Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Guest Commentary

Obama was our glamour shot; Trump, our reflection


I am not a Donald Trump supporter. My newspapers endorsed Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.

I also know my country is strong enough to survive any presidential administration, including his. At the same time, why are people, including members of the media and the political class, surprised Trump is likely to become America’s next president?

America has always embraced violence, be it at a Trump rally or Saturday’s Polk County Democratic Party convention where an autistic delegate was violently struck by supporters of the candidate he wasn’t supporting.

Call of Duty Black Ops III was 2015’s bestselling video game. “Star Wars: The Awakening” was 2015’s highest grossing film followed by “Jurassic World” and “Avengers: The Age of Ultron.” Even “The Revenant,” this year’s Oscar winner for best picture, altered history so that the man who betrayed Hugh Glass was killed brutally, despite the fact in real life he joined the army and got away with his treachery.

America’s favorite pastime is no longer baseball. It’s gorging on junk food and liquor before enjoying hours of concussion-causing violence on the “gridiron.” Last year’s most celebrated, talked about individual sports match up wasn’t Jordan vs. Rory on the links. It wasn’t Serena vs. Maria on the tennis court. It wasn’t LeBron vs. Steph on the basketball court. It was the Octagon battle between two women — Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holms — and the savage beating and knock out of the champ.

There was also the May 2, 2015, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight that generated more than $500 million with Mayweather earning approximately $250 million, while our nation’s teachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters work two or more jobs just to pay a mortgage and send their kids to college. And those who work in our daycare centers and nursing homes make even less, struggling just to survive.

Meanwhile, the media cycle has been dominated by cops killing unarmed black men, the rage and fear of the working class, the never ending economic woes of a generation caught between foreclosures and student debt and the sensationalization of the political divide.

No one forces CNN, MSNBC, Fox or others to be about Trump, almost all the time, any more than they were forced to cover the O.J. Simpson trial while the first World Trade Center bombing trial was also going on. They make a lot of money by covering Trump while educational programs are relegated to public television, which is not commercially viable by “choice of the people.”

And thus we are reminded of the rewards that come with the abuse of power, greed and corruption. Is it any wonder Wall Street executives got a pass while the justice department prosecuted baseball players? America was never as angry at the officials of Goldman Sachs as they were at Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire.

Long before Donald J. Trump entered the political scene, Gordan Gekko became an American icon after uttering the words “Greed is good.”

Long before Donald J. Trump ran for president, “The Purge” became a pop culture sensation. In July the film series will release its third installment “The Purge: Election Year.” For those who aren’t familiar with the series, it is built around the premise that once a year for 12 hours you can legally torture, rape and kill and get away with it.

“Blessed be the Purge.”

As for the Republican establishment freaking out about Trump, “read your official platform.”

Long before Donald Trump entered the race, Republicans were advocating the building of a wall across Mexico. After all, who really cares how many Canadians enter the United States illegally? Long before Donald Trump entered the race, Republicans were advocating the deportation of “illegals” including children. A position, President Obama, “The Deporter in Chief,” has embraced. And every Republican Presidential candidate remaining has promised to kill Muslims. Even during last week’s Republican debate, when Trump said he wanted peace in the Middle East, Kasich, Cruz and Rubio all said “no peace in our lifetime. It’s us or them.” Republicans in Iowa opposed welcoming Syrian Refugees 6-1.

Barack Obama was America’s glamour shot and was what the nation wanted, if not needed, following the Bush years — Hope and Change.

The optimism inspired by his election, however, was not matched by the results. For many Americans in poverty, underemployed, struggling to make ends meet or crushed under the weight of corporate aggression, the new boss has been the same as the old boss.

Hope for change has been replaced with anger, fear and resentment.

Enter Donald Trump, the man who gained international fame uttering these two words: “You’re fired!”

Ghenghis Khan is credited as saying: ““I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

If Ghenghis Khan was “God’s punishment,” Donald Trump is our consequence; he is our nation’s reflection, and despite the articulated horror at his ascension, he is winning. CV

Jonathan Narcisse was a candidate for Governor of Iowa in the 2010 and 2014 elections and is a past school board member in the Des Moines School District. He submits occasional guest columns for Cityview.

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