Edvard Munch created a painting in 1893. A strange painting. A powerful painting. Titled “The Scream”.
This painting depicts how I feel whenever I think of the possibility. The remote possibility that Donald Trump could actually be President of the United States.
I would not suggest that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is perfect. Far from it.She is flawed. Anyone who has been in public life for over 30 years is going to make a lot of mistakes. Unless the person sits on their butt, does nothing, and gets re-elected. But those who want to change things will create enemies. And make mistakes.
But no matter how flawed Clinton might be, she has actually done the work. As First Lady. As Senator. As Secretary of State. To paraphrase from the musical “Hamilton”…”She has been in the room where it happens. Where decisions are taken. Where the sausage is made.”
Then I look at the “career” of Donald Trump. Given a few million. Blew it. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Loans from Russian oligarchs.Tax dodger. TV personality. Blatant liar. Racist. Nativist. Anti-Muslim. Misogynistic. Crude. Vulgar. Shallow. As Bloomberg, the former millionaire mayor of NY said at the convention: “I am from New York and I know a conman when I see one”. So am I and so do I.
I feel like the non-gender specific person in the painting. Horror and wonder. Disbelief. Astonishment.
Horror at Trump, to be sure. But also horror at the 39-42% of the American people who plan to vote for him. The wonder that so many of my fellow citizens are either racist, or nativist, easily conned or just not paying attention.
Over 14,000,000 Republicans voted for a man who regularly and gleefully insulted other Republican candidates. “Little Marco”Rubio, . “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, Jeb Bush “the loser”, Kasich’s eating habits are “disgusting”, Carly Fiorina “look at that face”, Carson cannot be “cured”, Rand Paul as a genetically defective son of Ron, Lindsey Graham is “one of the dumbest human beings” and so on and so on.
And that was just his fellow Republicans. The list is too long to for this essay.
14,000,000 Republicans said, with their votes, that this crude, vulgar conman should be President of the United States.
And in November, millions more will go into voting booths from Maine to Iowa to California to Hawaii and cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Millions. They would put the nuclear capacity of the US in his hands. They would put diplomacy in his hands. They would put the power of the executive branch is the hands of a pathological liar and practiced conman.
When I look at the Munch painting I feel as though I am in it. Win or lose. It is not Donald Trump that causes me to scream. Win or lose. It is not really the idea of a Trump president that causes me to scream. After all, we have seen his type of conman before.
It is the millions of Americans who will vote for this guy.Millions of Americans who will consciously choose to select this man as their leader. Someone for their kids to “look up to”. The millionaire conman who they think will help them.
Millions will vote for him.Let that sink in.
Now that is a reason to scream. AAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!