Trump is the Wizard of Oz. And, no, I’m not referring to the “Great and Powerful Oz,” the smokey apparition that was firing zingers at Dorothy and Co. (However, on further thought, that model kind of fits too.)
I’m referring, instead, to the other wizard in the story. There is a pivotal moment when Dorothy’s dog, Toto, pulls aside a curtain to expose a less impressive man frantically pushing levers and pulling cords. This man, who we later learn is the “real” wizard, frantically shouts, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” and quickly pulls the curtain closed.
Friends, that is what we are seeing here with Trump.
For two weekends in a row, Trump has been dazzling us with a “Great and Powerful Oz” performance like no other. Last weekend, he was whining about Alec Baldwin’s *biased* portrayal on SNL. This was in tandem with some delicious hurrumphing about the Hamilton cast’s respectful speech to the Vice-President-Elect, Mike Pence, and the audience’s subsequent booing. Trump took to Twitter to petulantly demand an apology from the Hamilton cast. None was given.
Social media blew up over Hamilton and few folks paid attention to the other pots that were boiling over on the stove. We have the Standing Rock protesters being bombarded with rubber bullets and water cannons in sub-freezing conditions. There are the huge fees that will be paid by the American people for having a Secret Service detail at Trump Tower for Melania and Barron Trump. Stephen Bannon, a bigot who ran a white supremacist-sympathetic website, has been nominated as Chief Advisor. The KKK is publicly hailing and acknowledging Trump as their spiritual leader....and there is probably more, but really, it’s all just "GAH!!!!" by this point in the paragraph. Your head should be echoing with the most exasperated “gah” I can utter.
And yet we were all in a kerfuffle over his tweets about Hamilton and SNL.
The same trap was neatly laid for us last weekend. If this were a Choose Your Own Adventure book, we would have gotten to the bottom of page 47 on Friday night and been faced with these choices:
- Please turn to page 121 if you would you like to see the country simmer the fuck down and actually talk about our goals for the next four years.
- OR Please turn to page 129 if you would like to see Jill Stein raise over 5.5 million dollars, in what feels like seven minutes, to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And – bonus! – Trump will also claim that he won the popular vote because “millions voted illegally.” AND you’ll get to see Twitter and Facebook blow up. Again.
Yeah, I know. I would turn to the Jill Stein / Illegal Voters Shitshow on page 129 too. But it all still falls under the “WTF?" umbrella, don’t you think? Jill Stein, from out of nowhere, poked the hell out of the bear and now the country is looking at the rhetorical fat lady and saying, “Don’t you dare sing a note. This nightmare ain’t over.”
But while we’re all watching this circus on social media, Trump is quietly moving his pawns.
There are significant concerns about his business enterprise interfering with his presidential duties. Are these concerns legitimate? I would be less inclined to be skeptical if we had actually seen a tax return or a list of his business holdings. Instead, I’m pondering how he’ll have the country paying rent to him for the Secret Service to rent space in the NYC Trump Tower. Or how he’ll be steering visiting diplomats to his Trump Hotel in DC. And there are sure to be multiple conflicts between his international business interests and foreign policy.
His cabinet selections have been overwhelmingly underwhelming. The latest dabaucle is the selection of Betsy DeVos (R-Amway) for Secretary of Education. Just once...seriously, just once in my life...I would like to see a superintendent of a public elementary school nominated for this position. The public school elementary superintendents are the rock stars of the education world. They are entrusted with the most critical foundational years of our students and they keep delivering.
However, because I am not – yet! – the Queen of the Universe, we instead got DeVos. She has a reputation for union busting in Michigan and she loves charters and private schools. Oh – and she donated 9.5 million to Trump. AND she is not an educator. She’s perfect for rich, elitist *Christian* folks who want to stay in their rich, elitist Christian bubbles, but the rest of us are out in the real world where public dollars fund – or don’t fund – our realities.
I’m thinking that it’s high time that we stop playing into Trump’s sweaty, tiny hands. We need to ignore his juvenile Twitter feed. Instead, we need to keep reading and supporting reliable news sources, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. We need to give the side-eye at the actions of the man behind the curtain, friends.
Put your phone down. Look up. Pay attention.