Out of the Blue: Trump no leader, instead an entitled shadow figure (opinion)
Out of the Blue
I saw the new Star Wars movie over the weekend, and while I’m positive that Worst Supporting Actor (for Ghosts Can’t Do It (1990)) Donald Trump would be no good with a lightsaber as a character in that universe, I couldn’t help but cast him as a bad guy in the film, a sneering nemesis, an enemy of good.
Hey, for all we know, if we took off 2017’s Darth Vader mask, Agent Orange might be underneath!
There’s a backlash to this liberal nervousness I have, a response to what (hopefully) is just an exaggerated “our team lost” sensitivity shared by many Democrats.
Maybe DJT will be just another middle-of-the-road political figure, a blowhard who promised a conservative sea change but will only deliver aggravated cases of top-tier gridlock.
But what if he isn’t? What if he is, in fact, a Star Wars villain? Let’s consider some of the scenarios that keep many Democrats up at night.
First, we must consider the guy’s second-in-command. Folks on both sides of the aisle have myriad responses to Mike Pence’s stances on abortion rights and his uniquely tart religious fervor, but he’s gone on the record talking about how smoking doesn’t cause cancer and why evolution is a construct being forced upon American schoolchildren.
As a Star Wars baddie, though, we need something more specific. Imagine the guy pacing on the bridge of a star destroyer, forcing his minions to chain-smoke cigarettes and kill any alien races they encounter in the galaxy that don’t resemble rich, white, Christian dudes.
And let’s throw in that as a training regimen, Darth Pence insists that his young recruits watch the Disney animated film Mulan over and over (trust me — this is a real thing).
In 1999, when Vice-President-Elect Pence was working as a radio personality, he brought a lot of attention to Mulan, a story that to most of us played as an empowering metaphor about women being just as capable as men to be vigilant warriors, about genders and stereotypes being nothing but facades that strong-willed folks can break right through, whether or not they carry a Y chromosome or not.
Pence’s response to the movie and its title character fighting for good alongside her brothers-in-arms: “Moral of the story — women in military, bad idea.”
And as far as the man in charge, his evil-genius dialogue as a Star Wars evildoer has already been written — by DJT himself! Just think how great these lines would sound being read by James Earl Jones along with some robotic sound effects:
“I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.”
“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work. Torture works. Believe me, it works.”
“He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” (written in 2012 after Mitt Romney’s loss)
“That could be a Mexican plane up there! They’re getting ready to attack!”
This caricature of DJT as a space-sorcerer hell-bent on torture and destruction is overblown, to be sure, but nevertheless indicative of the trepidation many Americans feel as this guy approaches the oval office.
We assume a worst-case scenario because we have nothing more to go on. Will he be as heinous toward women as he’s been in the past? Will he throw our environment into the shredder? There’s no way to be sure.
Maybe it’s easier casting the Razzie winner as a villain because a path toward a successful presidency for him seems so elusive. He promised to ‘drain the swamp’ of Washington and spent the months since the election doing exactly the opposite of that, populating his cabinet with folks who showcase unambiguous directives to serve their own self-interests above all else.
These blatant policy switcheroos come as no surprise to those of us who have been anti-Trump from the get-go, but soon even his supporters might question the validity and implications of his reliably vacuous statements.
Whatever the reasons behind the impression DJT makes as a bad guy, he certainly fits the part. He is not a leading man, no figurehead archetype within the annals of modern American politics — he’s the entitled shadow figure in the white castle, isolated atop Trump Tower, conspiring with his yes-men companions while the rest of us prepare his KFC meal orders.
Or maybe he’ll end up being just another glad-handing politician, a scoundrel without the ability to make good on his promises who was merely interested in the media coverage he could get out of the presidency.
But if he builds a Death Star, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a Vice Chair of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.