Now for something completely different:
Fear And Loathing in Our Nation’s Capital:
The Origin Story of My Contempt for Donald J. Trump.
How did it come to this?
How is it that a sitting president of the United States would willfully incite sedition?
Actually, it all started a long, long time ago in a city far, far to the northeast…
I moved to New York City in early 1988 with a degree in Finance and a blind admiration for people like Michael Milken. Milken was the high-flyingest of the high-flying Wall Street wizards who hadn’t yet been charged with racketeering and securities fraud and, I’m assuming, persistent jaywalking. I mean, it was New York City in the 80’s and obviously this guy had no respect for society’s “rules.”
As for Donald Trump, I didn’t know anything about him before my move, but it didn’t take long thanks to the fact that all the city’s papers back then were basically like his personal and awful family photo albums…
Nasty divorce stuff, more nasty divorce stuff, hot new girlfriend, even more nasty divorce stuff, blah-fucking-blah blah! Aside from this and having his name in big, gaudy letters bolted to the sides of big, gaudy buildings, it wasn’t clear to me what he actually did for a living. Apparently he “owned” some casinos, but he always came across as more of a spokesmodel than an actual businessman. I did once fly home from Atlantic City on a Trump helicopter with my brother after a particularly good day at the tables back in ’88, but my brother threw up in it, so I feel like that cleared us of being complicit in any of his future antics. 😉
Basically, Trump came across to me from the beginning as merely an indefinable “influencer” back when the cover of The New York Post was the closest thing we had to Instagram. Which, I guess would mean “Page Six” was our Twitter and Cindy Adams was our Facebook. And while I’m at it, let’s not leave out NYC’s original PornHub…
In the early 90’s I had my first “Trump Sighting.” I was at a Yankee game wandering around trying to find my undoubtedly shitty seat when a sudden chill came upon me and I felt the presence of something evil. Turns out I had just walked past the room where they pre-boil the hot dogs. But when I looked back up, there he was. It was like seeing Bigfoot, but, of course, in this case it was TinyHands. He was taller than I’d imagined, as is pretty much anybody who is over 6-feet tall. He was with Marla Maples and a stadium security guard who was ushering them through the halls as people stared and pointed and “oohed” and “aahed.” I admit that I thought, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.” But I only thought that because it was a sort of classic, cliche New York thing to actually witness. Sort of like seeing a crackhead take a dump on a subway platform. That’s basically how I felt about Donald Trump even back then. To me, he was the human equivalent of a crack dump. You see it. You say, “Okay. I live in New York City.” And you walk away.
Fast forward through over a decade of having much more constructive things to give a shit about other than a wildly egotistical flimflam peddler. I was now writing for a popular satirical program on the TV box from which an unusually large number of “the kids” claimed to have “gotten their news.” If we mentioned Trump at all, it was because we needed a punchline and we didn’t think Rich Uncle Pennybags was enough of an asshole.
Then came the new millennium. Y2K didn’t ruin the world as expected, but apparently Trump thought something should, so he finally made good on his previous, harebrained threats to run for president.
Fortunately we didn’t have to pay him much mind as he never made it past the exploratory phase, which, fun fact, was headed by recently pardoned convicted felon, Roger Stone. I’m not sure if he had a tattoo of Nixon on his back yet, but it’s a safe bet that he was already an insufferably loathsome jackhole. Anyway, we were far too busy trying to figure out how to handle “the original shitshow“…
It was a political clusterfuck and our job was trying to uncluster it. The saving grace was that it allowed our return to actively ignoring Trump, a pastime I was always happy to engage in. After all, he was a pompous, ridiculous attention seeker who could never realistically become president. Right? Of course not. And sure enough, he didn’t.
At the time, there wasn’t a feeling of having dodged a bullet, because there was never any realistic chance that such an obvious blowhard could rise to that level. We were convinced that he was simply a comical buffoon to be laughed at and dismissed. And so that’s what we did. It was a mistake, in hindsight, not to aim more damaging verbal roundhouse’s at him, but it was also somewhat understandable considering the far more pressing task at hand.
For the next decade, Trump would pop up on our radar every now and then by saying something outrageous or doing something extremely outrageous or just generally being grotesquely outrageous. We treated him like a ridiculous human punchline; a preposterous clown in a billowing business suit. Because, to us, that is what he was and what he always would be. Or so we hoped.
Then, in 2011, while considering another seemingly improbable run for the presidency, Trump began his aggressive campaign to recruit angry white people, though you may know it better as the birther movement. It was a hoax, of course, but not even an elaborate hoax. It was a simple-minded hoax drenched in unambiguous racism and intolerance: Barack Obama was not born in the United States and was therefore an illegitimate president… and probably a muslim. (Shudder!!)
This was a key moment.
This was when Trump began to fully realize the astonishing levels of (white) national(ist) support he could get for telling what he knew were lies. This is when he began to fully realize that the number of POQS’s (persons of questionable sanity) he could get to believe almost anything, was much larger than even he could have imagined during what I assume were his perpetual self-guided fever dreams. Eventually that group would grow to include POQS’s like Trump supporter, QAnon cheerleader, and criminal trespasser, Jake Angeli, seen here being utterly ridiculous…
And far more significantly, treasonous.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Limbaugh and Jones and O’Reilly and all the smaller-but-equally-steaming turdbuckets at FoxNews and the like aggressively abetted him. But it was the Tribble-level surge of malleable minions that blew the already teetering top off the aptly named basket of deplorables. This then allowed them to spill over the sides and into the voting booths four years later to support the unfathomable rise of a nincompoop and help make a self-serving scatterbrained nutcase our president.
By that time, I was now writing for a digital version of SPY Magazine, cranking out funny though relatively harmless content like a seemingly impossible breakdown of this wildly disturbing photo.
It was a fun job, but it ended very badly when our admittedly benign comical insights somehow fell short of keeping this Nero wannabe from becoming our emperor– I mean, president.
Cut to four harrowingly long years later. After losing the election, and after losing 61 lawsuits objecting to the election despite “mountains of evidence,” Donald Trump actively incited sedition. His most “ardent” (read: “batshit”) supporters actually seemed to feel that their multi-conspiracy-fueled rage gave them the right to create a mob and violently force their way into the Capitol Building with little or no regard for the Blue Lives they so selectively decided didn’t matter at the moment. And let’s be honest, some of those Blue Lives were probably perfectly willing to invite them in.
Remember, there are shitty people on both sides.
And to top it off, the mob entered screaming,
“Hang Mike Pence!“
The guy who, for the past four years, has pre-licked the boots of Donald Trump to make it easier for the bootlickers who were lined up behind him. So-called patriots from across the nation sucked in their beer guts, put on their best furry viking hats and flexed their white privilege as they stormed through the halls and chambers and offices of the Capitol building pretending it all “belonged” to them. And God only knows what they did to the bathrooms.
And President Donald Trump did nothing.
Well, not nothing. I mean, he did start things off by encouraging them to do exactly what they were doing. Then he sat back, with a large bucket of chicken I assume, and let them do it for an hour or two. And finally he made a fun video “pleading” with his flunkies to stop and “go home” before then wrapping it all up with a scathing
“We love you. You’re very special.”
After they attempted to fiercely subvert democracy!
And that’s where we stand.
Almost exactly 33 years after I moved here with just 17 dollars in my pocket, and a horribly misguided dream to become a Master of the Universe, our government has literally been overrun by vermin, themselves horribly misguided by an indefensibly sore loser.
Oh, and remember Michael Milken, the high-yield bond king of the 80’s who was convicted on numerous counts of racketeering, fraud, insider trading and tax evasion? Funny story… Trump pardoned him last February. Probably because of the tax evasion alone. Trump loves that shit.
Granted, Milken had since become known for his considerable philanthropy, but we all know where the money he uses for that came from. So in the partial words of the late, disgusting Al Goldstein: Michael Milken…
Oh! And that also goes for every single dimwit who “toured” the Capitol building last week without getting the required pass.
Oh! And it also goes for the guy who encouraged that tour just minutes before.
Oh! And it also goes for all the elected officials who encouraged that encouragement.
Oh! And is especially goes for Rudy Giuliani. Ya know… just because.
Ending, as usual, on a positive note…
This week’s musical guest is Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and the somewhat ridiculously though aptly named Tré Cool killin’ it on the kit. Green Day hails form my home town area, the East Bay of California, so there’s that. I didn’t really get into them though until I saw them at Woodstock ’94. I was brought there with a busload of other comics to perform on side-stages throughout the festival. That particular effort was terribly unorganized, however, so most of us just took our free passes and wandered around enjoying the music as much as we could considering the whole place was basically one big, gross mud pit. Green Day was there supporting their album Dookie which had some great songs on it including “Basketcase” (of course), “Welcome to Paradise,” and “When I come Around.”
Their extremely raucous set ended with a massive mud fight started by Bille Jo Armstrong and involving pretty much everybody who had shoved their way up to the front 15 or 20 “rows.” It was a crazy scene that I was perfectly happy to witness from the back.
Since then they’ve written some amazing music including including the brilliant medley “Homecoming” on the brilliant album American Idiot. But it’s the title tune we’re featuring this week because, for some indecipherable reason, I can’t stop thinking about American Idiots with Redneck Agendas.