By Colin Albro
There are all kinds of monsters in the world and not all of them are supernatural. From school-aged bullies, the boss who unapologetically steals credit for all your hard work, to the voice inside your head that says “Go ahead. Eat another mozzarella stick…”. The world has no shortage of things that go bump in the night and there are currently two pop-culture icons that scare the hell out of me and keep me up at night: the tulip-faced monster from the wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things and Donald Trump.
This got me thinking and I stumbled upon the awkward and potentially poorly substantiated claim that Donald Trump is the tulip-faced monster of the 2016 election.
The similarities are oddly uncanny. Trump, like the monster, must hail from “The Upside Down” a dark parallel dimension mirroring our own. It is an evil place built on fear, death and decay. Strangely enough, fear, death and decay are the three central pillars of Trump’s political rhetoric.
· Fear: Islamophobia
· Death: Veiled messages encouraging the murder of his politico adversary
· Decay: Trump’s misguided attempts that further the United States direction towards a decline of compassion and understanding.
Compassion and understanding are quite possibly the two qualities we so desperately need to regain our status as the inclusive melting pot of the world that we once were.
"Trump, like the monster, must hail from “The Upside Down” a dark parallel dimension mirroring our own. It is an evil place built on fear, death and decay. Strangely enough, fear, death and decay are the three central pillars of Trump’s political rhetoric."
Trump, like the monster, has a heightened predatory sense and is triggered by the first sign of blood or weakness. He lunged into American politics at a time when the United States was already deeply fractured. He wedged himself deep into that gap and further cracked our foundation by continuing to divide us when it came to topics on race, economics, patriotism, and the basic human decency that binds a society.
Trump is a cold calculated predator who sniffed out the remnants of the bloody, wounded and dying blue collar American working class. Working class Americans are so angry that even Trump’s vitriol may be appealing to them because let’s face it, when you have been underrepresented (or over represented in the case of the American straight white male - but don’t get me started on that tangent) any mention of change, inclusion, and diversity is a serious threat to your way of life. And this class of Americans has every right to feel disenchanted.
As trends rise in the segregation of affluence and the poverty working class, Americans are on the verge of extinction and America is becoming a two-tiered society. The more affluent citizens live lives fundamentally different from the middle to lower income groups. This divide can only further decrease an already dwindling sense of community. Middle class Americans are no stranger to suffering; this group of citizens has continually been beaten down over the years. When this population hears the term “Free Trade” muttered by a CEO or another person of authority, what the working class American hears is “Your job is being outsourced”. You are given the all too familiar excuse “This is vital for the company. This is how we stay competitive in this price-sensitive marketplace.” Every blue collar American is fluent in reading between the lines and knows that this is code for wealthy executives will stay wealthy while the working class will struggle to put food on the table.
Don’t get me wrong the Democrats shoulder some of the blame just like the Republicans. Left liberal parties existed to advance the standing of the working class but it seems that long ago these people’s concerns were no longer a priority, with the left choosing to favor the professional class instead.
When people have been downtrodden for so long they become a shell of a person broken down by uncertainty and struggle. The people affected cannot imagine things getting any better, first and foremost, because who is listening to their cries for help anyway?
"Trump is a cold calculated predator who sniffed out the remnants of the bloody, wounded and dying blue collar American working class."
Then along comes Trump, a man who shoots from the hip and says what others won’t. It feels like he “gets you” emotionally. He personifies the anger of the working people and speaks on the deindustrialization and economic misery they know so well. He validates their fears: not only will things not get any better, but they will only get much worse. Unless, of course you choose to buy into his policy to “Make America Great Again”. If you are a rational American you may like his ideas on trade revisions, or if you are a bigot (please don’t be a bigot) you might like his racist ideology. I’m not saying Trump is racist, maybe he is just pretending but really which is worse?
Regardless, he has lured the middle class out into the open with his pied piper tune of doom and gloom. If Trump is the tulip-faced monster from Stranger Things then I worry that the working class is the poor ill-fated Barb - my personal favorite character from Stranger Things. Barb with her faded super-sized Sally Jessy Raphael glasses and wickedly unflattering mom jeans, represents the misfit, the goody two shoes outcast, essentially the unpopular kid. Certainly this is one of the reasons that she has become a fan favorite, she is so relatable to her fellow misfits and they project their feelings of inadequacy from their own high school years onto the thinly developed Barb. I hate to say this, but Barb exists solely as a catalyst for Nancy’s growth and to add a sense of danger to the storyline. Her entire existence is centered around her fear that Nancy is becoming a “cool kid” and poor Barb is going to get left behind – she doesn’t want to lose her best friend. So what I’m getting at here is Barb is the metaphor for the working class and Nancy is the fabled “good job” the working class American pines for. Working class Americans have watched jobs slip through their fingers helplessly while the good jobs are given to the cool kids.
"He has lured the middle class out into the open with his pied piper tune of doom and gloom."
Just like Barb, working class Americans even with their good intentions and hard work have unwittingly found themselves separated from the herd and are now alone wondering “WTF? I drove Nancy to this lame party. Why am I sitting all alone out here on this damn diving board?”
Spoiler Alert The sad thing is no one really seems to care about Barb or the working class. The government left Barb’s car at a bus depot and everyone bought the “Looks like she ran away” story. Let’s hope America doesn’t let the working class, the backbone of this nation, slip away into the night so easily.
Moral of the story, I don’t want the Donald to chew you up and spit you out like the monster did Barb. She deserved so much better and so do you.