Emil Guillermo: Donald Trump's new heights of megalomania
July 22, 2016 1:18 PM
Considering the evangelical tilt of the GOP, the only time Donald Trump came close to talking about God in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was when he talked about himself.
"I am your voice," Trump declared to the American people.
If you ever wanted to speak in tongues, Trump's offering.
And that's as close to godliness as it got on the last night of the convention, this week's megaphone for Trump's megalomania.
Need a definition for that malady? Look at a picture of him delivering that acceptance speech.
After breaking with tradition and appearing every night at the convention of the GOP faithful, Trump's sales pitch to the rest of the nation began in earnest with that last night face-to-face close.
The Donald doesn't just want your vote.
He wants to gentrify you.
He's like a developer eyeing a teardown. He doesn't want to be you. He just wants to be your voice. It's executive ventriloquism, and you get to be the dummy.
Trump isn't really interested in governing. Of course, he's the least qualified to govern. That's "for the people, by the people," public sector stuff.
Trump's no boring government worker, after all. He's above all that, a private sector guy driven by profits (when he doesn't use the bankruptcy laws). He's all about making deals. And here's his biggest: He wants to come on down, be our voice to help those of us "neglected, ignored, and abandoned," be part of Trump's World.
It's Trump's message. He's rich. You're not. He's fearless. You're not. He's the self-proclaimed God's gift to brand-name "democracy." He's the CEO, a semi-benevolent bully who likes to play by his own rules.
"I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people who cannot defend themselves," he said to a full nine seconds of conventioneer cheering.
"Nobody knows the system better than me," Trump said, pausing to another nine-second cheer.
"Which is why I alone can fix it!" Another ten-second cheer.
"I alone"? I tweeted that out as soon as I heard it.
I didn't think automatically of "dictator" or "authoritarian."
Because the speech was sprinkled with enough passable good will. He expressed concern for the youth in our inner-cities and their lousy education; for the blue collar workers, hurt by all the bad trade deals that a businessman like him wants to fix.
And all of it said with a typical lack of Trumpian humility, which is really why he needs his own country. Preferably not ours.
But on Thursday night, in "always be closing" fashion, Mr. Art of the Deal continued to close.
And his best close revolves around fear.
Trump took advantage of the coincidental rash of violence on both international and domestic fronts, and packaged them into a powerful law and order theme.
But then he went a step further and linked the recent police shootings with immigration.
Trump said: "The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens."
What do the two have to do with each other? Nothing really.
But he continues: "The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources. One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law."
With the shameless tug of the heart, a call to emotion, the crime wave is suddenly due to illegal immigration.
That's the kind of racist illogic we're dealing with.
As Trump said, "One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders."
Poetry is not his strong suit.
Trump then bundled it up in a Hillary wrapper and said, "Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration and mass lawlessness."
Oh, and did you know she's responsible for ISIS, too?
Reasonable people may be quick to dismiss Trump's rhetoric. But then who thought Trump would have any credibility left in the tank after all that racist birther nonsense about President Obama?
Trump is refueling, using Hillaryphobia and xenophobia, and telling us he's is the only way out of this "rigged system" that has kept you down.
The guy is a loon.
But apparently he's not alone.
There's a lot of smart people who are saying, "I'm with him."
A young Asian American, Minyet Hua Palich, 32, from Columbus, Ohio, and an active member of the state's Republican Party Central Committee, was at the convention.
She texted me her reaction to Trump after the speech: "A man of the people!!! He doesn't need to do this, but he's frustrated just like most of us are from the past 8 years & politics as usual. It was a very well rounded speech! He's with us!!!"
This is the political Rashomon. Same speech, different views, almost as long as Kurosawa's classic.
When I heard Trump link immigration and terrorism by saying, "We don't want them in our country," it rekindled the fear-mongering hate rhetoric of the 1930s that led to the exclusion of Filipinos to America.
Palich heard something different. But then she would. She came to America in 1994 as a 10-year old political refugee. Her father, a South Vietnamese Army official, had spent seven years in a concentration camp. A special deal got her to the U.S. during the Reagan years. Government helped her there, and she admitted to me she wasn't like other refugees. She's been fortunate.
But that doesn't stop her from being suspicious of any potential overstepping of government, even in an America that is so far from communism.
She knows, we're not doing so bad in America.
America is still the country with a growing economy, a stock market that keeps rising, and unemployment below five percent.
But doom and gloom sells, and Trump knows that. He's sold Minyet.
Before the convention, she admitted to me that Trump was near her bottom choice (Paul Ryan is her fave.) She's in the small government, low taxes, "anyone but Hillary" camp.
And now after the speech, she's on board the Trump train.
"The party isn't so bad," she texted. "We do care about people; We just don't want the government to make us and control it (sic)."
She says she'll be working for Trump in the state he must win, Ohio.
I'd feel a whole lot better if Trump had more of Melania in his speech. And not just the cribbed Michelle Obama parts.
There was a bit of rhetoric I call the "litany," that I only heard Melania say in her otherwise maligned speech.
"There's a great deal of love in the Trump family. That is our bond and that is our strength," Melania Trump said on Monday.
And then she said what The Donald didn't say.
"Donald intends to represent all people, not just some of the people," she said. "That includes Christians, and Jews, and Muslims. It includes Hispanics, and African Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class."
Nothing in The Donald speech was so clearly inclusive, full of love. His was all hate and fear. And him, him, him.
There was a shout out to LGBTQ people, which I'm sure had a few evangelicals choking on their angel wings.
But Donald's political gender is fluid. He picked anti-same sex marriage, pro-trade Mike Pence, the former Democrat. Now Trump is his voice. And the undocumented and Hillary are the root of all evil.
That's what the voice says today.
"We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore," Trump said in his speech.
So in the final days, he's going to let it fly. And we'll end up with more speech lines like this: "We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order."
Mouth it and let him be your voice?
In a democracy, we don't give that up so easily.
* * *Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
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