The Trump Circus

I mentioned to a few people yesterday that the thing that bothered me the most about Trump’s mockery and denigration of Dr. Christine Ford at one of his rallies on Tuesday was the fact that the audience approved.  They laughed.  They applauded.  Even far-right republicans, I thought, surely couldn’t approve of this b.s. by Trump, but it appeared that they did. Even women, some of whom surely had also been victims of sexual abuse, cheered.  I find this deeply disturbing.  This morning, as I was perusing various news outlets, I stumbled across an editorial by Charles M. Blow of the New York Times.  I believe Mr. Blow has hit the nail squarely on the head with his explanations for that crass behaviour that is so often exhibited these days at Trump rallies, and I thought his ideas were worth sharing with you …

Charles BlowThe Trump Circus

By Charles M. Blow

03 October 2018

It is a scene that has become all too common, and dare I say dangerously close to becoming mundane: Donald Trump said something outrageous at one of his political rallies and his supporters, those hopelessly beguiled by the bully, cheered.

This week, Trump trekked to Southaven, Miss., where he took the degenerate step of mocking Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Trump imitated and chided her:

Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer … How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.

It was a repulsively grotesque spectacle, and yet from the assemblage of thousands came applause and roars of approval for Trump.

It is at moments like these that I try to step back from the particulars, to create some distance, so that I can ask myself the larger, more profound questions. How did we as a country arrive at the point where this is even possible? And how are there so many Americans willing to accept Trump’s corrosion of our culture and our discourse, to gleefully follow him as he plumbs the depths, probing for a bottom of acceptability that, in his world, seems to have been obliterated?

There are multiple explanations, to be sure: racism, xenophobia, ethnic hostility, Islamophobia, nationalism, Fox News, reduced access to privilege, lingering anti-Obama sentiments, a pronounced distrust of media in particular and truth writ large.

But I believe there are two other explanations that are much more base: entertainment and ownership.

First, the entire Trump presidency is a show, and many Americans find it quite entertaining, viewing Trump as its antihero.

He is brash, unconventional, emotional, sometimes raging and sometimes funny.

His rock-and-rage rallies (he has held nearly two dozen since being elected) are simply an extension of that, only more raw and raucous. Trump brings the big show and the big media with their big cameras to places and people who feel forgotten and isolated, looked over by the bustling coasts and the urban centers.

He is their entree to power, a personification and articulation of anger and anti-intellectualism, a way to wrap their hatreds in humor.

The rallies are part tent revival, part circus, part call-and-response game show. Like-minded people with look-alike faces populate them. They are orgies of sameness in which crowd dynamics produce and escalate a tornado of affirmation and acceptance until it is perfectly admissible to surrender any remaining morality to the mob.

It is a religious experience of conversion and immersion, a born-again baptism in which people emerge bound to one another and bound to Trump.

Trying to pry them apart from Trump, to make them somehow see the light and turn on him, is a time- and energy-wasting exercise. Trump is wielding a Jim Jones-level of influence and control over these people, and deprogramming the members of his cult would take more effort than most are willing to commit.

53 thoughts on “The Trump Circus

  1. I go back and forth between ignoring the ‘Thing’ in the White House and writing whoever I can to demand he be impeached, but the clown has the crown and he knows how to play that base who encourages him to be his awful self. You’re right, we can’t break that spell, but we can stay vigilant and vote right next time, and in the meantime, keep our sanity and our vision of what right looks and sounds like. And we keep creating and talking to others who are unaffected by the spell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent assessment. Yes, our only option at this juncture is to vote the sycophants out of Congress this November, and vote Bozo out of the White House in 2020! If only his blind-faith followers would stop drinking Kool Aid so that they could wake up! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Trump Circus - The Greatest Never

  3. Jill, Charles Blow should be commended. I have long grown weary of the great rationalization of the US President’s behavior. Per his biographers and reporters, Trump has been known to lie and bully darting back to his school yard days. It is not party specific, as Trump was a liar and bulky when he was a Democrat as well. It is now, his sycophants believe him.

    As for mocking Ford and others, there is no call for this. Plus, twenty women have accused him of sexual assault and/ or harassment. His comments of being falsely accused ring hollow, as he has admitted to these accusations in three separate interviews, even bragging on his ability to do this.

    Quite frankly, if Dr. Ford was the daughter of any of his followers, they would be calling for Kavanaugh’s head. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Blow is almost always worth a read. You know what I find strangest about Trump’s propensity for lying? That he doesn’t even bother to try to cover his lies. He may contradict himself within a few hours, but he never seems ashamed or embarrassed. People call him a liar to his face, and he simply laughs. Doesn’t that tell us that there is something very important missing in his character?

      His mockery of Dr. Ford was appalling! But … it reminded me of his mockery of a handicapped reporter, his mockery of a female reporter. In short, anybody who crosses him in any way, or stands between him and his desires is subject to the cruelest and vilest he can come up with. I often wonder what sort of monsters his parents must have been to have created such a freak.

      And you’re right … if Dr. Ford had been the daughter of those blind followers, they would be incensed. Can we hope that someday he crosses the wrong path?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, I have flipped between him lying so much, he does not know where the truth ends and lies begin, and his treating truth as a commodity, only using it when it is to his benefit. He is in full control of his base that they don’t know he is lying as much as he does. It is a cult. One of your commenters referenced Jim Jones and that is an apt description. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

      • .Hm… i’ll have to think about that a bit. Maybe that’s true for those in charge who are already swimming in money, but I know a lot of people who are Republicans who don’t give a crap about the money. So what is it they really want out of this presidency? I was so struck by your comment about 10 years ago not knowing whether your neighbor was a Democrat or Republican. It startled me to realize how true that was for us, as well. Great observation!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Greed can take many forms — it’s not always just about money. Think of the evangelical Christians’ greed to have a Christian, rather than a secular government, to be able to discriminate freely against LGBT. Or think about the gun owners/NRA greed to not only keep, but expand on 2nd Amendment rights. Or what of the white supremacists greed to make this a “white, Christian nation”. Or the coal miners who don’t want to be forced to learn another trade, but will support anyone who promises (even though an empty promise) to expand the coal industry. Those are all forms of non-monetary greed.

          And thanks … it was rather a jaw-dropping moment for me, too, when I realized that it is only in the last ten years we have come to care so much about a label. Sadly, the reality is that it was largely a response to having the first black president. Sigh. I wish he were back in the Oval Office … I slept a lot better knowing he was at the helm.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I guess that’s true about the greed. I’ve never thought about it that way. And I TOTALLY know what you mean about Obama! Man! I remember being so over the moon when he was elected. I thought this country and taken a huge step forward. How awful it is to be disillusioned…

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, the tides sure have shifted from 2008 when Obama was first elected and we saw so much hope for the future, haven’t they? But, we have a situation that we can only change through our voice and our vote, so we have to keep on fighting. Trump and his minions would like nothing better than for us to become so discouraged that we just sit down and shut up, so we have to deny them that pleasure! Hang in, my friend!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. “Trump is wielding a Jim Jones-level of influence and control over these people, and deprogramming the members of his cult would take more effort than most are willing to commit.” Who will drink, when he offers them the kool-aid?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve never really liked the circus, but this clown gives it an even worse name than ever before. Rather than look like the rodeo clown he looks more like the horses a** and the clowns are trying to, hmmm, I’m suddenly as a complete loss for words here. Just when I think he can’t sink any lower, he proves me wrong yet again!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m with you … I’ve never been a huge fan of the circus, and while clowns never petrified me the way they did some kids, I just never quite trusted them … never quite knew what resided under that makeup. And then along came Stephen King’s IT, and it was nightmare city! But you are right … the clown in the big White House is the scariest of them all! Oh yes … I long ago quit saying that we have ‘hit rock bottom’, for it’s always a false bottom and we can tumble even lower still. Sigh!

      Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know where the bottom is … every time I think we’ve reached one, it turns out to be a false bottom, and just as in a circus, somebody pulls a lever and we go tumbling another thousand feet or so. Each time, there are a few more bruises, a bit more pain, and we ask ourselves … “are we still having fun?” I’m coming back as a wolf in my next life, for I am finding the human race to be tiresome, self-focused, greedy and unnatural. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

          • O’m’gosh! We are sisters. I consider myself part of the wolf clan. The female is the leader of the pack, always in control (although I’m not I would love to be), true to her pack for life and dedicated to them for life, close to the land and nature! I have stacks of pictures of wolves and two of them will soon adorn bags I’m making. Oh yeah! I’m almost there now — just have to figure out how to howl convincingly! 🤣😇

            Liked by 1 person

            • WOW!!! I’ve always loved wolves, and I have (had — she’s a Trumpeter) a friend out west who raises wolves and offered to give me a wolf cub. But, with a houseful of kitties, we didn’t think it would be such a great idea. My bedroom wall is covered with dream catchers with wolves on them! I’ll send you a picture later this week. Animals are so much simpler than humans … they don’t kill simply because they don’t like the colour of another’s fur, and they don’t have divisive things such as religion or politics. And I’ve got the howling part down pat … it was perfected at about 2:00 a.m. on the morning of November 9, 2016! 🐺

              Liked by 1 person


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                • No need to ask, if you think about it. That was the point at which I stopped kidding myself and admitted that there was no way Hillary Clinton could beat Donald Trump in electoral votes. I went to the fridge, found one, lonely beer, drank it in three glugs, then HOWLED! And cried for the rest of the night … well, still crying, actually.

                  There is a purity of spirit to animals, even the lowliest, that is lacking in mankind. I think we traded our spirit for the opposable thumbs thing.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • A few possible exceptions could be the hyena, sloth, opossum, and a couple of others I thought of but forgot before I could get the words out. I suppose they would be the Trumps of the animal world, preying on carrion because they are unwilling to hunt their own (or in human case, buying the votes). Oh, geez, I have a headache to nurse! Later, okay?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Ahhhh … but they, too, have their purpose in the Circle of Life … awww heck … now I’ve got another earworm. You likely deserve the headache for making me get another earworm when I just now got rid of the last one — Tiny Dancer! Seriously, though, take some aspirin and get some rest … the hyenas and sloths will keep until tomorrow. Hugs!!!


  6. Charles M. Blow’s editorials are must reads. When I read this earlier today and then reread it here, I was drawn to one line in particular. “Trump has latched onto them and they onto him in a symbiotic last-ditch shot at survival.” Symbiotic describes it perfectly, a mutualism of endemic proportions. The Boston Globe’s Michael A. Cohen also had a piece titled The House Is On Fire, that I read just before this post. Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Blow almost always writes a good column, and this one said just what I was planning to say, only he says it much better! I went looking for Michael Cohen’s piece, but didn’t find it … was the dateline yesterday?


      • Fortunately, I kept the email and can tell you how to find it. Google Truth and Consequences by Michael A. Cohen. It is a newsletter by Cohen of The Boston Globe, that you can sign up for from there. The date is listed as Oct.4, 2018. I hope that you are successful, as it is something that will be of interest to you. Cohen puts into words my thoughts, but far more eloquently than I could ever manage. Thank-you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Ellen!!! I will check it out as soon as I finish responding to comments … I got behind today/this evening, because I had to go to the grocery after about 6 hours of house chores! Sigh. It never ends … 6 kitties make it hard to keep a house clean. Thanks again … I’ll let you know tomorrow!


          • I am astounded by all that you accomplish and still manage to take care of 6 cats. Between brushing furry coats, twice/day scooping of two litter boxes, feeding and cleaning up the occasional fur ball for two cats…I often less than bless the questionable good intentions of my offspring. Why two, one might ask…because they thought one would be lonely. I have noted that two of my children have but one each and the other none! Nevertheless, I await an update on your Google search. Thank-you!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hah! You treat your moggies better than we do ours, for ours only get brushed once a week, on Friday, and then only if they wait their turn and play nice! We have 3 boxes that are scooped four times daily. They get dry kibble in the morning, wet food in the evening. And all the love, pets and attention they could possibly want. We were up to ten for a while, but sadly the population is aging and dying off. Princess Nala will likely be the next to go, for she has inoperable tumours. All of ours are rescue kitties and have a host of physical and psychological problems, so there is never a dull moment! But they are not pets … they are family and are treated as such. And yes, an ‘only cat’ is not a healthy situation AS A RULE. There are, however, exceptions, for there are certain cats that are MUCH happier in a single-kitty household. Our Tiger Lily is a prime example, but she is so dysfunctional that we cannot find a home for her. Sigh.

              I only just signed up for the newsletters from the Globe and will have to let you know about the article tomorrow, for I am running well behind tonight and hoping to get to bed by 5:00 a.m. Will I EVER catch up??? I took my Kavanaugh angst out on my pantry today and threw out at least a ton of outdated cereal, crackers, canned food, powdered sugar, yeast, etc! Poor Miss Goose had to carry out all the trash! 😉


  7. Oh God, so true. And we should be not only appalled but very frightened by this mania. Again I ask, have you seen or read Stephen King’s The Stand? Take away the drama of a real live demon and recognize the metaphor. Smae scenario.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Even far-right republicans, I thought, surely couldn’t approve of this b.s. by Trump, but it appeared that they did.

    You are cheering your football team. They commit a foul, but the umpires miss it. So you cheer, because it leads them toward victory.

    This is what it has become. A football match between two tribes. Morality doesn’t matter, because winning is the only thing.

    I’m afraid that’s what it has become.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I hope that when the boot is on the other foot and the Democrats have the majority in both houses they just ignore Trump until it’s time for him to go. No more sycophants no more adoring crowds, just the business of Government and putting things right.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thanks for sharing. Yes, it IS a circus. Charles Blow makes a good point. The rallies are disgusting. It is sad that the media wastes so much energy giving him coverage. Hours, after hours of the same story, in the meantime we hear little of the minors in tent cities, Sealife is washing up on shores in Florida because EPA has been handcuffed. People dying because they have to choose between meds or medical care and housing or fool. I stopped trying to “convert” DJT supporters even before the 2016 elections. I have been working on getting people to believe their vote counts. DJT was given to the masses for entertainment purposes and its working. That’s why conservatives. don’t move to stop him. They may be repulsed by his antics, but they need him to push their horrible policies…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, as Blow says, it really isn’t worth the effort trying to open their eyes, for they will only glue them shut again. One wonders where it ends. I have more than once suggested it could well end with the extinction of the human race, and i still believe it. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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