Going Down the Rabbit Gap With Donald Trump

There may be no query about it: Donald Trump is Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. “Off together with his head!” was the president’s important suggestion for — to supply only one instance — a sure whistleblower who fingered him on that now infamous Ukrainian cellphone name. And if The Donald hasn’t additionally been taking part in the roles of White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and different characters from Carroll’s basic 19th-century kids’s guide, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” then inform me what he’s been doing these final years.

Sadly, in making an attempt to clarify the Trumpian world we’ve been plunged into, I’m not Lewis Carroll. If solely I have been! Nonetheless, I noticed just lately that, like Alice, I had gone down the proverbial rabbit gap and was nonetheless falling, falling as if right into a deep, deep nicely or by means of the very middle of the Earth. Now Alice, in the event you bear in mind, first needed to comply with a White Rabbit with pink eyes who rushed by sporting a waistcoat, all of the sudden pulled a watch from its pocket, and mentioned to itself, “Oh expensive! Oh expensive! I shall be too late!” It then disappeared down that memorably massive rabbit gap by a riverbank close to her home in 19th-century England.

Willingly or not, I — and right here, I think, I converse for many of the remainder of us, too — had little selection, given the election in 2016, however to comply with our personal rabbit down a 21st-century model of that rabbit gap. It goes with out saying that our rabbit, that famed impresario of (un)actuality TV reveals, was distinctly a white rabbit, too. (In spite of everything, he could be the primary to guarantee you that he’s no “Mexican rapist,” nor a compatriot of the just lately useless Congressman Elijah Cummings whom he labeled a “brutal bully” representing a “rat and rodent infested” district of Baltimore.)

In his personal twitchy style, President Trump just lately refused to throw out the primary pitch at a World Collection recreation in Washington, DC, as a result of he knew that the Secret Service would costume him up in “plenty of heavy armor” and he would, as he put it, “look too heavy.” In different phrases, he rejected his personal armored model of a waistcoat, a Kevlar vest, as a result of it would, he felt, make him appear fats. This form of factor, now our on a regular basis actuality, even Carroll may need had hassle inventing. And if any of this appears petty to you, needless to say by no means in our historical past has there been a extra petty or self-absorbed president. (On his introduction at that baseball recreation, by the way in which, he was greeted with a refrain of boos and — a primary — chants of “Lock him up!”)

For these of you who bear in mind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with its basic John Tenniel illustrations, right here’s one picture that, I feel, captures our Trumpian second. Alice, already in Wonderland, finds herself in a room with a door too little to exit by means of. (It appears to me that, since 2016, all of us have discovered ourselves in simply such a room — up to date to incorporate an @realDonaldTrump Twitter account — with no exit in sight.) On a small desk, she all of the sudden notices a tiny bottle, “which actually was not right here earlier than.” As Carroll describes it, “Around the neck of the bottle was a paper label with the phrases ‘DRINK ME’ superbly printed on it in massive letters.”

After fastidiously checking to ensure it wasn’t marked “poison,” Alice sipped the liquid in that bottle. It had, she reported, a “combined taste of cherry-tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffy, and scorching buttered-toast.” As she drank it, Alice discovered herself shrinking till she was 10-inches tall, simply the dimensions for that little door. She would later develop large certainly in a world wherein nothing appeared to stay expectably normal-sized.

No matter we People might imagine, together with the 30% or extra of us who make up Donald Trump’s ever-loyal base, it appears to me that we’ve all shrunk fairly a bit within the years since he entered the Oval Workplace, at the same time as he’s grown, in his personal unusual approach, to gigantic proportions, Kevlar vest or no. By no fault of their very own, within the final election season, a lot of those that would turn out to be a part of that base have been already far down a rabbit gap of inequality and feeling an growing sense of hopelessness. No surprise that, recognizing a Queen of Hearts on their TV units able to insult the encircling world of political propriety (“Low-energy Jeb,” “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary“), they determined he could be the proper messenger to offer the finger to a Washington that had betrayed them.

Had been he ever to enter the White Home, they assumed, he would possibly certainly take off the heads of a few of those that had helped put them in such a spot. Since they undoubtedly had few illusions about simply what kind of determine they have been voting into the very best workplace within the land, that they had no purpose to reject or desert him virtually three years later (although admittedly his administration and a Republican Congress have solely elevated inequality on this nation). As we speak, with Donald Trump in Blunderland and themselves nonetheless falling, falling, they continue to be remarkably loyal to, and something however disillusioned with, their very personal Queen of Hearts.

The Donald’s Truest
Second in Blunderland

Now, think about for a second simply how wondrous (in a way) all this has been. I imply, who, not in Blunderland, may ever have imagined {that a} bankrupted on line casino magnate and actuality TV host would possibly basically — like his lawyer just lately — butt-dial us all into a brand new type of (un)actuality? Who may have imagined a world wherein each digicam could be centered on him and him alone, its crimson gentle seemingly all the time on?

Who may have imagined that any weird thought our very personal Queen of Hearts had or any little bit of braggadocio he tweeted or uttered (“[Islamic State uses] the web higher than virtually anyone on the earth, maybe aside from Donald Trump”) could be the information of that day? Who may have imagined that, irrespective of how he insulted them, the “pretend information media” would concentrate on him and him alone, assigning reporters to cowl him in hordes that had been inconceivable within the pre-rabbit-hole historical past of journalism? In different phrases, in media phrases, no matter Donald Trump drank, it made him far greater than the rest on this planet.

And actually, every day, once you tumble
down that rabbit gap but once more, it hardly issues whether or not you’re heading there
by way of CNN, MSNBC or Fox Information. What as soon as would have been often called the politics of
all of it is now, in some ways, irrelevant in what I as soon as termed the White Ford Bronco presidency (in
honor of the automotive O.J. Simpson drove down a California freeway in a long-gone
second of no significance that was nonetheless blanketed by the TV information and
watched by a nation).

Nonetheless, give Carroll the credit score he deserves
for greedy one thing of our 21st-century American destiny so way back. After
all, his guide ends on what is perhaps regarded as the Wonderland model of an
impeachment trial. There, the blustering Queen and King of Hearts are eternally
looking forward to the heads of everybody, whereas the jurors — small animals, birds and a
lizard — desperately attempt to write down ridiculously irrelevant “proof,” and
Alice all of the sudden begins to develop ever bigger as she watches the spectacle.

A lot as it might anger Donald Trump,
impeachment will likely be his truest second in Blunderland, the one wherein
the concentrate on him will solely turn out to be extra excessive (“Drink this!”). In actual fact, rely
on it rising to proportions by no means earlier than imagined on this planet. All of us
will, by then, have drunk that potion and, regardless of what Carroll imagined in
balmier instances, it has certainly confirmed a type of poison.

The query, in fact, is: Will the remainder
of us ever attain the book-ending second wherein all of the characters in
Wonderland, having turned again into so many taking part in playing cards, stand up “into
the air” and are available “flying down upon” Alice? As she beats them off,
she all of the sudden awakens on that riverbank close to her home, “her head within the lap of
her sister, who was gently brushing away some useless leaves that had fluttered
down from the bushes upon her face.”

Will we sometime get up, too, and uncover
that our model of Wonderland, The Donald’s Blunderland, was all a type of
unusual dream? Or in our time, in our world, would possibly waking on that riverbank no
longer be attainable?

The New Hostage Disaster

In his acts, statements and tweets, in his
very essence, Donald Trump is the residing model of a combined metaphor. So it
appears applicable sufficient right here to abandon Wonderland and Blunderland momentarily
for an additional set of photographs from our previous.

Who, of a sure age, doesn’t bear in mind November 4, 1979? That day, a gaggle of Iranian pupil militants seized the American Embassy in Tehran. They have been protesting the arrival within the US of the shah, the ruler Washington had put in in energy of their nation by way of a CIA-British intelligence coup that overthrew a democratic authorities there in 1953. Solely months earlier than, the shah had Iran within the face of an rebellion impressed by a fundamentalist cleric.

These Iranian college students took the diplomats and staff in that embassy hostage and held most of them underneath harsh situations for 444 (extremely televised) days, regardless of a failed American army try and rescue them. As anybody who lived by means of that point will bear in mind, the hostage disaster proved decisive in home politics, undoubtedly costing Jimmy Carter reelection as president and placing Ronald Reagan within the White Home in his place. (Curiously sufficient, the scholars lastly freed their hostages on the day of Reagan’s inauguration.)

That more-than-year-long saga represented an early, much more minor model of the Trumpian media insanity that grips us at the moment. In actual fact, it’s not unreasonable to recommend — right here comes that non-Wonderland combined metaphor I promised you — that we are actually within the midst of a brand new hostage disaster. Sure, 40 Novembers later, it’s occurring once more, solely right here in America. With the assistance of that “pretend information media” of his, Donald Trump, a really completely different type of fundamentalist, has taken us all hostage. And greater than 1,000 days into his presidency, there appears little signal of rescue in sight.

Like these diplomats of way back, we’re all in some style blindfolded and someplace within the distance we will, like them, hear the jeering crowds or maybe, in our case, it’s simply the jeering of our self-promotional president.

Sure, we are actually, all of us, hostages in a rustic spiraling who is aware of the place. To take one other temporary step again (although perspective on any of this couldn’t be more durable to get), Trump isn’t a lot the reason for our current dilemma because the symptom and weird personification of it — of, that’s, the sudden and precipitous decline of the American imperium at house and overseas.

It’s onerous to wrap one’s head round all of this, partially as a result of the very phrases “empire” and “imperial” aren’t within the American lexicon, not when utilized to us anyway. And that’s too dangerous as a result of they may give us a bit perspective on the Blunderland we discover ourselves in and the way we acquired right here.

Sadly, within the wake of the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, this nation’s leaders, who took such delight in presiding over the one indispensable superpower on planet Earth, managed to guide us into hell (a hell that’s now Donald Trump). After years of the development of devastating inequality right here and failed wars in distant lands, that unparalleled imperial energy is now in serious trouble.

And don’t blame The Donald for that. As he’s identified earlier than, he didn’t order the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq within the wake of 9/11. He wasn’t the one who pursued what actually needs to be identified (from the unfold of terrorist teams on this interval) because the American conflict not “on” however “for” terror.

Maybe it’s time for us to choose up that different little bottle on Alice’s desk, the one that claims “failing empire: drink this.” As a result of 40 years after that first hostage disaster (which itself was a disaster of empire gone awry), we’re all hostages to the blunderer who would by no means have been within the White Home if it weren’t for a rustic that had already auctioned off its political system to the highest bidders and its authorities to the nationwide safety state. You recognize, what Trump likes to denounce because the “deep state” (although its considering couldn’t be extra shallow). And right here’s the irony: A lot as he decries it, he nonetheless can’t assist feeding it ever extra taxpayer {dollars} galore.

Welcome, in different phrases, to Blunderland, a rustic already on the fringe of oligarchy with a really feel of autocracy to it. Think about it an irony of the worst type that america, based in response to a Mad King George and his empire, is now itself an empire on a downward spiral, whose populace is mesmerized by, distracted by a Mad King Donald. After so many infinite centuries of imperial battle on a planet heading right into a disaster of pyromania not like any we people have ever skilled, maybe what we’d like is our personal Lewis Carroll to report all of it.

Now, drink this!

*[This text was initially revealed by TomDispatch]

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.

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