Fuck you, Donald. Fuck you for all the obvious things, all the important things that people better placed than me will rightly attack and reject you for. For the racism that sways between “barely concealed” and “not even concealed”, for offering false narratives to people who are scared, for trying to turn democracy from the greatest arena of self-determination ever invented into a fascistic circus of stupid. Fuck you for all those things and a thousand more. Fuck you for having the egomaniacal audacity to lie to the world, incite violence, attack the vulnerable and to show only pride in having done so.
But most of all, and I mean this – more than anything, more than all of that stuff: Fuck you for hiding behind the slogan “Make America Great Again”. Forget the falsehood of the logical conclusion, that you, despite your apparent complete ignorance of the world, could somehow make that happen. Let’s look at the very premise of those four words. “Make American Great Again”. Fuck you, Donald. Fuck you and the assumption you have to make to get to that point. Stop standing in front of the world and proclaiming that America isn’t great. America’s already great. America’s fucking amazing.
It’s the greatest country on earth and it achieves such an accolade precisely because it’s built on the very values you seek to destroy. It’s the country of Jefferson and Madison and it’s built on the great and radical ideas of the enlightenment that seek to empower ordinary people in a way your divisive rhetoric works contrary to. To those of us not fortunate to be born inside its borders, it represents something huge. Ideals, too often unrealised but always front and centre in stated aims, of equality, or togetherness, of the simple but powerful concept of what can be achieved when diverse people come together under the principle that each of them are at liberty to strive to achieve whatever successes they are capable of and that none should do harm to the other. Those ideals mean something not just to Americans but to the world and to history.
America is the country of incredible, timeless creativity and culture. There’s a reason why so many opponents of globalisation bemoaned the cultural homogenisation that accompanied the interlinking of global economies as “Americanisation”. The cause wasn’t some sinister plot for cultural hegemony as some claimed, it was simply that America produces some of the finest cultural reference points ever created. It’s the country of Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese. It’s Google and it’s Marilyn Monroe and it’s Skateboarding and Nirvana and Vince Lombardi.
When a little girl confessed to her mother that she was scared that they would have to leave their home because they were Muslim and the mother took to social media in shock, thousands of people sent messages of support, including a large number of active service men and women who understood the nature and value of the principles they defend when they reassured that little girl that it was their job to protect all Americans, regardless of the colour of their skin or the God they worshipped. That’s America. And when tragedy strikes, whether in the form of a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or anything else that knocks people down the strength of the American culture comes shining through to pick them back up again. For all your fierce individualism it’s clear for the rest of the world to see that you guys come together in a crisis like no one else.
America created a democracy that’s the envy of other democracies throughout the world. It’s a country where every American gets told as a kid that if they’re smart enough, work hard and maybe get a little bit of luck along the way, they could be President. And with that remarkable American lack of cynicism, every adult believes it when they say it. Of course, that democracy isn’t flawless and meritocratic. One need seek no better evidence of this than the fact it allows backwards billionaire ass clowns like Trump to succeed. It’s as flawed as it has to be given the challenge to create a truly inclusive, efficient and participatory model of democracy but it’s still the reason people are waking up in every repressive authoritarian country on earth and wishing they had access to such a system. It’s the reason many risk their lives for a chance of getting it.
And America, please don’t take my adoration as criticism free. You’re not perfect. You may have been born of the values of enlightenment but that modern world view doesn’t excuse the genocide you were created from, the slavery you still refuse to fully confront or the arrogance that accompanied your incredible achievements. The resentment you feel from some parts of the world isn’t always deserved, but sometimes it is. Being the greatest country on earth isn’t that good an accolade. Most of the countries on earth are pretty terrible and being based around marginally better principles and outcomes really isn’t the medal of honour you sometimes make it out to be. There are countless people on this earth whose lives have been ruined by American actions. People killed, families destroyed, entire countries set back decades and it is right that the appropriate level of criticism and condemnation is offered for that. More than that, it is in the best traditions of American thinking to insist upon such analysis. But there are far more people whose lives are improved, enriched and transformed every single day by American actions at every level and it is important to keep that contrast in mind.
There’s nothing wrong with confronting the institutional racism, gender disparity and skewed patriotism of American exceptionalism, in fact the very reason you get to claim that top title is that it’s inbuilt into your history and national DNA to confront that. To get better. But Trump isn’t up on that stage shouting “Make America Better”, are you, you tumbleweed-haired human hate-cannon? No, you’re preaching division and isolationism, selling a vision of return to a time when America was distinctly worse than it is now and labelling it “Make America Great Again”. I really can’t say fuck you enough to that. Fuck you Donald.
And that’s the reason you’ll lose if you manage to showman and strawman your way to the nomination. That’s the reason I’m confident there won’t be a President Trump. Not because opinion poll after opinion poll shows that you’ll be unable to break the very real ceiling on your support. Not because you’ll struggle to win the votes of independents, African Americans and women after your horrific public statements during the primaries. Not even that I suspect a good chunk of the Republican establishment will abandon you the second you drag yourself past the 1237 delegates you need and concentrate their efforts on 2020. The reason you won’t win is that America is better than that. It’s everything I’ve described and more and by appealing to the worse instincts of its people you’ll guarantee failure because, inevitably, people will understand that your campaign is fundamentally un-American. We can see that from oceans and continents away so I remain convinced that no matter how much you shout and lie, the American people will understand the great history of the office to which you are seeking election. To say that you will never deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy goes without saying. To add that you’ll equally never deserve to share space with Buchanan, Nixon or George W. Bush is just as true.
But in the meantime I fear the consequences and the damage you’re doing. Damage to your party (admittedly not a party I feel the closest affinity to ideologically but at least one that most people could respect before you clowned your war through its institutional core), damage to the notion of treating political discourse with the respect it deserves and, yes, damage to the greatest country on earth. By promoting division and mainstreaming the language of ignorance and prejudice you weaken the very traditions and institutions that mean America doesn’t need to be made great again. And that’s the real problem. That’s the real fuck you, Donald. For all its myriad problems America is still a beacon for justice and inclusion in a world that seems increasingly fractured and tense. America didn’t need to be made great again but I’m worried that by the time you’re done with it, it will.