Hopefully our now soon-to-be former President, also known as Individual-1 in a court filing against Trump’s former fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen by the Southern District of New York in 2018, will soon enough find himself housed in a prison and clothed in an orange jumpsuit.
Trump was accused of a crime in this filing and has been under seemingly constant investigation for shady financial dealings and political corruption since stepping into the White House. He escaped indictment in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election because Mueller adhered to a Department of Justice memo that protected sitting president’s from criminal indictments.
Still, until Trump can be issued his ticket for the bus ride from the White House to the prison house, he can still potentially wreak a great deal of havoc on American lives, American institutions, and the nation’s relationships around the globe.
What can we do to disarm him?
Well, remember Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman Show? Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, who from birth becomes the star of reality TV show without his knowing it. He lives in a scripted world in which everyone else is an actor playing a role in constructing his reality. His mother and father are actors; his wife is an actor; the mailman is an actor—all occupying a giant studio set. The whole watches and is enthralled and entertained by Truman’s every action and emotion.
Such a situation would be perfect for Trump. He has, after all, already proven himself to be a gifted reality TV star. Let’s take advantage of it and have some fun with him.
We deserve it. He owes us some legitimate fun and entertainment for all of the suffering he’s put us through.
Here’s how it can work:
Just have Kellyanne Conway tell him that the election really did go his way and that Mary Coney Barrett, just as he masterminded, overturned the bogus election call of Joe Biden’s victory. He’ll believe it. He loves it when people tell him what he wants to hear and confirm his sense of how the world should be.
Then tell him to sneak in a good long nap to prepare for a second term of myriad and non-stop self-serving, nefarious, and absolutely inhumane enterprises. Feed him a couple of Big Macs and tuck him in tight. He’ll be up for that.
In the meantime, build a replica Oval Office and surrounding White House and isolate him.
He can carry on with his same antics and derelictions, his same crimes against humanity, believing he’s president all the while he’s in a make-believe world. He’d be kind of like King Friday the Thirteenth in Mister Rogers’ Land of Make Believe—a kind of puppet. While Trump is famous for crying “No puppet! No puppet!” when Hillary Clinton accused him of being Putin’s puppet, we would now all finally see him as the puppet he actually always has been.
And think about it: his behavior in the proper context can actually be pretty laughable and entertaining if it can’t harm us.
When he recommends drinking Lysol and or shining light in our bodies to eliminate the coronavirus, well, wouldn’t that be kind of funny and entertaining if we were watching a political star on TV and couldn’t ne hurt? If it were already framed as a comedy full of buffoonery and dramatic knee-slapping idiocy?
Wouldn’t it be riotous to hear a character talk about how windmills cause cancer? To cite tabloids as legitimate sources of news? To constantly talk about his TV ratings? There would be some dramatic irony with this last one, and we could all wink at one another knowingly.
I bet we could get Sasha Baron Cohen to direct it like one of his Borat movies.
I don’t think Trump would know the difference. He doesn’t care about governing. He just wants to believe he’s “winning,” and he is willing to believe lots of things that have no alignment with reality.
Seriously, we need to think of something to stop him from doing damage for the next two months.
To keep from damaging our real world even more, let’s make him a reality TV star again until we can get him into a prison cell.
Tim Libretti is a professor of U.S. literature and culture at a state university in Chicago. A long-time progressive voice, he has published many academic and journalistic articles on culture, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has received awards from the Working Class Studies Association, the International Labor Communications Association, the National Federation of Press Women, and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.