Some people have moved on from all the post-election hype and drama, so good for them. Not me. I wake up every morning thinking “Now what?” And that’s exactly how reality shows hook us.
American politics is always some sort of a show…comic, tragic, reality, melodrama, sport…you name it. But the stunning revelation that Donald Trump is on board as president-elect has no doubt upped the ratings of folks tuning in to political news. Trump knows this. With assistance from his transition team, he is the most tweeting executive producer of any production, and his 16 million followers love him for it.
Those hooked on this show are, of course, in two camps: Trump supporters and then those of us who think maybe there’s a possibility he will choke to death on a Kentucky Fried Chicken wing bone and that will be that. Meanwhile, those of us hooked for one reason or another wake up each day knowing it ain’t gonna be a dull news day.
Every successful reality show has crafted conflicts that keep viewers tuned in, waiting to learn what’s next. This one is no exception.
The CIA’s Conspiracy Theory
We watch and read news items about Trump suggesting that CIA claims concerning Russia’s influence in the outcome of the election is a “conspiracy theory.” Media outlets pick up on this and warn that even before taking office Trump is at odds with the CIA, and that will make for potentially ugly internal relations during his tenure as president. Those of us hooked on the drama sip wine with friends and wonder, “Gee…might that mean a coup by the CIA…or will Trump fire everyone and start over with his own version of the KGB?”
Climate Change? What Climate Change?
I know…I know. How can so many people deny the reality… deny what noted scientists worldwide have proven? Yet Trump claims, “Nobody really knows” if climate change is real. Likely many of his followers nod in assured agreement while the rest of us bang our heads against the wall wailing, “Look at the polar bears’ habitat, for Pete’s sake! Look at the rapidly shrinking glaciers! Look at the rising sea levels! Doesn’t matter. One camp digs in firmly that the Earth is naturally going through warm and cold spells as it has done for eons, and that’s God’s plan. Period. The other camp is busying organizing and fundraising so it can be ready to sue the federal government. Those of us hooked on the drama sip vodka cocktails or moonshine (take your pick) and debate whether buying property along the coast is a wise decision, how long it will take for New York to be under water, and if moving to Fargo is feasible because, after all, it will be getting warmer up there.
Nanny Kellyanne Conway
Every reality show needs someone to stir things up a bit. You know, someone who can spin untruths into maybes and truths into why-do-you-care missives. Kellyanne can do all that, good nanny that she is, and I’m sure Trump appreciates her spin skills. For those of us tuned in, we now have sort of a subplot to explore as we watch her continually smile as she crafts dodges in response to interview questions. Those of us hooked on the drama dip Doritos in salsa and muse as we munch. “How does one train to be such a spinner? Do you think she became an expert at skewing opinions back in first grade? She must live with a constant “busy mind” and probably lacks REM sleep. Remember when she referred to Donald as a ‘ridiculous man-baby?’ Gotta love her for that zinger. Spot on!”
Ruffling China’s Dragon Scales
As if assumed ties to Russia weren’t enough, why not enhance the narrative drama with an additional plot line from afar? China, for example. It’s all played out quite interestingly after Trump’s phone call to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Today’s headlines tell us that “China Expresses ‘Serious Concerns.’” Whether right or wrong, years of an established diplomatic protocol ruffled dragon scales big time with one phone call. And it’s not as if this phone call was like some impulsive Trumpian 3 a.m. tweet. We’re being told it was planned months ago. Oh, the suspense! Those of us hooked on the drama dig spoons into Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream and ponder some important questions. “Just how ticked off is China…really? I mean, what are they going to do? Set us up for World War III? I doubt it. That’s Putin’s job. Just the same, how’s the housing market in Greenland? Surely English is their second language, right? Maybe the upper Canadian territories would be a better bet. Must love snow to live there. Hmmm. Easter Island?”
Every day it’s something. CIA antics…climate debates…spin master headlines…wounded international egos…and these are just a few of the narratives that keep this reality show throttling full steam ahead. There are conflicts with the media, complexities of trade deals, efforts to keep jobs at home, but maybe building that wall is going to keep a lot of people employed for a while…I don’t know. And let’s not forget issues with women, Muslims, Mexicans, gays and those of various gender identities, issues with environmentalists, Black Lives Matter and with any female over 120 pounds. This reality show has enough characters, subplots, back stories and narrative twists to make millions and billions for the Trump Empire. And it will.
Those of us who wake up each morning asking “Now what?” can’t help but wonder if the show will run the full four seasons.