My earliest memories of Donald Trump are of Darrell Hammond playing him on Saturday Night Live. I never saw a single episode of The Apprentice, but I knew Trump was a sad, empty blowhard before I even knew what his face looked like. I could laugh at Donald Trump back then, but that was different. Back then, I expected him to fade away as fast as Tila Tequila or the Pussycat Dolls. We all did, I think.
You could even argue that it was a little bit funny the first time he ran for the Republican Presidential nomination. Back when we were all sure a man like that, as ignorant as he was egotistical, had no chance of being elected to the position that would keep him within 20 feet of the nuclear “red button” at all times.
Well, it’s not funny anymore. It hasn’t been for a while. Now that Trump is the Republican frontrunner, we have to recognize him for what he is: an unapologetic narcissist, borderline psychopath, with delusions of grandeur so strong that he is impervious to our mockery. The evidence is there. Trump’s racism, sexism, willingness to mock the poor and disabled, and utter lack of respect for anyone other than himself (even those who share his class status and ideology) is pathological. The man lacks empathy entirely. And without empathy, any attention he receives strikes him as good attention.
And there’s no going back. We can’t stop paying attention to Trump when there’s so much at stake, when he still has supporters even after dehumanizing all Mexicans, even after objectifying his own daughter (“if she weren’t my daughter, maybe I’d be dating her”), even after expressing a desire to kick all Muslims out of the country. No matter how much we fact-check him, criticize him, and mock him, he won’t go away, because he doesn’t care what we do. There is no kitten he wouldn’t throw under a bus to get what he wants: power.
I can’t laugh at Donald Trump anymore because I’m afraid. As Americans, I and everyone I know are directly in Trump’s line of fire. We all are.
Enough gallows humor. It’s time to get serious and make an honest effort to do something about the mess we’re in.