Most Saturday mornings, I take an early stroll over to the corner convenience store for a donut and a pack of smokes and today was no exception. It’s exhilarating to experience the last remnants of the cool air of morning before it dissolves into the brutal heat of midday and my casual measured steps lend a meditative quality to this short neighborhood jaunt.
A few days ago, I received in the mail my token gift from MoveOn.org to thank me for a donation I barely recall making. It’s a black T-shirt emblazoned with the following message in bright red letters: IMPEACH TRUMP.
As I approached the entrance to the Giant, a man that looked to be in his 50s wearing a wide-brimmed cowboy hat and a gargantuan belt buckle with the image of an eagle draped in a flag was exiting the store. Catching sight of me in his periphery, he started to hold the door open until his line of vision squared with me and he noticed the shirt I was wearing. (Impressively, I didn’t even see his lips moving as he read the message draped across my chest). At that instant, in an intentionally over-dramatic gesture, he let go of the door and let it slam shut just as I was about to pass through. For a long moment, he stared daggers at me in an obvious attempt to intimidate, not realizing that what he was actually doing was affirming the efficacy of my pointed attire. I went into the store and he huffed back to his NRA bumper stickered pick-up truck.
Like most remaining Trump supporters, this guy was more of a caricature than a man. Trumpism seems inextricably tied to a kind of buffoonish masculinity, whether that insecure image is expressed in flat-out Nazi imagery or adornments culled from the trash heap of the American myth of rugged individuality and unquestioning patriotism.
But let me get back to specifics. Here in New Mexico, most of our self-styled Captain Americas come in the cowboy hat variety. Grown men who work in accounting firms or insurance offices dressing like they’re about to mount a stag and rustle a herd of cattle across the plains. To be fair, I remember a time when I also enjoyed donning the accoutrements of an actor in a Spaghetti Western. I also believed that there were monsters living in my bedroom closet because I was five years old. After a year of kindergarten responsibility, I ditched the cowboy hat and the cap gun as the symbols of toddlerhood that they were.
So, listen, Tex: you have as much right to be offended by the message on my T-shirt as I do to wear it. But despite what you think, you are incapable of being intimidating. You are a clown. A middle-aged man in a child’s Halloween costume. Your very appearance says all I need to know about people who desire to live under an intolerant, authoritarian dick slap. As is the norm for the rest of us when dealing with petulant toddlers, we’ll indulge your silliness for a while but sooner or later, we’ll need to put you down for a nap. Hopefully, while you’re off sawing wood in Fairy Land, you’ll have a dream of becoming a grown up. You can make that dream a reality, Sport. I know you can.