In the new Orwellian world of fake news, trolls, bots and cracker barrel statements dressed up as political news it’s become impossible to decipher who stands for what. Double think is standard fare. We have entered a world of magical thinking.
Trump’s election served one important purpose. The American political process no longer functions under the old rules of cause and effect. The two central issues for Americans were inequality of income (the 1 %) and despair with both the Democrat and the Republican desire to do anything differently.
The solution should have been simple enough. There was a candidate, an Independent Senator from Vermont and whose life-long issue has been inequality of income and was not directly aligned with either party. He spoke well, had credibility and millions of people and millions of dollars backing him.
So who was elected? A billionaire called Trump who was aligned with the most extreme wing of one of the discredited parties who thought the solution was walls around the nation and less oppressive taxes for the rich. How could that happen? Doesn’t make sense, right? The Senator from Vermont who incarnated the central issues of the electorate should have won in a cake walk, but Bernie Sanders didn’t even get to the starting gate. How could that have happened?
Karl Marx, the philosopher, not Karl Marx the Communist would say ‘false consciousness’. Since, no one has used that term since the end of the fall of the Berlin Wall, let’s give a definition: ‘It’s a way of thinking that prevents people from seeing the true nature of their social and economic situation’.
Let’s also assume in the era of “I am going to deal with ISIS” reported as political certainties that this general definition is way too vague. Let’s reduce false consciousness to its Trump essentials, the bum crack. The cult of authenticity i.e. the bum crack now rules the United States and maybe the world.
The bum crack is an easily understandable physical statement made by Michael Moore and others which proves the exposed bum doesn’t belong to any elite. This cult of authenticity has replaced arguments for graduated income tax, electoral reform, health care etc. which Mr. Trump ignored as useful to discuss. You may be poor. You may have lost teeth because you can’t afford a dentist. You may have no way of dealing with old age except having a massive coronary at sixty, but if you are authentic, you are a real force.
At the end of the day, the folks who run Walmart, drill for oil, build pipelines and cars, trade derivatives, stand for election etc. have to bend down before the cult of authenticity because you are the one who buys the cars, the crappy derivative mortgages, patronize Walmart and votes in politicians. The one percent was desperate for a representative who didn’t look or most importantly sound like one of their own.
Wearing a 3,000 dollar suit and his hair done by a private dresser, either through natural affinity or clever manipulation Mr. Trump instinctively understood the power of the bum crack. His many supporters repeated over and over again: Their guy was authentic, a real guy. Racism, misogyny, bailing on his own taxes, his desire to jail opponents and dismiss unfavorable election results were all a distant second to being the real McCoy i.e. authentic.
Good suit or not, Mr. Trump sounded like his bum crack was showing.
Hilary Clinton sounded like what she was – an upper class American woman with a life time of practicing grace under pressure. It was difficult to imagine her even uttering the word bum crack and Mr. Trump sashayed into the White House trailing the magical thinking of ’heads I win, tails you lose’ under the banner of locker room talk and authenticity. What he will actually do remains a mystery, perhaps even to himself but false consciousness doesn’t normally lead anywhere good.