Trump Represents All That’s Flawed with America…but There’s Hope For Change

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This originally appeared in a slightly different form in my Broke-Ass City column for the San Francisco Examiner. 

Well, it’s been three years. Three whole years since the Divided States of America inaugurated the sorriest excuse for a human many of us have ever witnessed.

We live in a world where we’re taught that honesty, generosity, kindness, integrity and consideration for your neighbor are values that we cherish — even though avarice, dishonesty, duplicity and narcissism are the things our society rewards. Somehow, our incredibly complex brains are able to, if not make sense of this, allow us to live within this most ultimate of hypocrisies.

We’re used to folks ignoring the social contract in order to enrich themselves. Often, those of us who secretly or not-so-secretly value profit over people cheer these scoundrels on. If you need an example, just look at Uber and the way people have excused their deplorable corporate practices and ethos as “disruption,” simply because it’s made them rich or their lives easier.

But Donnie — tiny, black-hearted Donnie — takes this to a level previously unheard of in the public sphere, and he does so proudly. It’s not that he ignores the social contract; he gladly wipes his ass with it and then attempts to con us into eating it.

Instead of being charitable, he funnels money for kids with cancer into his businesses.

Rather than be kind, he belittles people who disagree with or challenge him.

Instead of caring about his neighbors he goes to war with the EPA, proposes tax measures that mostly benefit billionaires and defrauds people who come to him to learn to better themselves.

The list of cruelties, meanness and hateful actions goes on and on, but the most searing part is that, when given the opportunity to apologize or admit error, Donnie shrugs and blames the accuser or throws a tantrum on Twitter.

Simply based on what we, as a society, have agreed upon constitutes a good person, Donald Trump is the most wretched, insidious, loathsome human we’ve ever put into power who hasn’t officially endorsed slavery or genocide.

But a reckoning is upon him, and a comeuppance is wreaking its way through so many of the repulsive ideals for which he stands.

On Election Day 2018, we saw: a transgender woman defeat the man who wrote an anti-transgender bathroom bill; a black woman elected mayor of Charlotte, N.C., for the first time; a Sikh man elected mayor of Hoboken, N.J., days after flyers called him a terrorist; and a score of other historic wins for minority and LGBTQ candidates. We even saw a gun-control advocate beat an NRA-backed opponent in the South.

The Mid-Term Elections were an ass-whooping on the despicable values that Donnie and his homophobic, racist and hateful supporters hold dear. And this is just the beginning.

Donnie’s ascension was white supremacy’s last rally before being snuffed out. From white power marches in the streets to federal attacks on women’s health to the labeling of Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group, white supremacists are fighting back with everything they have because they knows they’re endangered. But they are still losing, and the election results from the Mid-Terms only prove this.

The last three years have been exhausting and angering, but goddamn if it hasn’t been inspiring. It’s triggered the greatest wave of activism in 40 years and is helping create some the finest, well-rounded and insightful leaders this country has ever seen. But getting queer people, minorities and gun-control advocates into positions of power won’t fix everything over night. We still have to pull apart the systemic institutions that both stem from and maintain white supremacy — the prison-industrial complex, privatized health care, defunded public education and more.

That will take time, but electing people who’ve been mistreated by these systems — instead of ones who’ve benefited from them — is a huge part of the work.

Trump and the values that he and his supporters hold dear are, by definition of our moral code, what’s wrong with the world. But they won’t hold the power for much longer. And maybe for the first time in the history of this country, those of us who cherish kindness, generosity and community soon will.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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