TRUMP – even the name sounds funny. Donald is a pretty funny name too. But put the two together and you have one scary man.
He could win the Republican nomination. He could be president of the US. A ranting demagogue whose views are even madder than his hair. A crowd-stirring narcissist, a TV game show ruffian, a pouting populist. A mass of laughable contractions that aren’t remotely funny.
On Facebook yesterday a friend of a friend brought out Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable to show the definition of ‘trump’. A nice idea and as that’s a favourite book, I fished out my copy.
“Trump: This word, in such phrases as a ‘trumped up affair’ (falsely concocted), ‘trumpery’ (showy finery, worthless stuff) and the like, is the same world as trumpet, from French trompe, ‘a trumpet’ hence tromper, which, originally meaning ‘to play on a trumpet’ came to mean to beguile, deceive, impose on.”
It is also a British slang word for fart, something Brewer’s is too polite to mention.
Matt Frei used a Channel 4 documentary the other night to explore The Mad World Of Donald Trump. Before it screened, one of those warnings popped up on screen; not nudity, swearing or anything – but views of an extreme nature.
Everything about Donald Trump is of an extreme nature. His opinions are scattergun extreme. Find a target, shoot; swirl round, find another target, shoot again. Mexicans, Muslims, women – all are sprayed with hate-bullets when the moment suits. And it usually does suit this man and his toxic mouth.
None of this is by chance. His constituency in the US is the great mass of people who feel overlooked, downtrodden; they want someone to blame for their plight – and Trump is happy to point a jabbing finger. Say something flamingly, idiotically stupid. And stand back while they cheer him on.
Find someone to blame and you have – done what, exactly? Indulged in bullying. Muddied the waters. Thrown an innocent corpse or two in the river to feed the crocodiles of public opinion. Given the powerless a reason to feel powerful. Stirred up an almighty shit-storm.
All of this is trumped up, falsely concocted. Yet his supporters love him. They filled Matt Frei’s documentary with praise for his raging incoherence. They added a bit of raging incoherence of their own. Trump wants America to be great again. They want America to be great again.
So they’re all in this together. Beguiling and deceiving each other. Pretending Trump’s form of politics isn’t really politics. Yes, it is; it’s just a different sort of politics. Trumpery; showy, hateful stuff. Rampantly egotistical, as vainglorious as one of his ridiculous towers.
Frei’s documentary contained shocking footage of the Trump lovers in communion with their hero. It also contained interesting background details about Trump’s great inherited wealth – something he keeps quiet about when bragging of his business skills.
While his supporters swoon, others in his own party openly hate the man. “He’s a huckster, he’s a fraud – and that was from a Republican tactician in Frei’s film. Another Republican strategist, Rich Gallen, who was press secretary to the former vice-president Dan Quayle, said in an Observer report last Sunday that there was a confluence of anger at the pillars of American society, which explained the rise of two outsiders: Trump for the Republicans and the lone left-wing voice of Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.
“We’re in an era when nobody likes anything and the two people most vocal about not liking things are Trump and Sanders. From two different directions they’ve attracted people who like the way they see the world.”
Hate politics by all means. Despise politicians if you wish. Just watch out when something worse, far worse, rolls along to fill the vacuum you helped create. Me too – I’ve done my share of politician bashing. Sorry if any of it’s my fault. Perhaps we should all be more careful in future.