Ghosting the Orange Menace

Yesterday someone made the totally obvious yet utterly profound observation that Trump never wanted to be The President. What they meant was that he didn’t have any interest in leading our nation or in governing in the true sense of the word. Most people seek the highest office because they have a profound desire to serve the public, or out of a sense that they are uniquely qualified to lead the country at a pivotal time in our history, or because they want to move the country in a certain direction. But Trump had no such desire. He has never had a political philosophy or any meaningful agenda beyond Make America Great Again, which isn’t so much a presidential agenda as it is an advertising slogan, one about as meaningful as “Where’s the Beef?” What Trump wanted was to be the most talked-about person on the planet. And for the last four years, that’s exactly what he’s been.

There was never a minute of a day over the last four years that he wasn’t front page news in every major paper in the country. He was always the lead story of every newscast, and millions if not billions of people across the planet spent hours reporting, posting, tweeting, blogging, podcasting and talking about him. Whether they were for him or against him, they were talking about him. Nonstop. Myself included.

Every article, news story, tweet, mention, and @ kept him trending and relevant even as it fueled his ego. Even those people who tried to keep his name out of social media analytics by referring to him as 45, or The Orange Baboon, or simply the poop emoji were still talking about him and obsessing over his every word and deed. He’s probably the sole reason Twitter is still around. He wasn’t wrong when he said he was good for ratings: MSNBC and Fox will tell you that. Newspapers across the country from the New York Times and the Washington Post to regional and local papers saw their subscriptions increase to levels they hadn’t seen in years.

And rightfully so. He was, whether he meant to be or not, the President of the United States, a position which made him — at least at first — the most powerful person on the planet. We were right to pay attention to his words and actions. They had enormous consequence, and we needed to keep an eye on his and his enablers’ self-dealing, unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and dangerous behavior.

But he’s barely the President of the United States any more. He’s now a Lame Duck President, and he has for all intents and purposes given up even the appearance of doing any of the work of keeping the government functioning, preferring now to hole himself up in his White House Fortress, watching cable TV, tweeting frantically, and yelling increasingly incoherently at his family and closest advisers.

It’s more and more apparent that absolutely everyone — from the media (left, right and center – yes, even once-loyal FOX News honestly reports that Biden is our President Elect) to foreign leaders (including China’s), who have called Biden to congratulate him on his win, to members of the Republican Party at the federal, state, and local level – recognize that Joe Biden will be the President come January 20th. It’s even clear to the members of Trump’s inner circle.

The courts are not backing his attempts to overturn election results; the fear that red states will install loyal electors doesn’t seem to be coming to fruition; and there doesn’t seem to be any credible threat that he will be able to remain in office once Inauguration Day comes. Even he knows that. His blustering is nothing more than his pathetic attempt to stay relevant and to juice his ratings.

So the time has come for us to stop supplying the oxygen that keeps him alive. It’s time to stop clicking on the news stories that report on him and his increasingly desperate attempts to maintain power. It’s time to stop hanging on his every word and tweet, and it’s time to unfollow him on Twitter: let him watch as his number of followers plummets, and the retweets and replies dry up. Stop tuning in to his press conferences: they were never anything other than state-sponsored opportunities for him to lie unabashedly to the American people anyway. It’s even time to stop arguing with his supporters on social media — about whether there was fraud, about whether he was good for the country, about whether we should or shouldn’t wear masks — because keeping them ginned up ads their fuel to his fire. Their support and enthusiasm give him political power in the upcoming run-off races in Georgia and into the 2022 midterm election and god forbid into 2024. So it’s time to turn our attention away and let the trumpsters push against air. When nothing pushes back, they will get bored and move on.

Trump is no longer relevant, and the quickest way to rid him from our lives is to simply delete him. Delete him from our minds, delete him from our words. Delete him from our posts. Delete him from our social media accounts. It’s time to ghost Donald J. Trump.

It’s time to unfollow

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