Monday, November 7th, 2016
I remember exactly where I was when I found out that Donald Trump had entered the race.
I was sitting in a movie theatre in Ireland. I was about to watch Amy. I was prepared to be devastated. But I wasn't prepared enough.
I knew Trump was going to be making an announcement, but I never thought he'd actual enter the race. I checked Twitter. He had entered the race.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of my Irish friends. Because when I was sitting in that movie theatre reading about how Trump had promised to build a wall and in the same breath called Mexicans the things Donald Trump calls Mexicans, my thought process wasn't even "Well, he won't win a single state." It wasn't even "He'll be gone in a week." It was "What a fucking joke."
Because that's what it seemed like. That's what it still seems like, though it's becoming more and more clear that the joke is on us rather than it is on him. Back then, in that Rathmines movie theatre, the joke was very much on Donald, as it had been for my entire childhood.
To me, a suburban kid from New Jersey, Donald Trump never represented success so much as he represented celebrity. He was a Famous Person, first and foremost. He was a celebrity. He had a TV show and he was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I always figured his name being on buildings was all part of his brand as a celebrity, not because he had any business sense. It never really even occurred to me that he had a business. He was just a Famous Person.
So when Donald rocketed to the top of the polls, that's what I figured the cause was. He's a celebrity. He's a Famous Person. He's winning because people already know him and he doesn't have to introduce himself to the country the way that someone even like Jeb Bush does. But that's not enough to sustain a campaign. Even as he maintained his lead throughout the rest of that summer, I had multiple conversations with my Irish friends in which I, after apologizing, said, "He will be gone in three weeks. You have nothing to worry about from Donald Trump. Don't be scared of Donald Trump. He's just a celebrity."
Three weeks turned into three months turned into what feels like three years. Donald Trump is one smelly orange cock hair away from the Presidency.
So I'm sorry, Irish friends. I spoke the truth that day. What I said was absolutely the truth. "Donald Trump will be gone in three weeks." I did not lie. I just happened to be living in a different reality.
At least that's what we've been telling ourselves for this entire campaign, hasn't it? Not just that Donald Trump lives in his own reality or that there are two different versions of America. We tell ourselves, "This can't be real. This can't be happening. I must be in an alternate reality."
The latter examples are hyperbole, sure, and the earlier examples are knocking on the door of truth. But to claim that we live in two different countries - one in which Donald Trump is a savior and the other in which he is a dictator - is kind of a cop out. Furthermore, it's an end to a conversation rather than the beginning of one.
Yes, I as a kid who grew up in the suburbs who makes a living writing plays have no idea what it's like for a struggling family with no running water in the middle of the Ozarks. That doesn't mean that we are living in two different worlds, and that sure as shit doesn't mean that we're going to be voting in two different elections tomorrow. We share this country. We share this responsibility. We live in the same reality, no matter how we try to color it.
I made a promise to my Irish friends whenever they talked to me about Trump. I promised them, "You have nothing to worry about." Even if i was wrong about his shelf-life, even if I was wrong about his power, I still truly believe that they should not worry about him entering the White House. I plan on making good on my promise.
And if I'm wrong on that front, too, then I can only hope they welcome me back to Rathmines with open arms. Because Donald Trump makes Enda Kenny look like Paul Wellstone smoking legal weed through a spliff made out of welfare checks.
Vote. Be safe. Be with your friends. Tell your family you love them. Don't stay up too late watching scary movies tomorrow night, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.