I’ve been wondering for the past couple of years about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that seems to afflict a lot of Americans (and maybe not just Americans). I don’t understand it. Why can’t they just get over the fact that She Lost? Why can’t She just get over the fact that She Lost?
But something I read yesterday seemed to maybe put its finger on the problem:
Politico then suggests that the Trump-fueled anxiety is due in part to “political theory,” positing that America – without a monarchy like the UK, tends to lionize the President as “national consolers,” and that people assign “an almost parental role to the presidency.”
And daddy is acting strange…
“Authority figures represent the parent, [so] President Trump seats in the seat of parent for all Americans,” said Baum-Baicker. “So now, my ‘father figure’ is a bully, is an authoritarian who doesn’t believe in studying and doing homework. … [Rather than reassurance] he creates uncertainty.”
I don’t think Britain’s QE2 has ever been a “national consoler.” She’s a figurehead, and she plays the role to perfection, and us Brits are going to have a collective nervous breakdown when she’s gone. She’s irreplaceable. She’s like one of those lightbulbs that you can’t buy any more, because they stopped making them in 1940. There’ll never be anyone like her.
The real comparison is not with the Queen, but with the British Welfare State which got set up post-WW2. It was actually a Nanny State. It provided services for everyone: doctors, schools, pensions, social security. Margaret Thatcher got rid of quite a lot of it, but much of it still remains. And it’s gradually metamorphosed into a bullying Nanny State, or just a Bully State.
For a lot of people, mostly on the Left, the state is a parent. It’ll provide security just like Mummy and Daddy once did. They look to the state to do everything, provide more or less everything. And while there were US presidents who felt the same way, and played the role of indulgent parent, a lot of Americans felt safe.
But Donald Trump isn’t an indulgent parent. Donald Trump is one of those parents who tells their children to get a job, and learn to support themselves, and stop relying on Daddy. I bet he told daughter Ivanka one day that if she wanted any more shoes and handbags, she was going to have get herself a job, and earn the money herself to buy those things. And I can imagine that when he did that, she probably threw a fit, and cried for weeks. But I’ll bet that he didn’t relent. I bet he stuck to his guns. And now Ivanka is a successful businesswoman in her own right. And she probably is because he made her become one.
And now that Donald Trump is playing Daddy to the American people, a lot of them are reacting just like I imagine Ivanka did: they’re throwing a fit, and calling him an “authoritarian” and a “bully” and even a “fascist.” They’re probably the names that Ivanka called him when he stopped giving her Gucci handbags. So he’s probably been through it all before. And now he’s telling the American people what he told her: get yourself a job, start earning your own living, stop relying on free stuff from Daddy. And the American Left have now been throwing an Ivanka tantrum for two whole years. And they’re being led by politicians who are themselves Ivankas. They have the same sense of entitlement to free stuff from Daddy. Hillary Clinton saw the US presidency itself as something she was entitled to, that was hers by right. And she’s been throwing a tantrum ever since she wasn’t given it.
America is not on the brink of civil war. It’s no more on the brink of civil war than the Trump household was on the brink of civil war when Ivanka stopped getting free Gucci handbags from Daddy. She was never going to kill Daddy, or oust him from his role as paterfamilias. And neither are all the Ivankas in US politics. Ivankas like Madonna. Ivankas like Bruce Springsteen. Ivankas like Hillary Clinton. They’re all full of hot air.
And while the Clintons and the Pelosis and the Feinsteins and the Antifas are hogging the headlines, maybe lots of Americans have been quietly doing what Donald Trump told Ivanka to do: they’ve been getting themselves jobs. And maybe many of them are very glad of it, just like Ivanka probably was.
I’m probably being very unfair to Ivanka. She probably never was a spoiled child like I’m portraying her. She probably never threw any tantrums. She probably never got any Gucci handbags either.