Many people have struggled to find the right image to express their sadness or growing alarm at the prospect of the forthcoming Donald Trump presidency.
I have found one. For me it’s as if a teenager’s private journal has somehow become president of the United States.
Let me explain. More and more, thanks to Trump’s unfiltered and bullying Twitter account, it’s as if Regina George’s fabled Burn Book from the film Mean Girls had become sentient and somehow won an election.
Recall how in the acclaimed film when the school found out about the Burn Book, teachers and students alike were horrified to see themselves named.
“Trang Pak is a grotsky little byotch. Made out with Coach Carr,” read one entry. “Kaitlyn Caussin is a fat wh-re who no one likes,” read another.
Look familiar? Trump may be 70 and male, but in his heart he’s 16 and a privileged blond haired mean girl for whom being top dog really doesn’t count unless you can rub everyone else’s noses in it.
Look at this: “Arianna Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man -- he made a good decision.”
That’s your next president speaking. Here too: “How much would it take for me to make out with Rosie O'Donnell? One trillion, at least!”
These are not the musings of an adult; they are the unfiltered frothings of a man-child. One who has never needed to develop an adult sense of perspective, responsibility, temper or equilibrium because he owns gold leaf covered hotels, golf links, airplanes and foyers and is followed around by a sycophantic entourage that enables his every whim.
Call it the golden diaper syndrome. It’s something you used to see much more of in the authoritarian states of the oil rich Middle East or in the former Soviet Block. Feared and despised, the unpredictability of these bumptious male leaders was usually the result of their oversized wallets.
When everything you want comes to you effortlessly because you’re a billionaire you can begin to believe it’s actually because you deserve it. God has chosen you. You’re smarter than everyone else. You have the best words.
There was a time when the people who ran this country had the good sense to promote the theory that if you worked hard, played by the rules and kept your nose clean you could rise to the pinnacle of American life. With Trump’s election those days are finally over.
Trump is not telling America or the world those pathetic rags to riches stories. He’s saying it’s far better to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth, that way you can barrel through life like a hog though a ballet.
You can marry and remarry and remarry, you can insult who you like and face no consequence, and in the end you can still wind up sitting in the most important chair in the country, watching your enemies cower in submission.
America’s establishment has never dared to tell us that story so openly before because they are smart and anticipate blowback if not outright revolution.
But this is the most golden of gilded ages, and “yuge” economic disparity is now the fashion.
For the first time ever the one percent think the course toward a neo-feudalism is now so fixed that they can finally “come out” and lord it over us without fear of social upheaval later on.
It’s not an accident that Trump is a real estate developer from New York City. It’s not an accident that his new cabinet is the richest in American history, with more billionaires per square foot. Because Trump is really the poster boy of the end of the American Dream, not its savior.
In 2017 New York is where the richest people on the planet now park their eye-popping fortunes in real estate. It's a new colonialism where the moneyed arrive, buy up the property market at astonishing prices, drive up rents for the hard pressed locals, and are all the while safe in the knowledge that dumping their fortunes in these new properties is often a safer option these days than depositing them in banks.
Trump grew up protected from most of life’s challenges by his father’s fortune. His concerns are not like regular people, they never were and they never will be.
He has never needed to be anything other than a parody of himself. He will be a parody president.
And in their growing desperation the percentage of the country with the most to lose put him in power because he played them like a mean cheerleader.