Our greatest ideas got us to this ugly place already. This is a place that has been called the Upside Down world or the Twilight Zone. One maddening idea, promoted by the Left, that is part of our “best ideas” is the idea that Donald Trump voters are saying that they feel like they have not been heard. So, if we nevertrumpers just sit down and listen to them…giving them a chance to tell us what we are not hearing, we can work toward reconciliation. Sounds good. Kumbaya…. Sorry though, nothing could be more short sided. I knew I wanted to write a blog about this very issue because it is coming at me from multiple planes. However, I didn’t have a good way of getting into the heart of the nut, so to speak. I think the story of Trumplethinskin gives us this spyglass.
Lets start there. The story of Trumplethinskin. What is the story of Trumplethinskin? Well, it is the story of why this listening garbage, is garbage. Donald Trump got into a twitter exchange…well multiple twitter exchanges with Jon Stewart. This is not where this term was born but it is what this term is all about plus more…
What is funny is that this video, a few years later, has been removed.
So, if you took the time to enjoy this comedic and yet, utterly horrific, bit, you saw two things (well, I am sure you saw all sorts of things). I want to point out two things that stood out to me. 1. Trumplethinskin – this man is bated by a tweet. This man is immature to an extreme. Absolutely more infantile than my teenagers. Donald Trump is also so sensitive to the slightest critique. He has such thin skin. 2. DUDE!!! He called out a comedian, out of the blue, for being a Jew and not keeping his long, difficult Jewish last name. I don’t even know what that is about. Doesn’t everyone know “Jon” Stewart is a Jew? Was that ball ever hidden? I always thought that Jews spelled John, Jon…My dad’s name is Jon and spelled that way. He is a Jew…That is the lore we were told. Regardless, who the fuck cares whether Jon Stewart is a Jew or not. What is that all about? Donald Trump is a fucking anti-semite and this twitter exchange proves it.
This sort of thing is not an aberration; our new president is a such a nightmare. These tweets, and others of their ilk, are just the beginning. So, in response, a hashtag was created #trumplethinskin. Then, Alec Baldwin, who has been parodying DT on SNL, releases this:
This is how this term was born. Just the story of its inception gives so much insight. It is a lovely word. However, if we dig deeper we come full circle and begin to see exactly why “listening” to the other side is not at all going to work to bring reconciliation and, in the alternative, will only drive our two camps further to our respective corners.
So, this morning I was discussing with my son his choice of signs for the women’s march. I had saved some slogans for myself but I didn’t have any for the little guy. So, out of the blue, I say, “how about ‘Heil Trumplethinskin’?” He looked at me dumbfounded. I questioned, “haven’t you ever heard of Rumplestiltskin?” Apparently not. We pulled it up on Wikipedia and he read the story out loud the entire way to school. Let me see if I can do this German fairy tale justice.
It all starts with a lie. The miller lies to the king of the land and tells him that his daughter can spin straw into gold. Sure as shit, the king absconds with the miller’s daughter and locks her high in a tower room filled with straw. The king tells her that if she does not perform as expected he will cut off her head in the morning. Of course, she cannot spin the straw into gold. The girl sits back and sobs, giving up all hope. Just then, a little imp appears and they craft a deal. The imp will spin all the straw into gold in return for her necklace. The second night is a repeat of the first but with more straw and the girl trading the work for her precious earring. The third night, the king has given her even more straw and he tells her that if she spins it all into gold, he will marry her and she will become queen. If she does not, he will kill her. That night she has nothing to pay her side of the bargain with. The exchange is made that she will give the imp her firstborn child. The king marries the miller’s daughter and they have a child. When the imp comes to claim his due, the queen doesn’t want to give up her child. She offers him all the riches in the kingdom but he will not be persuaded. He gives the queen three days. If in those three days she can guess his name, he will give up his claim on the child. The first two days are spent in a frenzy of guessing only to be defeated every time. Finally, on the eve of the third day, the queen sneaks out of the castle to follow the imp to his forest cottage…in some stories it is a messenger to the queen. In the dark, she can see him illuminated by the light of the fire. He danced and sang a little song. “Merrily the feast I’ll make. Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake; Merrily I’ll dance and sing, For next day will a stranger bring. Little does my lady dream Rumplestiltskin is my name.” The next day in court, the queen toyed with the imp…she guessed several names incorrectly. Then, she said slyly, “Is your name Rumplestiltskin?” The imp was so mad he jumped around and pounded his foot against the ground so hard it sunk into the ground waist deep. He had to use his hand to grab it out. Some stories say he had such a temper tantrum that when he pounded his foot against the ground, it was so hard that it caused a big chasm to open and he fell right in, never to be seen again.
I realize that was long, thanks for sticking with me. However, there may be more to this oft told fairy tale and the comparison of Mr. Trump to the antagonist. First, it is a lie that begins the entire story. This is telling. We know immediately that whatever follows is coming from a place of darkness and evil. Things are not what they seem. The miller’s daughter is thrown into the upside down world where imps have powers to spin straw into gold. The girl, and really the entire kingdom (the child embodies the continuation of the royal line), are at the mercy of Rumplestiltskin in this world. Spinning straw into gold seems so good. It is hard to imagine that there is a downside. There is a downside and we have made the bargain with the imp. He is coming for our child if we don’t…..don’t what? In the story the queen had to guess his name. What does that symbolize? What’s of a name? A name is who you are in fairy tale land. A name is a gateway to the real person, to the soul. If we are to follow the old tale, what are we to do? It seems we are to trick him at his own game. We are to shine a light on who he is. We are to expose his name for the world to see. We are to call it out in open court for the world to hear. It is the only thing, after all, that will save us. The queen isn’t mealy-mouthed, she is confident and sure. She knows who he is and cannot wait to expose him.
Back to listening. What does all of this fun have to do with the call to listen to those who voted for Trumpelthinkin as a way to effectuate reconciliation? This little fairy tale is all about insight into this situation. To save her baby, the queen had to listen. She had to silently and mutely listen to the imp as he danced and gloated. However, what she heard did not bring reconciliation. What she heard was the very key that allowed her to save her child, but not with the imp, her, the king and the baby dancing around the reconciled fire. What she heard gave her the key to the imp’s undoing.
This is what you are asking me to do when you ask me to listen to the reasons why the Trump voters voted the way they did. When you tell me that they feel, “their position was not heard.” I find it hard to muster sympathy. By and large, Trump voters are white, evangelical men. There median income is higher than the national average. They are the patriarchy. They live in a world where they have the advantages. Just because things are not as star spangled awesome as they want them to be, doesn’t change their position in our American hierarchical structure. They, in general, and Mr. Trump, in particular can spin straw into gold. They have the power. I’m not even going to entertain the mental back flips required to feel pity for the white patriarchy not being heard. But, I digress….let me start again in a fresh paragraph.
When you ask me to listen. What I hear is exactly what they are saying. I am not twisting it one iota. This is what it boils down to…..either 1 of 2 scenarios:
- I voted for DT because I think he will do good things for business or I voted for him because I don’t want anyone touching my guns or I voted for him because of….fill in the issue. What you sing is one song that reveals your name. You just told me that whatever issue was paramount to you was more important than a whole laundry list of immorality that ranges from just the base and vulgar to promises to really harm people. What is worse is that I don’t buy that you didn’t know he was this gross. Have you been on an Amazonian cruise for the last year?
- I voted for DT because I don’t like all the political correctness, multiculturalism, etc. He says what everyone else thinks. This is another version of the song. In this scenario….it could be likened unto Rumpelstiltskin getting on a microphone and broadcasting his name across the forest. If you say those things to me, I don’t even need to make any further judgments. All I have to say is…Yep…I see you. You have sung your name to me.
You insisting that I listen to their list of reasons so that they can get some existential feeling of “being heard” is asinine. Listening to their reasons for electing a man so unqualified to be president for so many reasons…either despite or because he promised to hurt others uncovers moral corruption, a moral corruption they bought into. It tells me their name. Oprah’s Life Lesson From Maya Angelou is poignant here ‘When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them.’ Donald Trump tells us who he is every day. There is no hiding that he is trumpelthinskin. It is him every bit as much as the imp was Rumplestiltskin. He couldn’t hide his impishness. Our president elect’s tweets with Jon Stewart are him dancing around the fire singing his little tune.
Trumpelthinskin is a word of caution and guide for how to handle a person threatening our children who rises to power. The only thing to do is to speak their name. Shedding light on this filth doesn’t make the stench evaporate. What it does is uncover the ugliness all around us that has seeped into our collective unconscious and confused us that the imp was the victor. The light doesn’t lead to reconciliation; the light only displays the great wrong they have done to our country. A reconciliation will begin with their apology. You see, in the end this revelation of Rumplestiltskin’s name didn’t cause a renewed bond. It was built on ugliness from the onset. Remember the lie? It eventually caused a chasm that swallowed the imp up. Listening is a bad idea if you want me to work with and enjoy my DT voting pal. What I hear is their name.
Trumplethinskin is just perfect.
Yes, my son will be carrying a “Heil Trumpelthinskin” poster. He will carry it knowing exactly why!