1. Something showy but worthless.
2. Nonsense or rubbish.
3. Deceit; fraud; trickery.
From French tromper (to deceive). Earliest documented use: 1481.
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog entry. There is a lot going on. The election has been on my mind and I felt the need to express my own opinion. The above definition is just a word, but it inspires arguments and vitriol because of Donald Trump. I posted the definition as a tongue-in-cheek Facebook entry, but it generated some thoughts.
Donald Trump is not real. He’s a cipher. A cipher is a code standing in for something else. He is also a symbol, something that points beyond itself. He is a symbol of the rage and frustration of the American poor and disenfranchised. He’s a symbol for everyone who has lost a job, who has lost a home, whose children are unable to find work, whose middle-class future is now compromised and unattainable. He is a symbol of everyone who wants to stick a finger in the eye of the government, the American government which allowed all this to come to pass.
He is in some ways like a Shakespearean character: there is a kind of comedy and tragedy mixed together in this character we call Donald Trump. He stands before us, proclaiming to live up to the responsibility placed on his shoulders by his bid for the presidency, to represent all the dispossessed and disenfranchised. And he fails. Televised.
But let’s not be mistaken: what he represents is real. And the Democratic and Republican Parties do not recognize this reality. They are not listening to the voices of the American public, the cry against the injustice in our economy, the inequality that has been baked into the system since Ronald Reagan. The crippling of the unions, the shifting of the tax burden from the rich to the poor, and the failure of “trickle-down” economics has coalesced into a symbol. Unfortunately, that symbol is the caricature we know as Donald Trump.
I urge everyone to take a moment and think about what this election is all about, because it is much larger than the failure of The Donald. It is bigger than all the votes will represent, because Trump and Bernie Sanders have tapped into a force that is like a river headed over the banks towards the destruction of the floodplain of Democracy.