“Look at it this way,” George Carlin once said, “think of how stupid the average person is and then realize half of them are stupider than that.” When that formula is applied to the average Trump supporter (and Carlin would do so were he alive today, and is anyone unclear on that?), it is fitting indeed.
But if you want a simple trick to spot a stupid person and, by extension, a Trump supporter, look for the person who sees a problem where none exists in the first place. The so-called “war on Christmas” is a good start, for example. It was, according to Donald Trump, allegedly begun by Barack Obama and characterized by his alleged reluctance to utter the words “Merry Christmas.” And they might have gotten away with that lie too, had it not been for the viral video on YouTube of Obama boisterously saying “Merry Christmas” seventeen times.
Or how about the problem with the rising flood of dangerous illegal aliens streaming across the Mexican border, placing the United States in clear and present danger and justifying a government shutdown until a giant containment wall can be built? Except that illegal immigration is at a forty year low and the “problem” (if it even makes sense to call it that) has been in decline since 2010, a decline that began smack in the middle of the Obama administration.
So why is Donald Trump so desperate to get this wall built and funded? Do his campaign promises really mean that much to him? If that were the case then he’d be focused on finding a way for Mexico to fund the wall, instead of putting nearly a million government workers in economic peril by instituting extortion by way of one of history’s longest shutdowns. No, in the words of Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, “Mexico isn’t going to build your fucking wall, Donald.”
Donald Trump loves the wall for what it represents. It is, in concept, a tangible edifice, a monument to Donald Trump, an obelisk as ego-feeding as Trump Tower. It is a thing he can have photographed and splashed about and pointed to. It is the ultimate shiny object of what he imagines to be his legacy. So let’s give him his wall this year. In fact, let’s give him four of them.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.