When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suspended his campaign following the Indiana primary, a segment of the American electorate was stunned. With the senator out of the way, businessman Donald Trump had a clear path to sealing up the GOP nomination.
In 2012, I was convinced that the American people would right the ship as we were sinking into bigger government, deep division and less liberty under four years of the Obama administration. As much as I couldn’t stand former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, I felt he was at least a candidate that could slow the carnage down.
Romney should have been a shoo-in. He had a decent track record and did well in debates against President Obama’s flailing track record and aloof debate performances. And yet, the American people elected four more years of fundamental change.
CHARLESTON, WV - MAY 05: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in indiana on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
Which is why I wasn’t entirely surprised when Trump swept Indiana, pushing the principled, liberty-driven Cruz out. Because as a people, I’ve come to expect this of us. We have fundamentally changed. So much so that Trump is a reflection of who we’ve become.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a list.
He loves debt and so do we.
Trump is quite open about how he has used and abused the system to benefit himself. A big way he’s gotten ahead, he shares gleefully, is by filing bankruptcy when things get hairy, sticking everyone else with the costs of his debt. Of course, he attests that he has never filed bankruptcy, he just uses it as a common business practice and is cool with it.
We aren’t much different when it comes to being saddled with debt. Currently, the average household owes $168,614 in mortgage debt, $27,141 in auto loans and $48,172 in student loans. I’m not even touching credit card debt, which is a beast all on its own. Perhaps having a potential leader shrug off debt responsibility is comforting to us because it’s like receiving permission not to care.
He is famous and most of us want to be.
Trump has been in the spotlight for decades. Whether it be tabloid scandals, financial news controversies or his shtick as the “you’re fired” bossman on NBC’s The Apprentice. He is a master of publicity both good and bad. I mean, look at the billions of dollars in free coverage he received during this presidential race. He’s famous and draws huge crowds because of his fame. He has harnessed the cult of personality and you can tell he relishes in it.
We live in a time where so many do whatever they can just to get noticed. Breast implants, spray tans, botox, doing something sensational on social media; it’s all relative in the pursuit of the spotlight. Sadly, we’ve grown to act this way because it seems that unless you’re extreme or radical in some way, you don’t necessarily get attention. Naked selfie that will get “accidentally” leaked, anyone?
He lies and so do we.
Forget the fact that he labeled Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” with nothing credible to base the nickname off of, Trump can say something awful on film and then lie about it three days later when questioned. A great example is when he openly mocked a disabled reporter during a speech in front of a giant, laughing crowd. When pressed on why he would be so heartless as to make fun of a disabled person, Trump denied that’s what he did to begin with.
One need look no further than most of our social media feeds to comprehend that an overwhelming amount of what we portray publicly isn’t at all what we are going through or experiencing. It's about show and we embelish to make it seem like it's reality.
He is ignorant and so are we.
When asked about the nuclear triad during a debate, Trump had no idea what the moderator was referring too. He released a photo of himself on Cinco de Mayo eating a burrito bowl proclaiming his love for Hispanics. During a speech in which he was trying to convenience people what a devout Christian he was, Trump couldn’t even quote scripture correctly. But hey, make America great again, right?!
Granted, today most news and information is so wildly spun anyway, but the average American can’t articulate anything beyond their First Amendment rights, and even when pressed on that they struggle. The majority have grown to accept talking points at face value and can’t be bothered to do their own homework.
We have developed a culture of apathy and stopped being vigilant in holding public servants accountable because it’s easier just to turn on the Kardashians.
You see, Trump is the best we can do because we choose not to be better ourselves. The majority have given up who were for something flashy, cheap and fake. We are Donald Trump.
Wade Heath is a speaker, columnist and founder of the Do Good. Be Great. millennial movement. Contact him: Events@WadeHeath.com
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