“The surest, and often the only, way by which a crowd can preserve itself lies in the existence of a second crowd to which it is related. Whether the two crowds confront each other as rivals in a game, or as a serious threat to each other, the sight, or simply the powerful image of the second crowd, prevents the disintegration of the first.”
Crowds and Power, Elias Canetti
I just got off the phone with somebody I have known most of my life, who I love and admire, who actually, unlike the rest of us, knows Mr. Trump and has had fairly close dealings with him.
Because I am compulsively honest*–not in a Girl Scout sense but in a keeping-things-unresolved-makes-me-feel-grimy sense–I wanted to jump right on here and share it. Not the details–just the fact that my heart is registering something uncomfortable. I am taking stock, checking myself for denial.
This person said (not en original thought but nevertheless) that Mr. Trump is a megalomaniac. That was one thing. What bothered me more were some things he said about how he treated women, in this person’s presence. (And the speaker is not known for his lack of enthusiasm for the opposite sex.) Insensitivity, grandstanding, social climbing, boorishness, usury, only caring about himself. Being disrespectful to his wife. Boasting about sexual conquests. Those kinds of things.
The thing about this person is we respect each other deeply and have worked together in intellectual warfare trenches that forged a trust that is impossible to describe.
So I listened. Then I listened some more. I picked up my bruised self and sat it into a chair. What am I missing?
(These days I’m frankly thrilled if somebody at least is not a pedophile.)
I have always tried, since this hell-storm began, to maintain a middle position: That I oppose Trump hatred, that it is destructive and irrational and downright terrifying. I have not loved a President since Jimmy Carter, who I was spiritually in love with, as a child. I was Jimmy Carter for Halloween when I was 8.
But my confession is this: I resist hating Trump, because I hate what Trump hatred has done to us all. And there’s something else. It reminds me of my childhood, which was not at all a happy place.
In childhood, I was forced to hate a man. I was given no peace until my squeaky little hatred came out sounding convincing. He was bad, bad, bad. He had no redemptive qualities. In fact, he was trying to kill me! If I didn’t see how bad he was, I was bad. And I was punished, by the removal of love, safety, and self-regard.
That man was my father.
And my father, you see, was not bad. He was, and is, a very loving person, who was unable to play the role of either husband or father in such a way that we could avoid the cancer of hate overtaking our small family. I understand as well–trust me I do–my poor mother. And my love for her was paramount and visceral. I learned to say and do anything at all, to stop her from being angry.
And my most dreadful secret was that I loved my father
This was unacceptable, and I was a treacherous sinner.
And now I can’t even keep typing because my eyes are filled with tears. I am thoroughly emotionally exhausted by all of this warfare. Aren’t you? I have no idea which way to turn. I am so tired of being flogged, I’m almost ready to say anything, write anything, to make it stop. [No, I do not think Donald Trump is my father, but I did find it hilarious, and rich, when conservative, gay, Jewish, Greek, British enfant-terrible Milo Yiannopoulos coined him “Daddy.”]
I can hate alright. I hate systems: I hate communism, fascism, globalism, political correctness. I hate everything that dehumanizes us and weaponizes our interactions, poisons our language, mocks our hopes.
And yes, I “hate” institutionalized Trump hatred. The self-entitled, reflexive violence of it.
Last night I was verbally assaulted on the street outside my father’s apartment, by a Hillary supporter I used to know. In fact, knew since birth. Upon seeing me emerge from a taxi carrying a chicken I had baked for my father, she screamed at the top of her lungs: “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!!!”
I didn’t drop the chicken. I kept my bearings. I screamed right back at her, and on shaking legs, went into the building. Because I am still trying to show my love for my father, who I was never allowed to love as a child–and this is a very primordial need.
There it is again: Shame.
There it is again.
It follows me. It follows us all. Shame for being insufficiently on board with hatred, in the name of “liberalism” this time. Political correctness. I’m not even allowed to hate the surveillance and entrapment that permits us all to know what he said on that bus 12 years ago.
We live in a time of acid hatred, as the primary medium of thinking ourselves “good.”
Last night I got a poignant email from a friend who is one of the most intelligent, ethical, brilliant people I know. He’s a composer. He’s not on the left, no. Neither am I. We share secrets and unburden our souls, sometimes. He wrote this:
“There are a bunch of really, really smart people out there who voted for Trump—in the belief they were cutting the 100% odds we would go down the tubes (with Hillary) in half. Unfortunately, the unalloyed joy of watching the HRC pods (as you call them) weeping on television is offset in real life by the daily reality of presumption that you are one of them! Complaining about Trump seems to be the only way people can communicate with one another anymore, and it makes perfect sense because so much of social transaction is foreplay—before the main event of bitter complaining and protestations of victimhood—anyway. Now everybody has an excuse to complain 24/7/52/365.
When people start in on Trump, I just look at them and say “I’ve come to a different conclusion than you” and enjoy the astonishment. ”
I was particularly struck by the simple line: “Complaining about Trump seems to be the only way people can communicate with one another anymore.”
And I still stand by what I posted here some months ago, as my formal position:
“I do not accept Donald Trump as my anti-Christ.”
And my other point, which I have written about many times: “My issue, my war–is with the deep state and its media. On that, Trump is a co-beliggerent.”
On this, with yesterday’s Pearl Harbor sized event: Wikileaks publishing “Vault 7,”–the entire hacking capacity of the CIA, I have been vindicated. So have all if us who dared say we believed there was such a thing as a “deep state,” which causes elite types to scoff.
I will “admit” that Donald Trump may be a megalomaniac, a “pig,” and a bad person. If you will admit that yes, there was a “deep state,” only deeper than we dreamed, and it’s spying on you and me right this very moment. Through computer, TV, phone–the works. It’s disgusting. I actually feel nauseous after yesterday’s revelations from Wikileaks, only 1% of which have been published thus far.
Kind of the way you may feel nauseous when Trump Tweets, when Trump blows his horn, when he does all the things he does.
I hope we can agree it is a good thing there are–allegedly–upward of half a million new jobs already, and the stock market is at an all time high. 1500 child traffickers and/or pedophiles have been arrested.
Yes yes, I know–pedophilia is paranoia, and the soaring stock market only means it is about to crash.
What is it like to be an Oracle, I wonder?
When do we begin to recognize that to deprive people of hope, and to socially and economically induce them to hate another–this is abuse.
So what do I stand for, as one leftist friend demanded to know on FB?
I went to the Trump support rally this weekend (calm down) to watch, listen, take pictures, shoot video, and understand. People were alive and passionate, all races, all social classes, ages. Chinese Americans for Trump wore orange T-shirts, and were the most vocal. They had megaphones. They wanted us to know where they had been, what they had come out of: China. This is the thing about America–it is only loved by those who came here with nothing but their lives, fleeing a tyranny.
The Trump supporters weren’t fancy people, but they were open and talkative. You could go right up to them and ask what they were thinking and feeling. I interviewed the man who runs the concession stand in Trump Tower, where the crowd retreated from the cold when the gathering was over, in their red caps, beneath the cascading wall fountain in the lobby cafe. The man was from India, and had known Trump 10 years. He told me he always came in–before he was President–and bought Rolo chocolates. And he always insisted on paying. “You’re a businessman,” he would say. He proudly showed me a letter Trump had written him, and signed.
I wanted to post some of the footage, here, which would be a way of saying: “Look at the American story. The American street.”
But you don’t care, if you hate Trump. You’re so weaponized and armored that you are rarely called out for another hatred: Ordinary people. Fellow Americans. You hate them too.
Why do I say that?
Because you make no effort to ask what it on their heart. You don’t care what they think, or why. That’s the number one manifestation of both disrespect, abuse, and narcissism–to abject everything that is not “myself.”
Well, at the very least, can journalists still talk to people? It used to be a well respected interview tradition called “man on the street.”
Now we just broadcast what we know, our propaganda. Our hate.
I can see, with one eye, that Trump may be a very troubled man, and with the other eye, that people who support him are good, sound, decent people with a dream. And their own anger–very well earned.
They’re the new Jews, the new negroes, the new hated and hounded. You can spit on them and throw bricks through the window of their business and nobody will accuse you of being a hater, because your hate is popular and blessed by the media.
Here are two clips, two American voices: Gary from the Bronx and Gary from Staten Island. The former wanted to be allowed to say :”Merry Christmas.” The latter, until recently, was still a Trotskyite.
It was so cold, my iPhone froze every few minutes and shut down, so forgive the truncated clips. I went in to various art galleries–not a soul inside–to unfreeze my phone. There were sculptures in there of headless bodies in white plaster. I fled as soon as the phone was re-charged. I think people–what they say and how they say it–are works of art.
Journalism stopped being journalism when it stopped hearing them–and as we all know, that is why Trump, like it or not–is President. Not yours, necessarily.
*except when I lie.