Watching the aftermath of the recent shooting at Parkland High School in Florida unfurl itself in the way these shootings do, I noticed a very different kind of anger stir inside me. I normally find it hard to connect with events such as these, given that I live in a country which reserves its guns for good ol’ posh boys who like shooting birdies, and police or military personnel. Usually these shootings will temporarily amplify the constant drone of pity and disdain I feel for America anyway, and then pass over me like an annoying rain cloud that I know will one day return and have me dripping with its stinky, stinky rain. But no, there was something different about Parkland and its place in the endless ream of disasters that continue to plague the people of America that spoke of a wider problem in the social status-quo.
Initially I thought this feeling might have come from one of two videos I had seen online in response to the shooting: The first being the phenomenally inspiring speech delivered by Parkland’s very own Emma Gonzalez at a gun control rally, and the second being Jimmy Kimmel’s desperately heartfelt and touching appeal to Americans to take action to urge their local politicians to “DO SOMETHING”, encouraging viewers to find out more on gun control website, everytown.org. Then I was reminded of Obama’s virtuously tearful reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting which claimed the lives of 28 of his countrymen, and how in fact all three videos had spoken to a similar part of me. It of course then struck me that the bleary eyed man speaking to his nation from The White House, was no longer in The White House and that in his place now stands a monstrous wotsit haired burke. This substitution has struck fear into the hearts of anyone the sunny side of sane since the very possibility of it was even joked about all those years ago, and has acted as a bitter side dish to each news story we have been served by our dysfunctional American cousins ever since. Yet never had it outlined a wider danger to me so clearly as it did after discovering Donald Trump’s reaction to the second major shooting of his presidency at Parkland.
This danger can most easily be located when inspecting the President’s twitter cover photo, which shows him in The Broward County Sheriff’s Office (Parkland’s local sheriff’s office), smiling, thumbs up and look straight at the camera, basically mouthing “watch me do nothing!”. Trump could never make his cover photo anything other than such an image, given the success he has had in pursuing his self-aware brand of controversy, deniability and recklessness. How has this man become the most powerful man in the world? Asides from the few genuinely desperate people who had their personal interests at heart in voting him for president, and the lack of a sufficiently component opposition in and out of the American political sphere, Trump has taken advantage of a very new and very real opening in people’s collective thinking, and he’s not the only one.
Although it was obvious that having a sex offender with plans of building a gargantuan wall on the southern border of the third biggest country in the world was going to be a disaster to those of us who don’t nail six packs of Coors light whilst cooking roadkill over a naked flame with the dream of one day starting a family with a second cousin, it is important to consider why this man and his brand was so appealing to nearly 63,000,000 people. The breath of fresh air that his whinging discordant voice represents is not one of hate to these millions, but one of honesty and therefor an implied sense of control and transparency. It tempted people into instilling their faith in a man who, although has his flaws (don’t we all?), is proud of who he is, and must be more qualified to handle affairs than the suspiciously boring and dishonest politicians of old, speaking to the anxious part of them that wishes they could be proud of who they were too.
In the same way that the gun control crisis in America seems to be one that is just waited out until it is eventually stopped, we must simply wait for Trump to go. In the meantime however, it is important that the self-awareness brand is recognised as a dangerous weapon in the greasy pole climber’s arsenal, and removed from the arena of serious discussion. Fellow Briton and champion of the self-awareness brand Piers Morgan exhibited a characteristically impressive pole waxing performance in obtaining an interview with the president in Davos, Switzerland. The interview offered Trump the only opportunity to have a platform with the people of Britain, yet due to Morgan’s willingness to submit to the idea of allowing the president to continue his personality theatrics, including apologising for his Britain First tweet, was distinctly uninteresting. Piers Morgan is the only person from this country, asides from the other self aware fool who has landed us in Brexit, who is willingly associating Britain with Trump, and he needs to stop it. It is Piersy’s ambassadorial duty as a journalist and a celebrity to hold this monster to account and do his job, as much as it is Donald Trump’s duty to stop the gun control catastrophe in his country, yet because these powerful, money grabbing white men have been telling the world all along that they are not to be trusted and therefore cannot be to blame for anything in their wake, will leave the mess they have allowed to happen looking like they had prophesied it and tried to warn us.
Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve has clearly become the fashion, but the prospect of it becoming a dress code chills me to the bone. It is of paramount importance that no matter how amusing or exciting these figures in our lives might seem to be, we take caution in allowing them to spread their influence across our lives, adding another layer of dishonesty behind a veil of humour and tongue and cheeky chit chat. Because although the self-awareness crisis may only be a temporary tax we pay for living in an ever progressing world of tolerance and acceptance, those who are successful in exploiting it will leave those who helped them along the way with their fingers covered in Dorito dust, feeling very silly indeed.
(Check out Piers Morgan's harrowing weigh in on the recent lady Doritos scandal... What a grimmer- Shout out to the TC crew).