Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Carpe Diem: 2016.09.20 ‘MURRIKANS: the Last Reality Show


It has been evident from the first primary debates that Donald Trump had tapped into something roiling beneath the surface of American politics. Trump himself probably wasn’t even aware that it was there and as potentially significant as it has turned out to be. After all, he threw his “Make American Great Again” hat in the ring at a staged event at Trump Towers with a paid crowd off a Manhattan street, not a bunch of Joe Lunchbuckets from a desolated Ohio mill town. The American Yahoo, the “’’Murrikans” who mumble some conception of their country that is an amalgam of a “morning” that never was, Christian endtimes, and a deep-seated fear that they might fall into the swarthy socio-economic classes below them that have allowed them their sense of social superiority. And nothing signaled the threat to the “the greatest nation in the history of the earth” than the fact that there was “a N***er in the White House.”

‘Murrika is a country composed of people who sat by sucking their thumbs while George Bush and his brother and a greaseball Christian on the Supreme Court stole the 2000 election, and then re-elected the idiot for a second term. ‘Murrikans. Yes there are enough stupid, bigoted ‘Murrikans, who are still easily sold some ideological snake-oil notion that ‘Murrika in a dawnzerly light under forspacious skies can be “Great Again” (at slavery, genocide, and imperialism).

The ‘Murrikans will need some help. And they could well get it from the head–up- their–own-asses Democrats and Independents who have swallowed the “untrustworthy Hillary” Kool Aid and have the same political acumen as the “clean Gene” McCarthy voters that enabled the election of Nixon in 1968. These dolts who are quite willing to “make a point” (presumably the one on the swords they are falling on) and whine about it until they it out the midterms and allow the right to tighten its strangle hold of Congress and the state legislatures. Trump has not only discovered the ugly, dark underside of ‘Murrika he has audaciously brought it out into the light that has energized the rabid racists, bigots, misogynists and war mongers and bullied the media into treating it as legitimate politics rather than a cased for the return of asylums.

Sound cynical? Damn right, it is; there just aren’t enough of us cynics to make a third party.

What Trump knows is that ‘Murrikans love their reality shows. They love the mindless narcissism of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the free-for-all bitchism of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, the toothless mumbled inanities of Swamp People, the hermetic philosophies of the frozen brains of those who live Life Below Zero, the self-absorbed antics of Survivors, and the antediluvian political philosophies of Duck Dynasty. I could go on for pages, but you get the point: why not elevate the “reality show” to the White House. Cable will love it, the networks will love it, because the ‘Murrikans will have already been transmogrified into their own reality show. Like Trump’s reflexive prevarications, the truth—the reality—of ‘Murrika will be indistinguishable from the narcissistic fantasy pitches of a consumate con man. We vote with our television remotes, and there just might be enough “Murrikns to pull it off.