (some of) our generals: talking trash to Russia while building mosques on bases and procuring "dancing boys" for Afghani chieftains. It would seem the generals too prefer a civilized enemy, the same generals who tried to trick the public into voting for the candidate who would expand their wars and their budgets while telling us it was her opponent who would lead us haphazardly into nuclear war.
When Trump said he knew more about ISIS than our generals did, it was shorthand for his not being in denial about the root poison it grew from. "The Pentagon's top brass have entered a debate," read The Washington Times last September, "...how to define an enemy the U.S. military has been fighting for 15 years....The 2015 public version [of the National Military Strategy] does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of 'violent extremist organizations' and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group."
"But Trump is buddy-buddy with Putin," protest the successfully brainwashed. Would it be better that they were enemies? When Obama was elected, people were happy that someone with early Islamic exposure would be president, because perhaps, they hoped, he could improve relations between Islam and the West. And yet the divide between the West and Russia is much narrower, and would have gotten even narrower if not for the very deliberate contrivances of our political, military, and media classes.
There is something else at work, too. At the core of this madness sits an ancient Pole with a long-festering grudge against Russia. Zbigniew Brzezinski was Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor and still wields influence. His 1997 book The Grand Chessboard prescribes dismantling Russia, and has served as a guide across administrations. At this time, 3,000 American troops have arrived in Poland, whose role in NATO's Russia encirclement becomes ever more front-and-center. "The operation marks the first time Western forces are being deployed on a continuous basis to NATO's eastern border," USA Today reported on Monday. Polish jubilation took the form of official celebrations across the country.
As much as Reagan allied with Poland and the Vatican to bring down Communism, that's how much darker are the forces at work today against a post-Communist Russia, even as they shamelessly cite the Reagan approach in this too. But Reagan, who didn't want Russia to crash and so allowed the USSR a "soft landing on the ash heap of history," as Strobe Talbott wrote in 2004, would see more of his approach in Trump rather than in our self-destructive, media-cheered military-industrial complex.
Brzezinski's affliction, now grafted as U.S. policy, is not unrelated to the "acute psychological need" that former Soviet satellites have "to treat Russia as the enemy," as historian Srdja Trifkovic wrote in December 2010. "The WikiLeaks cables show that the United States is serious about risking thermonuclear war for the sake of, say, Estonia's border with Russia."
A similar disorder afflicts a segment of Soviet-era Ă©migrĂ©s, who are geopolitically blinded by their grudge against a memory, the indelible memory of the USSR-potentially to US detriment. While America's Left and Right establishmentarians, and their equidistant neoconservative cousins, certainly don't need help getting us into unnecessary and self-defeating wars, Ă©migrĂ© views are lent a certain amount of gravitas. But hyphenated Americans who nurse old ethnic resentments are not guided purely by America's interests. We saw the dangers of being led around by the nose by ethnic lobbies when we were co-opted into a series of wars in the '90s, interestingly in Eastern Europe and on behalf of Muslims (albeit in Croatia on behalf of Brzezinski's co-religionists). Today, our NATO-minted Bosnia and Kosovo are proportionally Europe's largest contributors to ISIS, and Croatian Nazi-nostalgia has been making even more frequent headlines than before, now safely nestled as a full-fledged EU member.
That it was the Democratic candidate pushing the Russia war-with establishment Republicans and neoconservatives aligning-is interesting. Because it was the Neocon-Democrat duo in the '90s (then called "liberal hawks") who revved us up against our historical ally Serbia. This sort of surrogate Russia would become a practice target for what this has all been leading to. With that misadventure, we succeeded in dismantling the Balkan bulwark of Yugoslavia, now complete with no-go areas that even our Bosnian and Albanian clients balk at. Believe it or not, this is precisely the scenario the Serbs were trying to avoid by fighting a noxious combination of domestic terror and insurgency, homicidal nationalism, and foreign jihad; it was nothing to do with "genocide and ethnic cleansing," as the refrain goes, should anyone deign to notice that-ten years after Slobodan Milosevic's death in its custody-The Hague has just exonerated him.
When the Clinton-Obama Axis supported the Arab Spring, resulting in the rise of the jihadists, Russia took an opportunity to inject itself into a war we helped create. Right now, we're doing nothing to destroy Syria's jihadists, but Putin is. The pro-Hillary establishment started beating the war drum over this? Hillary and her pets in the military cast Russia as our enemy, but Trump understands that the jihadists are the enemy.
Western reluctance to fight the real war and therefore recreating an old one is made more bizarre by comments like John McCain's last month accusing Vladimir Putin of "undermining the post-WWII order," a case of projection if ever there was one. Russia is reacting to wanton Western and Islamic reordering of European borders, something that was specifically proscribed by the post-WWII world order that we helped establish. As Balkans observer Nebojsa Malic put it amid the Crimea affair in 2014:
Russia's view of the world is that there is an order, established at the end of WW2, for which they've paid with millions of lives (and we with hundreds of thousands). Even through the Cold War, it mostly held together. The assumption in 1991 was that the US and NATO would adhere to this order--which is why the Russians agreed to dismantle the Soviet Union. Instead, the US violated it, essentially saying 'the law don't apply to us, just you,' and went nuts. Bombing, regime-changing, color-revolutionizing and 'reforming' everyone to Hell and gone....Russians have been grumbling about all this since 1999....The US backing Nazis in Kiev, of all places, was the last straw, considering the Soviets had 27 million dead fighting that beast back in the 1940s....In the Russian view, there is room on this planet for everyone, so long as they don't trespass. In the American view, there is room on this planet only for those who play ball. The rest will submit or die. How very like some folks we know....And then, as icing on the cake, the West deliberately snubbed the last major celebration of Victory Day that any veterans may still be alive for.
There is a fear that, with the NATO machinery for dismantling Russia long in place, if Mr. Trump denies the generals their war, harm may come to him, and they'll get their war anyway. Alternately, Trump may be compromised by the "Man up!" goading that has characterized this discussion. One can only hope that, like Reagan, he won't cave, but will continue to follow his very good instincts.
So far, that appears to be the case, as this recent Trump tweet illustrates:
Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!
My Russian remains that of the four-year-old who fled its Soviet incarnation in 1976, but I know enough to say, "Molodetz, Mr. Trump. Molodetz." What an odd position this chaotic Western brew has put me in.
When the Women's March of hypocrites descends on Washington this week, I want to be clear on one point: I do believe Trump's female accusers. At the same time I wonder whether, over the past 20 years when the subject of Bill Clinton would come up, their minds would go where mine did-to his victims. Would their hearts sink, the way mine did, every time they happened upon a favorite celebrity, or deli owner, in a cheery photo with a Clinton?
Bill Clinton's ubiquity equals a handful of people constantly being confronted by images of their tormentor. What must that be like?, I've pondered. It's one thing when we see or read about a rapist and everyone is on the same page of outrage and revulsion. But how lonely it must be when you cringe alone as the world around you shamelessly celebrates your abuser, even performing at his 65th birthday, simulcast by Yahoo!
Any mention of Bill Clinton still transports me to a 1978 hotel room in Little Rock, and Juanita Broaddrick's swollen lip and torn pantyhose. Somehow I doubt that's been the case for Trump's accusers. First because they wanted us to elect Clinton's fixer, and second because every time I ever brought up the name Juanita Broaddrick-to anyone-there wasn't even a glimmer of recognition. Until British tabloids in 2015 resuscitated names like Willey and Broaddrick, these women weren't just forgotten by the public, they were never even acknowledged. What made 2016 so surreal was a presidential candidate actually bringing them out of the shadows and plunking them into a room with Clinton-force-feeding their realness to a world that had reduced them to abstractions from a bygone era. It still blows my mind that this actually happened.
Notice it's only amid allegations of Trump's non-rape groping-and not amid years of allegations of Clinton's actual rape(s)--that actresses have come forward about their own sexual assaults. UK Daily Mail reported in October that Rose McGowan participated in a video calling out Trump, because she had been raped by a movie executive, and others in the industry "shamed me while adulating my rapist."
She'd have had us vote for the shamer, then? But whenever I'd bring up Hillary's role in Bill's "indiscretions," I'd invariably get the answer, "Bill Clinton isn't running!" Which also misses the point that if it didn't matter then (as was the country's rather unanimous take) then it shouldn't matter now. The sex angle is removed from the equation.
Ah but now that the pressing issue is to avoid Europe's migrant crisis that's turned major holidays into mass rapes, now they're worried about presidential sex.
If hypocrisy rules the day, then maybe it's fitting that a serial groper should be our last best hope for saving Western Womanhood from a new Normal of violations more grievous than groping, where you don't necessarily get to keep your body parts after. It's a choice between two brands of misogyny: a sub-Clinton kind (though it didn't seem to hurt the Clintons much), and something far more dangerous and widespread. Not seeing the trees for the branches, Women and their yes-men tried to inflict on us a combination of the two: a Clinton with announced intentions to import migrants by the tens of thousands a year.
Such pretense, such artifice, such uncharted depths of hypocrisy is the Women's March that one is tempted to shout to their beloved Hillary, "Unleash the migrants!"
Somewhere a Clinton laughs itself to sleep, thanking G0D for the gift of overeducated bimbos.