Noun | trag-e-dy | \’ tra-je-dé
I’m just a guy with a blog, I don’t go around referring to myself as a Blogger. And usually I’m more concerned with exploring the mechanics of creative writing than political commentary. But I keep coming back to these thoughts, and by the way I’m not claiming this is “news” or even “fake news,” which I thought was The Onion but maybe I’m wrong. Furthermore, no massacre, real or fictitious, occurred during the writing of this piece. You may carry on if you wish.
In the Trump camp, it seems like there’s this ego-fueled attitude that they can do and say whatever and it won’t matter. Like the “alternative facts” spate, having public beef with a department store (??), Sean Spicer’s ranting to the press about the press, or Kellyanne Conway’s transmissions from another galaxy. Of course, it’s coming down from Trump himself. He has set the tone for the team, as evidenced by, oh, his whole life before deciding to be a politician, and even then, a sizeable portion of his political life as well. He said himself that he could stand in Times Sq. and shoot someone, an act most reasonable people would find objectionable, but his supporters wouldn’t care.
It must be liberating, in a way, for his cabal. I picture a big sign over the doorway out of the oval office, like the famous Notre Dame football team’s “Play like a champion today” sign, except this one says “Just do whatever!” and everyone touches it ritualistically on their way out into the real world. Hey, if their coach got away with mimicking a disabled man, questioned Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero*, or grabbed them by the – ahem – heartstrings and tugged on them mightily, then they must feel freed up to just be themselves! Yay.
But maybe, just maybe, that same lack of concern for recourse which once served him well in the public sector is now a serious threat to the nature of a democracy. Accountability is needed for a democracy to function. Not to say that the individuals elected to govern will take accountability, or will always comport themselves in a way beholding to their peeps. But on a high level, the structure of a democracy is such that the people choose their representatives, who then have term limits before an open, transparent (hopefully), election. Being able to vote people in and out of office is the recourse of the people, and the reason why accountability is huge. *squints and points with index fingertip and thumb touching* It’s gonna be YOOGE. When a democracy loses this leg of the table, it’s not far off from collapsing into a regime.
From a marketing point of view, this is all on-message for the Trump brand. Do some word association with “Trump” and you’ll probably get ego alongside wealth and possibly success, as the core brand values. So the display of arrogance throughout the administration is not likely to go away anytime soon. Though, you could argue that there is a fundamental shift in how the Trump brand is perceived. According to Allen Adamson, head of marketing firm Brand Simple, what the surname stands for now includes “outspoken, politically incorrect views that target a rural, white, male, audience.” I quoted Mr. Adamson because I couldn’t have said it better.
One gets the sense that this play is destined to be a tragic one, in the classical sense, not just the colloquial way it’s used to mean “real bad.” But as in the story of a person of prominence who falls to disaster because of the very characteristic which made them successful to begin with. Pride becomes hubris eventually, and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches a critical mass. The only question is how many people will he bring down with him?
*To date, the only record of Donald Trump serving was during the Cola Wars.