Today, I found myself reading a fine essay by Emily Temple on Hulu’s television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale. Throughout the read of this otherwise excellent article, my mind kept screaming “Stop making Trump into some sort of all-powerful being!” It makes him appear far more competent than he really is.
Trump is nothing like “He-Who Must-Not-Be-Named,” the Voldemort of Harry Potter fame. Vile as he is, Trump is merely a bumbling bloviating buffoon with the mental capacity of a dryer sheet. Sure, he is a revolting excuse for a human being, but the only power he really has is that which we, the people, decide to give him. It’s almost sad, really, to see how completely inept he is on a daily basis. I’ve known toddlers with more mature comportment.
I do understand some of where Temple is coming from in her distaste to even mention the orange gorilla’s name (no offense to gorillas). I have personally made it a mission of mine never to put the words “president” and “Trump” directly next to each other, either verbally or in writing. It just won’t happen. Not because I fear any supposed power he has as president, but simply because he does not deserve the title.
Trump is a scourge, an oozing pustule on the face of America, and it’s no wonder we all want to look away. He has exposed the dark underbelly of the racism, sexism and xenophobia that has plagued our country since its founding; but although these radical right-wing supporters of his are loud, obnoxious, and completely uncaring of anyone but themselves, they are not the majority of Americans. Nearly 75% of the voting population did not vote for this clown. It is these Americans who will keep the United States from devolving into Gilead, the country of Atwood’s nightmare.
Temple speaks for many of us, however, in saying her greatest fear with the gradually creeping removal of our civil liberties is that “like the women in The Handmaid’s Tale, we will not notice—not fully, not enough—until it is too late. We will go over the edge still thinking we have time.” It’s true, we don’t have time; and it’s particularly frustrating for those of us who are aware of it and who are struggling to wake those who are still asleep to the fact that the house is burning down and we need to get out RIGHT NOW.
But with each day, Trump digs himself in deeper, as do the Republicans and other legislators who seem to believe they will somehow be protected from the rage of the American people when they finally have had enough and decide to depose them all, ejecting them from their high tower like the cruel despots they are.
I highly recommend Temple’s article (and The Handmaid’s Tale). She accurately pinpoints some of the the emotional effects this series can have on its viewers in a time when dystopian fiction all too closely resembles current reality. In its own way, this series is helping people to become aware of the danger of what can happen to a sleeping population if they don’t nip political diseases such as Trump and his ilk in the bud.
However, giving in to fear accomplishes nothing. I, for one, refuse to cower before some moron who can’t manage to put two coherent words together in the same sentence. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are the ones with the power to create the government we want and need. When that 75% of us get out in the street to demand it, we will finally have the country we envision. And it will look nothing like Gilead.