When I was in school, we had a name for those kids who repeatedly lied, cheated, brown-nosed, back-stabbed, grand-standed, and otherwise tried to make themselves into something they were not. We called them “fakers.” Not quite yet old enough, or sophisticated enough, to recognize personality disorders as such, we nevertheless intuitively knew that such people were trouble, were dangerous and disingenuous and not to be trusted.
“Kids keep you honest,” I used to say when I taught high school. “They can smell a fake a mile away, and will call you out on it, even if the faker is the teacher.” Unfortunately, it seems a lot of those kids lost that ability as they grew up. And so the nation elected as a president someone who has spent his life promoting a brand and projecting an image of what he is not. We elected a faker.
Originally I had planned to write a humorous post this month, a spoof on the more outlandish conspiracy theories as a farewell commentary on the craziness and nonsense that has flooded the airwaves and infiltrated social media for so many months, even years, during the Trump administration. Surely, after a 7,000,000 voter repudiation of “the Faker” and an Electoral College decision, we could clear our heads, return to reason, and learn to laugh again.
And then the siege of the Capital happened. And no matter how the Trumpsters are trying to spin it even now, this was not meant to be a peaceful protest, it did not simply evolve into a spontaneous explosion of emotion, and it was not instigated by Antifa; it was a planned, orchestrated attempt to take over the country, as the t-shirts on the chests of some protestors proclaimed: “MAGA Civil War, Jan. 6, 2021.” These people were hell-bent, incited by a fake leader who came out to rile them up and urge them to storm the Capitol (where he did not, as promised, join them). It was his last-ditch effort to overturn a legitimate election, one that has gone on way too long, but one that has been recounted, upheld, certified, and supported by state and local election officials, and validated by over 60 federal court cases and two Supreme Court pronouncements. We had an all-out insurrection over fake claims of a landslide by a fake president, a sore loser who refuses to relinquish power.
Who would have believed it would come to this? Evidently, no one, given the expressions of shock and surprise by so many of his congressional allies and the crocodile tears of disappointment and dismay by so many of his followers.
What fakers! All these people who looked the other way and refused to stand up, who rationalized their support (and votes) for a higher purpose (anti-abortion, judgeships, etc.), or who simply aligned themselves with him for their own personal gain and self-interest knew exactly what they were doing. How dare they feign shock and surprise now. And the others, those MAGA mad hatters who are so disgruntled and aggrieved because they feel left out of mainstream (inclusive, multi-cultural) America, found the perfect leader who validated their anger and helped them feel empowered. They, too, knew exactly what they were doing. How dare they excuse the violence and mayhem in storming the Capitol by claiming to have just “gotten carried away with the moment,” as one pseudo-apologetic protestor did last week.
So, where do we stand now? According to news reports this morning, we stand at the precipice of an all-out civil war, with preliminary attacks on all fifty state capitols this weekend and the promise of open warfare on inauguration day. Thankfully, the safety of members of congress has been assured: they have been informed that the cost of bullet-proof vests is fully tax deductible. I feel better already. They can return to the Capitol to continue to debate impeachment and removal of the Faker from office until well into the next administration, if there is one.
There are 74,000,000 million people in this country who voted for Donald Trump. Some of them are friends and relatives of mine and, contrary to what the far left might have us believe, they aren’t all stupid, even if they have forgotten some of those adolescent schoolyard lessons from school. A good many of them are just plain gullible, the kind of people who have been the easy marks of hucksters and charlatans, and dictators, for centuries; others, sadly too many perhaps, simply fall into the category of “good men doing nothing” while evil spreads. The point is that they, and we, are all Americans and most of us aren’t going anywhere else anytime soon. But, it is going to take a combined commitment from all of us, not just elected officials, to heal the wounds, repair the fissures in our democracy, and undo the damage this administration has wrought both at home and abroad. I pray the country can last that long.
As for the Trumpster, reparations for his actions will be exacted from where it will hurt him the most, not from the loss of any Republican party clout or restrictions from holding office, but from the erosion of his brand, the defection of his financiers, the demise of his golf clubs and hotels, the onslaught of civil and criminal lawsuits, the outstanding debts that will come due, and the ultimate true revelations about his assets and liabilities. “God walks slowly,” an elderly friend of mine used to say, “but He always catches up to you.”
And God is not a faker.
Again, beautifully written.
My comments as I watched all this unfold:
This did not happen overnight. It’s been a long time coming. Trump was a symptom of the decay, not the cause.
We have a chance to save our nation or be on the side of its destruction.
The Republic we call America will survive only if we help it. It’s up to us, through blogs like this, through supporting those who are enforcing our rule of law the way it should be. Those who have not have revealed themselves, will eventually be exposed.
We will soon know who is with this nation or who is against it.
This is a powerful piece, Stephanie. It sums up something that’s been fairly un-unpackable (if that makes sense) for me. I simply cannot make sense of those among the 74 million who aren’t driven by Trump’s brand of hate — how they came to decide to vote for him, presumably again, and what about the last four years made them feel like they wanted another four with him in charge.
Thank you, Diane and Laura, for your thoughtful comments. We all now have to do our part to try to repair all the damage that has been done, both to our nation as a whole, and to our personal relationships with others. A return to simple civility would help.
Stephanie, you know I always email you when I read your Narrative Threads because I generally like to keep my thoughts between you and me, so this may be in British-speak, a one-off public comment.
As an American ex-pat living in England who has proudly stood up for my country and, until 2017, always called the sitting president, ‘my president’, the horrors of the last 4 years culminated, not surprisingly, but shockingly, on 6 January 2021. For the second time in my life, I sat with Mark watching the events unfold on TV, and cried for my country. The first time was 9/11, but 1/6 was far worse because, in a misguided guise of patriotism, haters attacked the country who gives them the freedom to hate.
I have always done my part to honour my country, and its values, regardless of leadership strengths and weaknesses, and I can do no more than I do. I engage almost every day in debating views and opinions and compromise – at home and at work, but I decided long ago, that I cannot compromise (bridge/repair) with people who darken my door with profound bigotry and hate and I no longer lament these disappointments. I am grateful for the bounty of family and friends I have who light up my life and for the renewed hope that America will rise again to take its rightful place as a beacon of democracy.
In closing, my hope and wish for all my family and friends ‘back home’, is good health and happiness, and renewed hope for, and pride in, America.
No matter where we reside, once an American, always an American. Thank you for an expat’s point of view.