By Marguerite Jill Dye
“This is not reality TV we’re watching,” a homemade sign from the Women’s March read. “Men of quality do not fear equality,” another sign said. We were duped, though some of us were wary from the start. We’ve been on a fast, bumpy rollercoaster ride since the inauguration. It isn’t the outcome we expected. Many are holding onto the safety rail for dear life, terrified of falling off, while others fear crashing or its total collapse. Some have been escorted off and sent away, while others stand by, cheering and watching, waiting for their own reward. How long before the safety committee comprehends the dangers of its own creation and shuts down this dangerous ride?
“Make America think again.” “Shock, divide, and fatigue,” a friend warned on Facebook. “This is their strategy” to wear down opponents. While the resistance foments and builds, some need a break from the strain. “Overwhelmed” and “under assault” many feel after reacting to the barrage of ignorant faux pas and blatant attacks on our freedom and democracy in the new regime’s first days.
But there’s a method to their madness, and they’re successfully marching toward authoritarian/ totalitarian control.
Creating shock fatigue through reality TV is one of Trump’s specialties, so it wasn’t difficult for him to transfer his strategy from reality TV star to his role as “reality politician.” (A headline in the Financial Times recently read: “Reality TV shock fatigue aids Trump, Rise of genre has inured people to humiliation as entertainment”). With alt- right Steve Bannon by his side in the White House and a Republican majority in the Senate and House, the transformation (disfiguration) of America is well under way. The only question is, will it be an America we can live with? So far the changes have elicited a resounding “No!”
“Make America sane again,” some cry out. But I also wonder if some of our countrymen and women would actually prefer to live in a monarchy, or perhaps an oligarchy? My fear is that the search for the American dream may be launching us toward a dictatorship. That’s what the Trump family portrait in their gilded tower resembles. Who else lives like that? The 1 percent? I doubt it. King Louis XIV in Versailles, or the Russian imperial Romanov Family before the Revolution? Mad King Ludwig? Thanks to (un)reality TV (one business our new president can be credited with boosting), many ordinary Americans, not billionaires, escape their struggles and fulfill their desire for opulence and luxuries in life by beholding people like the Trumps, the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, and billionaire house hunters and home visits on TV. Let’s face it America. Our only “royalty” is the “countess” on the “Real Housewives of New York.”
On such “reality” television shows many unrealistic expectations of life are born. If such shows have duped the American people, can you imagine the image of life in America that it’s given people around the globe?
“Make America caring again.” “No one is free when some are oppressed.” “Support the least, last, lonely, and lost.” “Unite families, don’t separate us!” more signs remind us.
Instead of press shots with fake props and an orbit of irrelevant ado and attention to keep us distracted (from outrageous orders being signed and sealed at lightning speed), perhaps it would serve our new leader well to put aside his perilous tweets and address the real needs of our nation, ungilded, unadorned, without pretense and insatiable need for attention. He could focus on jobs instead of lifting regulations to allow coal mine contamination to be dumped in America’s streams, selling off our National Park land, and dropping sanctions against Russia that sacrifices the Ukraine in order to steal its oil and pocket the profits. Trump and his cohorts banned Muslims from entering the U.S. from countries from which none of our terrorists have hailed (protecting their own business and oil interests in cradles of terrorism such as Saudi Arabia). They banned Syrian refugees who’ve been vetted for two years before being approved to come to Vermont. Fortunately our judicial system is functioning to uphold our Constitution by examining the administration’s “intent.”
“Our lives begin to end when we’re silent about things that matter.” “Silence is consent.” “I march for those without a voice.” Citizens cry out.
The list of disastrous orders is already immense and our rights are being signed away. Since sanity and justice are too much to expect, the American people will not sit idly by and leave our future is in his hands. We’ll roll up our sleeves and take a stand through Indivisible.com, the ACLU, Sierra Club, NAACP, U.N. Refugee Agency and other efforts to save our country from an alternative American reality.
On a positive note, I am reminded that people saying “no” to the negative are affirming the positive good. Their energy is growing in unison to bring about change on earth. I will take part in the change and do what I can to help usher the new day in. I hope you will join me.
Marguerite Jill Dye, author and artist, believes in the U.S. Constitution and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and that everyone has an innate divine spark and deserves to be treated with justice, kindness, compassion, and respect. She lives in Vermont and Florida with her husband.
Photo by Marguerite Jill Dye
“Partyocracy,” cut-paper assemblage