During the days immediately following the election, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the nightly news. If boredom struck, I’d cautiously scan Twitter, squinting as I scrolled, but nothing more. Yet, once Donald Trump began announcing his Cabinet picks, I ultimately realized that most major news outlets were also in some sort of daze. Most anchors made only brief references to each appointee’s disturbing history, completely disregarding their racist, sexist, and xenophobic views in the process.
Now, however, as Trump continues to treat this transition of power as nothing more than some makeshift white, male Miss Universe pageant, it’s clear that these media outlets are eager to normalize this parade of so-called “competitors” and gloss over the potential danger each candidate could pose to our civil liberties. Somehow, they’ve already come to accept that our new “reality” means treating the United States government like some second-rate reality program. Of course, while I’m sure Trump wishes he’d been elected to serve as the new host of America’s Next Top Model instead—more women for his tiny hands to grope!—that’s simply not the case.
But what will it take to get someone (ahem, everyone) to recognize the indisputable threat Trump poses to our country?
Last week President Obama claimed the U.S. government most closely resembles an ocean liner, not the speedboat many Republican lawmakers wish it to be. Unsurprisingly, that metaphor evolved into Titanic comparisons, which are never promising. But that’s when I discovered what might work—pop culture! If people are too dense to recognize the blatant parallels between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, maybe they’ll understand things better if I throw television and movie references into the mix.
For instance, there’s always that one villain on every single season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. You know, that one person who’s not there for the right reasons? That’s Donald Trump! While the man or woman of the hour carries on blindly (a.k.a. Trump supporters and, apparently, the media, too), falling for said villain based on little more than chemistry, the other contestants in the house (a.k.a. people who have learned from the past and don’t wish to repeat it) cannot help but warn the season’s star about the villain’s hidden agenda. Each concerned contestant then proceeds to use his or her alone time with the star to express their worries, risking their own chance for happiness just so they may protect this person from potential heartbreak. (Protesters may be on to something, huh?)
However, no matter how many kindhearted contestants come forward, the star of the show always gives the villain the benefit of the doubt (just as Trump supporters keep telling critics to “give him a chance”). But, like clockwork—almost as if the show were scripted!—the villain ultimately reveals that everyone’s suspicions were valid and that they were fooling the star the entire time. They’re usually two-faced liars who say one thing, but mean another, all in the pursuit of fame. (Hmm, sounds familiar…)
Movie buffs may also note that Trump has this whole Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath vibe happening, too. [SPOILERS AHEAD!] He tries to uphold the ‘respectable man of high society’ façade in the company of his friends and colleagues, but deep down, he longs to silence those who may expose his misdeeds to the public. He’ll stop at nothing to make sure his shady dealings remain private.
But we, the people? Collectively, we’re Michelle Pfeiffer during the bathtub scene. Trump’s unexpected victory left us all immobile, much like the chemical that Ford used to temporarily paralyze Pfeiffer. None of us could speak, stunned silence spreading across the country. We were in shock, motionless, but we could still feel the terror bubbling inside. Like Pfeiffer’s character, however, we have emerged from our paralytic state and are ready to fight. We may stumble as we try to regain our footing, but we will stand together and persevere in an effort to protect the innocent and defend our rights.
Good always triumphs over evil in the end. Each bachelor or bachelorette finds love, even if only until the attention dies down, and Michelle Pfeiffer never fails to solve the mystery of her husband’s missing mistress. But we cannot expect the same fate if we neglect to acknowledge and oppose the elephant in the room. The media must take Trump to task with regard to his policies and his appointees. If he won’t condemn the racism and hatred that continues to spread in his name—and no, an arbitrary “stop it” will not suffice—then we, the people and the media, must do everything in our power to hold these groups accountable. Dozens of red flags signal an impending presidency marred by corruption and disarray.
If only more people would open their eyes to the truth… Maybe then they would’ve recognized the evil on their doorstep before inviting it inside.