Tag Archives: racism

Why Donald Trump is the Best President for America

*Author’s Note*
This post originally written the first week of August, 2017. Not sure why it never made it to publish then, but it stays depressingly prescient, almost three years later. Enjoy?

 

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August 8, 2017.

Well, we finally did it.

We finally elected the perfect president — the most accurately American president for his time since George Washington.

Donald J. Trump.

To spin a memorable line from the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy: Donald Trump isn’t the president we need right now, but he is the president we deserve.

The honeymoon phase of the American dream is over, and this is the USA’s true face — the one that most represents us to the world, to ourselves — whether we wish it did or not: a grotesque mask of rotted flesh and matted former hair held together by hideously outdated principals, some good ol’ fashioned white supremacy, and whatever you catch from drinking the water at Mar-a-lago for several decades straight.

In our defense, we really only did what anyone does when nothing goes wrong for them on a long enough timeline: assume it never will. And that our good fortune wasn’t a blessing (to be counted and thankful for), but an attribute of our character — a testament to our own greatness. We have confused good fortune with ~being~ good; but comeuppance-via-hubris is only ever delayed, not defeated; and America’s massive fiscal debt pales in comparison to the karmic deficit we have accumulated.

Let me be clear: Donald Trump is an American icon and a legend, and he represents us better than any legitimately elected official ever could. Trump is a breed of obliviousness so extreme that he would seem unrealistically over-the-top if he were a character on a fictional TV show from the 1970s. He is a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, self-important, uncaring, uncharismatic, idiotic, sexist, egomaniacal, aloof elitist whose only notable qualities stem from having money handed to him at a young age, swindling money from the less fortunate/less intelligent at an older age, and name recognition that — prior to 2015 — was primarily from being an easy punchline or vaguely familiar pop culture reference that people knew, but they didn’t know why they knew (like Silly Putty or Tiktok).

Barack Obama acted how we wished we could act, spoke how we wish we could speak, was confident like we wished we were confident, and was intelligent like we wished we were intelligent. Donald Trump, unfortunately, acts how we actually act, speaks like we actually speak, is confident how we’re actually confident (undeservedly), and is intelligent how we’re actually intelligent (that is to say, not very).

We’ve let ourselves be casually racist, low key intolerant, high key entitled, and major key swept up by easy catchphrases for so many years that we actually conjured into flesh the physical manifestation of all the qualities we wished we didn’t have, but always knew were right there festering below the surface — and we just never took the time to purge from within ourselves. Donald Trump is the Jesus Christ of the Religion of Self, the god of entitlement made manifest, the ego incarnate. If the Holy Trinity is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost; The Don represents the unholy Trumpity of The Falter, The Dumb, and The Lowly Host.

But forced jokes aside, there is a very real chance that we have put a man into office who might actually get us killed. As a nation. You can picture it, can’t you? Like, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of what *could* go down, right? How horrifying is that? Now to be perfectly honest, I don’t really think that’s gonna happen. Even the craziest of the crazy (and surely the men with their hands on the triggers these days are just that) understand how little a zero-sum game benefits them. But think about how wild, how outlandish it is that the ~possibility~ even exists. That you can imagine a reality where Kim-Jong-Trump wakes up one day and just /decides/ to start a world war. (Or maybe even an apocalypse, just by virtue of how much better we’ve gotten at world warring).

Or maybe we’ll just have three and half really backwards, really oppressive, really tremendously awful years. And if that’s our best case scenario, it will have been too light a punishment for all our previous crimes. We should be so lucky.

However, I think in one form or another, what’s left after the dust clears and the ashes settle (possibly literally) will not be the same stupid tropes of small men who bungled or outright fabricated massive disasters so that their fragile little egos could feel validated, but the hope and kindness and love of those who endured. You could call it a different form of insanity — the Newton’s Third Law of emotional energy — but I truly believe that whether or not it has a name or there is anyone even left to name it, that you will always be able to feel the love of those who knew better, who were better, who did better. And that was always what love had going for it anyway, wasn’t it? That you could leave something bigger and stronger and more unnameable than yourself or your “rightness” behind, and that you didn’t do it because the history books (lol books) would keep track of it or you’d get a commensurate amount of glory for every good deed done, but just that love was its own reward (cliché or not). Because love poured out, was really just making extra room for more love to be received. The worst things in life can last a long time — three and a half years; a lifetime; all of human history, maybe — but the best things in life are infinite. Hope is infinite. Love is infinity. And love can’t be elected, impeached, and isn’t bound by term limits. I think that’s from a first draft of Corinthians 13 that the apostle Paul wrote on his wordpress blog a long time ago. Retweet. YOLO.

Donald Trump is who we are, America. And like anyone who’s ever had a long, cold stare into the mirror after a night of heavy drinking, this is the moment where we — as a community, as a nation — get to decide if who we are is who we’re gonna stay, or if we are going to raise our standards for ourselves, and truly become better. We the people get to choose if The Don is going to continue to be the reflection we see in the mirror in the mornings when our head is pounding and we’re regretting all our past choices, or if he’s just going to be the molted husk that we will have left behind after our metamorphosis into the beautiful creature America has the potential to become.

One outcome or the other, America as we know it ends with Donald Trump. But the real America starts with you. With us. With We. With The People. Let’s build ourselves into something we can be prouder of than a failed reality TV show personality, failed businessman, failed politician, successful sex offender, and failed father figure. Let’s make America great, for the first time.

Play on,
Dustin

 

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Understanding Racism, the Easy Way

I was driving through the streets of Los Angeles in silence on Tuesday, processing the US Men’s National Soccer team World Cup loss that had just transpired literally moments beforehand. Dejected, but not distracted* (hop to the footnotes if you’d like my brief take on the USMNT’s campaign at this year’s cup).

 

And then, while working through the rotation at a four-way stop — much more effectively than Jürgen Klinsmann worked through his rotation in Brazil I might add (zing! hashtag topical) — some A-hole goes out of turn** and has the gall to stare me down while his charming female companion yells “Go back to Ohio!” out of the passenger window. I yelled back my own incredibly clever retort (something along the lines of “Where did you learn to fxxxing drive?!” …Sorry, mom***), and proceeded to my next destination. But for some reason, that interaction stuck with me and left me in a negative sort of funk for much longer than it should have. And I spent the better part of the evening on and off trying to figure out why. I don’t know that I fully understand why it effected me in such an unpleasant way, but there are a couple of obvious reasons that I thought I might share with you, by way of exorcism for myself and maybe a way to cope with your own life’s small unpleasantriesº.

 

Before we get to it, credit where credit is due, the fact that they identified my license plate as Ohioan (it’s a pretty basic plate — white with one red and blue stripe at top and bottom, I don’t even think it says Ohio on it large enough to read unless you’re quite close) and were able to use that as the basis for their easy insult in a matter of a second or two is passably impressive, and while it doesn’t make up for the dimwittedness of the rest of their actions, it’s only fair to give them a modicum of credit for being so quick on the draw with their idiocy.

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As anyone who moved to California from a flyover state can tell you, you become something of an apologist for your home turf sort of by default. I’ve spent something like half my life or more in Columbus, Ohio, and while I’m generally quick to point out that I’m a SoCal native, truth be told Columbus is a fine city (better than a lot of similarly sized towns I’ve been through in my touring days) that has plenty going for it, particularly in terms of art and commerce and other hip credentials that the millennial/hipster crowd loves. Frankly, if the weather didn’t suck a strong 80-90% of the time and if I were trying to pursue a different industry, I’d probably still be there (also a great place to raise kids if any of my actor friends are looking to ditch the dream for something more practical). However, none of this has quite made it in to the Ohio stereotype, wherein it is assumed that all Ohioans are cornfield-owning, animal husbandry-ing, slack-jawed country folk with nary a care in the world nor the sense to process it if they did have one. My biggest annoyance at being associated with the MidWest (aside from the MISERABLE Ohio State University Buckeyes, whom I dislike to a fairly extreme degree) is this perceived (albeit clearly unfounded) lack of mental capacity, and by extrapolation, lack of worth. In a heartbeat I had been judged, deemed of a lesser intelligence, and yelled at by these morons…all while they were the ones in the wrong. I’m not much of a guy for road rage (or any rage for that matter…who has the time/energy for that sort of nonsense?), but I found myself wanting to track the offending car down and either beat the crap out of them or explain to them in completely inarguable terms how incorrect and dense they were. Not a very Christian sentiment, I admit. Obviously none of that happened and by the time I was at my friend’s barcade (bar + arcade = barcade, maybe my favorite invention of the modern age) birthday party that night I had gotten over it and was mulling over far greater concerns (like how did pinball ever get so popular? I mean, even before video games were invented I can think of about a million things I’d do before I’d want to watch an oversized marble bounce around erratically in a game that, by definition, can only end when you lose. It’s like building a civilization: you never really win, you just do a little better each time until everything collapses and you start over…isn’t that right The Greeks?).

 

And that takes me to racism (what doesn’t these days, AM I RIGHT? [pauses for huge amounts of laughter, crying hilarity tears, slapping of all nearby knees, etc.] hashtag still topical). What those douchebags in their puce Ford Bronco did in a second is what we’ve been doing on and off to everyone else for hundreds (or even thousands) of years. Taking something arbitraryºº like a license plate (or where you’re from or clothes or gender or the color of one’s skin, etc.) and immediately making a negative snap judgement about the associated person isn’t just wrong, it isn’t just folly, it’s mean and dehumanizingººº. It’s something we all do every day, and it needs to stop if we’re ever going to overcome our own limitations as a species.

 

I’m not saying anything particularly new or revolutionary here, but the classics are classics for a reason, and just because a concept isn’t new or complex, doesn’t mean that we don’t need to be reminded to work on it (did I mention I don’t not love double negatives?). What will it take for you to be spurred into the action of seeing people as individuals this week, rather than just an amalgamation of their surface level traits? Hopefully it’ll be something silly or meaningless like this blog post or a douchey driver yelling at you, and it won’t take something more serious or intense for you to awaken from your prejudicial slumber. And hopefully with enough practice we won’t need these reminders at all, because we’ll just be living life as people among people, not statistics to be summed and totaled prior to any actual interaction.

 

…But in the meantime, eff Belgium, hooray USA! Set your alarm for 2018, the Yanks are coming for ya, World Cup!

 

Play on,
Dustin

 

 

*Before the World Cup started, I had expected/hoped that the USMNT would get a win, a draw, and a loss in the group stage, and either win or lose respectably to a good team in the first knockout match. All this happened, and we managed to convert a lot of US soccer supporters in the process — it was the first World Cup I can recall where even my non-sports friends knew what was going on more or less, and people were generally interested and excited about American futbol. Honestly I did not expect that, and so I’m even more stoked for 2018. I also thought our side performed well against some of the tougher opponents in the world, and while our weaknesses remained our weaknesses (glaring lack of offensive ability, painful inconsistency in quality of play, overall fitness and roster depth, etc.), we should that we are ready to compete with the proverbial big dogs, if not dominate. That said, it was still heartbreaking to lose in the fashion we did, with the promise and potential to do so much more. I believe Jürgen deserves a lot of the credit for getting us to where we were and a lot of the blame for our earlier-than-we-had-potential-for exit. Tim Howard deserved a win in that match, and we owed it to ourselves to win one for The Gipper in Goal, such as it were. Oh well, there’s always next year (…errr, four years from now).

 

**The basic layout was this: it was a four-way stop with two cars at the west end (me and the car in front of me) and two cars at the east end (one car and the A-holes in question behind him). There were no cars at the other sides of the intersection. The car in front of me arrived at the intersection first, then went straight, then the car across from him went straight, then I started to turn left, then the car across from me went straight (the douches), when they should’ve waited for me to turn left (since the right-of-way had passed back to me). Pretty straightforward, literally no idea how they misinterpreted the situation so badly.

 

***Speaking of stereotypes, it’s worth noting that this is the only time I’ve had an “altercation” (for lack of a better word) like this since I’ve lived in LA, I know Los Angeles sort of has this stigma of not being able to drive to your corner grocer without some maniac in an SUV threatening your life, but it’s really not like that. Usually.

 

ºIf your life has no unpleasantries, than by all means stop reading my blog and write a book on how you’re doing it and make a trillion dollars and continue to live out your amazing existence, you son of a bitch.

 

ººObviously in this instance I mean “arbitrary” in terms of being a valid criteria upon which to judge someone or something, not arbitrary in the sense of not having intrinsic value.

 

ºººIt should go without saying (but sadly, this is the internet, where someone out there will find a way to misunderstand everything) that I’m not comparing an afternoon’s annoyance with being disparaged as “Ohioan” with the countless millennia of legitimate and hateful prejudice that races, genders and other groups have had to endure, I’m merely trying to demonstrate that no one likes to be confined to one reductive trait about themselves, and that it is within all of us to empathize with the pain we’ve caused other people groups in our lives, even if we haven’t shared their experiences firsthand. I don’t need to be black to know that treating black men and women differently just because they’re black is hurtful and wrong, and I don’t need to be black to effect positive change around race relations (or acceptance of all sorts) in my own life and sphere. Duh.

 

 

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