Earlier today, while millions of Americans prepared to get hit by what’s expected to be a devastating hurricane, the man America elected president got on an app and denied the existences of thousands of Americans—claiming that their deaths were fabricated by his political rivals to make him look bad.
We are likely stuck with this man as president for (at least) the next two years and possibly the next six. Between now and then, there will be no limit to the depths he aspires to reach. He is a bottomless hole diving towards the void of a bottomless hole. And, as he gets even pettier and dumber and uglier, there will be more of those who’ve worked for and/or supported him who’ll attempt to distance themselves from him. Some might even be bold enough to sign their own names.
I am, and I will likely continue to be, fascinated by the level of cognitive dissonance this activity requires. As they attempt to brand him as this singular monster, this unique nincompoop, they either don’t see or want us to believe they don’t see that he is just the natural and predictable product of decades of fearful and hateful and spiteful policies and politics specifically engineered to engender fear and hate and spite.
The one benefit of the doubt I’ll consider inching in their direction is that, sometimes, it can be jarring to see what you actually look and sound like; so disconcerting that you don’t quite recognize yourself. If you’ve been recorded on camera—and not a camera with favorable angles, but one capturing your image and your voice in a way that you have no control over—the first time you watched film of yourself, you likely experienced a slight sense of unnerve. “Shit. I guess this is how I really look and sound.” And maybe eventually white America will have a similar epiphany. “Shit, I guess this is how we really look and sound when there’s no filter. Something needs to change because this is ... bad. I’m ugly. ”
That, of course, is optimistic. What’s also possible—what’s also, unfortunately, likely—is that they’ll continue using filters and angles and increasingly soft lighting to capture what they believe to be themselves. Or maybe it’s just what they want to believe to be themselves. And just in case you’re wondering if that distinction matters, let me save you some time.