Being a huge fan of the show “The Apprentice”, the catchphrase “You’re Fired” and many of his memorable cameos in pop-culture from my childhood, I have been excited about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from the very start. Even though I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I secretly wanted him to win the Republican nomination so I could see more of him on TV. In the back of my head I still knew that it could prove disastrous for him to hold any political office, much less the President of the USA. I even self-published a book about how him winning the republican nomination was inevitable.
I figured once he was in the ‘real’ election race against the democrats his rhetoric would change, or soften a little bit. But instead of toning himself down on radical propositions like building a wall or banning Muslims, he seemed to have trumped up and doubled down on his ludicrous propositions. I remember at one point in the election campaign he was beating Hillary in almost all the polls. For a second I was truly scared, was this man going to be what Americans love to call, “The Leader of the Free World”? After his criticism of a Muslim family of a slain Muslim US soldier, even I had to withdraw my support. And I loved the guy (as a celebrity and occasional WWE wrestler, just to be clear). Being a lifelong Trump fan, I felt hurt and betrayed. But then I realised, the fault lies not with Donald J. Trump, but with me.
Trump has always been Trump. He has always been sexist, xenophobic, rude and arrogant. All those things are part of his patriarchal appeal. He’s the tough talking father figure, a man’s man. The jolly old drunk uncle who goes a little too far at family gatherings, but everyone understands and accepts him and loves him nonetheless. And Trump supporters KNOW this. And Trump knows that his supporters know, that’s why he can make statements like “I could shoot a person and not lose any voters.”
After the initial sting from being hurt wore off, I started pondering why a beloved figure from my childhood is the way he is. Why does he make such hateful statements against women, Mexicans, Chinese and Muslims? Then I looked in the mirror. And I saw a bit of him in myself. And I had an important realisation. People are mean to people when they are deeply hurt and betrayed; I remember feeling resentful towards women after my college girlfriend left me. I even remember seeking out misogynist clubs and groups on Facebook. But after a while, I got over it. I found love again and realized the error of my ways. I even became friends with my college ex and we still keep in touch.
Trump must have had a similar experience, except he never got over it because of his gargantuan ego. Some woman he once loved must have dealt a terrible blow, which is why he makes statements like “Vagina is expensive.” And as for his hate speech against everyone else, that’s just Trump being himself. His supporters elected him as their nominee knowing fully well who he is, so don’t expect them to balk at his ‘unpresidential’ statements and ludicrous ideas. Because that’s what Trump does best, and his followers love him for it.
And as a former fan, I really hope he finds peace and he learns to forgive. I mean it’s alright Mister Trump, love hurts. Let it go.