Sunday Reads: Americans fall down a rabbit hole into Trumpland

Well, I tried to be nice. I tried to be respectful of the American political process, and I applauded the classy handover of power between presidents and their administrations.

I even gave one Donald J. Trump the benefit of the many doubts (because, you know, we Canadians are so damn polite most of the time).

But a day after the inauguration, I became convinced that Americans — and the rest of the world — are in for a very surreal period with Trump at the helm, not unlike Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Disney's Queen of Hearts. Source: Wikipedia.
Disney’s Queen of Hearts. Source: Wikipedia.

Indeed, Trump is the Red Queen in a house of cards where his underlings will do their best to humour him during his flights of fancy — as long as he plays the game the way they want him to by signing conservative bills into law.

“The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. ‘Off with his head!’ she said, without even looking round.” (Lewis Carroll)

And Trump has only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. ‘The media are the most dishonest people in the world!’ he said, without even looking round.

Yes, in the surreal dimension of reality that is Trumpland, the media deliberately understated the attendance numbers at the inauguration event to discredit his Majesty — and the images we saw on TV and the photos taken that day were framed to make the event look smaller. Because, said his Majesty’s white rabbit, Sean Spicer: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”

Never mind the vast, empty white spaces stretching back to the Washington Monument that day. It was media trickery that can only happen in a place like Trumpland.

So, you undoubtedly have already figured out what my Sunday Reads recommendation is this week. You probably have a copy on your bookshelf that has been there since you were a child. Dust off your copy of Alice in Wonderland, and see what America is in for — and hope like hell America in Trumpland is but a dream . . .

— Jillian

Top photo: The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Photo credit: FelineNoir.com via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

9 thoughts on “Sunday Reads: Americans fall down a rabbit hole into Trumpland

    1. But even if O’Leary wins the PC nomination, he will never beat Trudeau . . . then again, most people said Trump would never win, either. There are a lot of rabbit holes in this world.

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  1. LOL. I read your last piece about that nice Mr Trump and thought what I was reading was surreal, in essence, at face value, a classic case of cognitive dissonance. But I did wonder whether there was an alternative theme lying under it. Either way, I decided against responding. Now I maybe know why.

    Politicians lie. That depends to some extent on what your personal definition of “lying” is, but they are, as one famous historical character was attributed as having said, at least “economical with the actualité”. The reason for this is that the minority who actually listen to what they say and have any interest in even trying to let what they say register on their auditory faculties and thus on the grey reasoning matter they allegedly have, like to be lied to, to have, what is actually a fictitious alternative reality presented to them, because the real world is a real down to them, a serious bummer. Even that nice, impressive sounding and good-looking Mr Trudeau is guilty of that, as recent events appear to suggest. Remember above all that he too, is a politician. There are ‘rules’, after all, black rules.

    If you are looking for a truthful, candid, honest and fully forthright politician, you might as well as take up looking for the ever-elusive hen’s tooth or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Political machinery and chicanery has no use for such people and will chew them up and spit them out as soon as look askance at them. A lot of this has to do with the mass mainstream electorate seeking simple, quick solutions to complex, often intractable problems. Imagine the fortunes of the politician who says “I’m sorry I don’t know what the solution is. There simply may not be a solution. I can’t deliver that which does not exist“.

    Trump has cottoned onto this and realized that it is just a relatively small step from being economical with the truth, or with-holding the entirety of the truth, being coy with the truth or putting an obscure or evasive slant on the truth, to just telling outrageous, humongous lies as the truth, being as it is actually believable by the sort of people you need to support you and vote for you. Believing something does not equate with something being truthful. Trump has, after all, allegedly been quoted as saying that he could murder someone in broad daylight and still get elected. He isn’t even invoking a new technique. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, it’s been done before and not just by that one particular character.

    It’s early days, but already it looks like Trump’s team are taking tactics straight out of that playbook, like threatening to allegedly ban CNN from the White Press Corps or, in the form of Sean Spicer, audaciously and outrageously trying to write a completely alternative version of whole 24-hour events, playing as he was directly to the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing conspiracy-mongers. Who cares whether the MSM portray it as absurd; they are part of the conspiracy problem, after all.

    Right now, you, me and the rest of the world are looking, in real-time and in slow motion, at the start of a train wreck, even if you do not know you are actually looking at a train wreck in slow motion. It would actually be funny if it were not for the possible adverse outcomes. I won’t make any claims in advance about that because that would be playing into the hands of the paranoid conspiracists. It’s a tricky game and at the moment the conspiracists and the “game players” like Trump and his personal team are winning hands down and the problem is both complex and intractable and I, for one, have no clue what the answer to it is and don’t believe anyone else who claims they do.

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    1. Good commentary! Thank you.

      I take pride in being super-objective; it’s part of my job as a copy editor. I have to play devil’s advocate at times. So, I gave Trump the benefit of the doubt — until Saturday, when he and his press secretary crossed the line where even a copy editor can’t defend them any longer with a “maybe they’re telling the truth.”

      Of course, in my brain I suspected he was a lunatic all along, but one is always innocent until proven guilty in my business. In my heart I hoped he would be something like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington . . . . but you’re right: “Truthful, candid, honest and fully forthright politicians” are mythical beings. Still, we hope that someday one will materialize.

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    2. Déja-vu?!?! This is so reminiscent of the change from P.E.T(the small segway to Mr. Turner just that) to Mr. Mulroney in 1984. Like Obama, Trudeau would put into place legislation, without which the country would not be recognizable and forward, – the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms that we take for granted to this day – as Obamacare and the Iran Nuclear Deal are comparisons. So now, Mr. Trump will attempt to do what Mr. Mulroney and his cronies did, make a lot of money for his gang and Right the ship to starboard to undo all the Social-Democratic stuff. But at least P.E.T and Obama didn’t lie; if not telling all can be considered as honest. They were Politicians after all. So, we can envisage after four years a Bernie Sanders President as John Chrétien would wrest the power back and steer the ship to Port. Both also consummate politicians who know how Government works in their respective nations. But we must ask the question. Who would we rather? A Putin? A Bashar al-Assad? A Hugo Chavez? Sauron of Mordor?. Democracy is a messy business. Has been for millennia. Otherwise, it is the deep blue sea on the good Ship of Fools. Let us pray we don’t hit an iceberg. Oops, there won’t be any of them left. But there just maybe a great flood!

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      1. Something to realize, Bernie will be nearly 80 in 2020. I’ve voted for Bernie, in Vermont, for nearly 30 years, but I think his time has passed for presidential candidacy.

        Quite honestly, he wasn’t ever a very strong candidate to actually be President. Much of his support came from people who were very similar to Trump’s supporters, disgruntled and wanting to believe a candidate was something much greater than he really is.

        Bernie still has a very important role to play in leading a progressive movement, which should have been the primary focus of his campaign, last year, and which I think was damaged by losing focus and trying to actually win the nomination. Nonetheless, this is now a vital part of leading the opposition to Trump’s regieme.

        I think the candidate who may be the best to challenge Trump in 2020, if he stands for a second term, is probably someone who is not yet widely known. In the States, leaders don’t come up through past governments in a line of succession so much as they appear when the moment is most opportune for their talents and/or abilities, or rhetoric. Usually is the case for the party in opposition, these four years will see a new generation of leaders emerge.

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