For a second, think about the past 20 years. Remember when you were sitting in front of your massive computer as the little guy was walking across your screen, for what seemed like days, until you would hear that special voice telling you that “you’ve got mail”? It wasn’t that much later that we began downloading our favorite songs at what, then, seemed like an expedited pace. We were calling our family and friends with phones that could fit in our pockets. We looked at the world and the future with awe for what it would bring us next, not realizing that our awe would be replaced with shock, and our shock would be replaced with apathy.
We have impeached a president, witnessed on national television our towers destroyed and the deaths of our citizens. We’ve had a president manipulate, at best, intelligence that has led to so much death, mutilation, destruction, and chaos. Afterward, we saw a president who, at best, ignored intelligence to lead us into even greater hostility and danger with the formation of ISIS and a deeper pit of chaos. We have been told a video caused a revolt and death and learned what the definition of “is” “is.”
We have gone from searching for sex to changing sex. We’ve moved from talking to texting to sexting, with stars being created from sex tapes. We are now able to click for a ride, while ordering a pizza, while reading a story as music is playing, while getting a date, while you were still in bed. We have stores without addresses, and addresses that you tell your phone where to go. Gays can be married. We have had our first black president, cars that run on no gas, and ones that drive with no drivers. We have found “friends,” seen your family albums, and your child’s first time using the toilet. We have sent hate in 140 characters or less and watched seven seasons of a television show in a day and a half.
That’s TWENTY years! Twenty years in which we went from televisions we couldn’t carry to girls online we would marry. And, Donald Trump’s tax returns are supposed to shock us? The most shocking aspect about his tax statement from 2005 was how much he actually paid in taxes. I wouldn’t doubt that he’s more embarrassed by that than by his “grab” move. Shock, what a funny and outdated word these days. The only shocks most Americans feel these days are when they are told the truth or that Rachel Maddow has an audience. Now, that’s shocking.
The president is smarter than you. He’s shrewder than you. While you were attending Stanford and Oxford, and as The Pixies were blasting through your dorms, the president was raising a family, making money, and building an empire. As you were talking about social and racial injustice, he was hiring and empowering people of all races, religions, and genders. While you were pontificating, he was living, and while you were shouting, he was listening… to the sounds of the disenchanted. He was teaching himself the powers of social media. Yeah, the guy you perceive as a clown wasn’t Bozo but rather Barnum and Bailey.
So, keep screaming, and he will keep listening. Throughout the campaign, it was often said that he couldn’t change. After all, he’s 70, and he is who he is. You are right: He doesn’t change in the way you want him to change. But change he did. This man went from apartments in Brooklyn, to skyscrapers in New York, to legacies around the world. He’s changed his views, and who wouldn’t, after listening to yours? He’s had a child convert to a religion you claim he hates and had his two sons marry women of that same faith. He’s gone from builder to producer to reality star to president. He’s a 70-year-old man who tweets, clicks, takes selfies, and is as comfortable in the White House as he is in McDonald’s.
The president is a culmination of the last 20 years, and the only thing we are still shocked about is that you have the ability to get shocked. You really do need to get out more and think, because many people are getting less apathetic. If Donald Trump shocks, then you’ve been in front of your screen 20 years too long.