I am backstage at Largo. I will be onstage in a couple of hours, the second night in a run of eight shows here.
On my way to the venue, I listened to the president-elect make his “thank you” speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The crowd-pleasing mountain of opaque promises drew massive applause. As I listened, I made a list of things he said would happen and tried to make the numbers work. He said that branches of the military will be getting new equipment, because apparently the military is “depleted.”
This was what he said about all the new gear: “[W]e’re gonna to have the finest equipment in the world. It’s gonna be new, it’s gonna be modern, it’s gonna be clean, it’s gonna be the best. That’s what we’re gonna have.” What else are we going to have? A president who says “gonna.”
With an increase of spending for an overhauled military, tax cuts for those who have a lot of money already and a promise to rebuild America’s infrastructure, I wonder if Trump is cheerleading from the land of magical thinking.
The PEOTUS fed red, white and blue meat to the rabid faithful: “We love our flag, right? We love our flag and we don’t like it when we see people ripping up our flag and burning our flag. We don’t like it, and we’ll see what we’re gonna do about that, OK?” Meanwhile, as I was transcribing this off of the internet, the feed on the right side of the screen was filling with posts: “kick all the monkey negroes,” “fuck Hillary,” “THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN, without negroes.”
Those who tout the “not my president” line need to wake up. This is your soon-to-be-president, and this is your country.
I have been thinking a lot about the line that has been said millions of times now, “Make America great again.” Several months ago, when I first heard it, it occurred to me that the better statement would have been “Make America great,” allowing everyone to pitch in. Making it great again implies that someone took the greatness, making Trump’s campaign slogan accusatory, something that could be aimed and fired, something that could be used to cut and slash.
Finding someone to blame would be no problem. You start with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, and go from there to the media (biased), the voting system (rigged, with millions of illegal people voting for Clinton), to almost anyone or anything else, and it’s fine.
Of Trump’s baby-man Twitter fails, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated on 60 Minutes, “Who cares what he tweeted, you know, on some Thursday night, if we fix this country’s big problems?” Cool! So, what the president says doesn’t matter, and by that am I to infer that I don’t have to care about what Ryan says, either? Noted.
The controlling elite of white America was perhaps at its most free and unfettered in the times of slavery. The land, people and livestock they purchased and owned were theirs, fair and square. After 1865, things got tricky and far more compromised when equality started to intrude upon this otherwise brutal utopia, where everyone knew their place.
From then to now, businesses big and small have been at odds with the American worker. If a corporation can’t make a slave out of you here, it simply goes somewhere else. It is a form of slavery, far enough away from America’s shores to hide the stench, that makes many of the products that fill shopping malls and grocery stores.
I wonder if this is what the president-elect is talking about when he promises this return to greatness. It sounds as if you have to be either wealthy or in the military to get any benefits from his unplanned plans. What will happen to millions of other Americans? We’ll all just have to bide our time to find out.
Listening to Trump
I think the prez-to-be has figured out that he doesn’t want to, nor can he be, all that presidential, so he is doing what millions of us do every day — he’s being himself. Instead of reading security briefings and taking crash courses in U.S. Government 101, he’s making speeches that are not unlike his campaign blather, full of yuge promises and not a single bit of hard information as to how he’s going to get ’er done.
All of his campaign rhetoric was at times funny, when it wasn’t pathetic, badly aimed and poorly executed. Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him was good to the point of being depressing, but all that’s behind us now and everything is turning very serious, very quickly.
Listening to Trump earlier, it was painfully obvious that he hasn’t any idea of what he’s doing and is hiding in the adulation of those devoted enough to stuff themselves into some arena to witness his massive majesty. You can call it what you want, but it’s denial.
With the sheer tonnage of crap that fairly flies out of this man’s mouth as if it’s trying to escape, there is no way Trump will get anyone who didn’t like him previously to change their minds. A speech like this one in Fayetteville makes that completely impossible. Those who side with him will no doubt stand their ground and dig themselves in deeper. They have come too far to turn back now.
I am not all that surprised that Trump won the election and even less surprised that Clinton won the popular vote by so many. What may be the least surprising is how bad things could very well get.
More from the mind of Henry Rollins:
White America Couldn't Handle What Black America Deals With Every Day
Bowie's Blackstar Is on the Level of Low and Heroes
No Matter Who Wins, America Is Only Going to Get Angrier