Boy, Americans sure love to fall in love, don’t we?
That heady rush of excitement, that shiver down our spine, that thrill up our leg. The best part about falling in love is that it’s one part real-world object and 10 parts dreamy imagination. Whether we’re imagining dreamy forever-afters with the blind date across the table, a little-known U.S. senator from Illinois, or Donald Trump, the kill-joy is data.
My mother once told me, “Don’t marry a man until you’ve seen him sick, angry, hungry, and tired." She was pragmatically recommending due diligence to avoid regret. Sound advice to be sure, but when we’re in love, all caution is thrown to the wind. Like fanatics of a religion, we discount any data incongruent with our decision to believe, “This is the one!”
Donald Trump smiles as he walks up the steps to speak in the overflow area at a rally in Ottumwa, Iowa. (AP/Jae C. Hong)
In 2008, we were swept off our electoral feet by a tall, handsome, charming candidate for president of the United States. So captivated were we that we ignored the yawning chasm between what we knew about him politically and what we hoped about him presidentially. In our fervor to cast Barack Obama as the "Answer to Everything," inconvenient data points bounced off his momentum like Gumby in a bungee cord.
If he had been any less charismatic, or any more vetted, he would have been derailed by his relationships with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, underground bombers Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and mentor and Communist Party member number 47544 Frank Marshall Davis. But we wanted to believe Obama when he said he had never in 20 years heard Rev. Wright curse America. We wanted to believe his assertion that his (close) association with this impressive group of radicals was temporary, superficial, innocent. And the fantasy continued.
Fast forward eight years, and there is very little mystery left as to who and what is Barack Obama politically and presidentially. (And …by the way … yuck.) We’ve seen him sick, angry, hungry, and tired. Sadder, wiser—and quite a bit poorer and more racially divided—a lot of us have fallen out of love and are looking for fresh infatuation.
Enter Donald Trump.
We know even less about Donald Trump than we did about Barack Obama. We know he’s phenomenal at making money and abysmal at staying faithful to his wives. We know nothing of his effectiveness in public office because he has never held public office. Sweet. We’re free to imagine and then paddle around in our idiosyncratic fantasies of President Trump. It doesn’t hurt that he is fantastically charismatic because charisma doth cover a multitude of sins.
We let no inconvenient data points intrude on our reverie. He wants single-payer healthcare? (Surely not after he’s president.) He believes eminent domain should be used to take private property away from individuals and give it to capitalist enterprise? (Surely not after he’s president.) He envisions naming his pro-choice extremist sister to the Supreme Court? (Surely. Not. After. He. Is. President.) And Trump, that master of bravado, knows we’re smitten.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Trump’s practice of flouting all authority, rules, principles, and practices but his own makes him even more desirable. He’s the “bad boy” we can use to make our parents, i.e., the Republican Establishment, mad. It is deliciously hostile to know that the Donald can mow them down on our behalf. Our fantasies are building to intoxicating proportions.
The catch is that sooner or later we will see him sick, angry, hungry, and tired. If his present bombastic name-calling and petty attacking of other Republican candidates captures him on his best behavior—as in he’s still applying for the job—I shudder to think what his complacent behavior would be.
Those who forget the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them. Those who forget the sour end of the honeymoon with President Obama are condemned to repeat it—in a much more lip-puckering lemon way—with President Trump.
We don’t care. We’re in love, blinders and all.
Donna Carol Voss is an author, blogger, speaker, and mom. A Berkeley grad, a former atheist, pagan, and hot mess, she is now a Mormon on purpose and an original thinker on 21stcentury living. Her memoir, “One of Everything,” traces the path through one of everything she took to get here.www.donnacarolvoss.com
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