Willy Loman, Jay Gatsby & The American Dream

Journalists writing about politics too often seem to share the same glossary of offensive unthinking epithets. When one wishes to learn what a politician is doing that might improve public life writers simply revert to their derogatory journalese of racist and sexist. They rarely try to inform readers or television listeners precisely what a politician has done and how his racist or sexist acts will affect public policy. They seem mainly concerned about how the races or genders affected by hearing of a candidate’s racism or sexism might vote. People who self consciously see themselves as not being part of a dominant culture may see a candidate branded by media as racist as someone who will use public policy to exclude them whether they see themselves as light or dark members of a minority culture of immigrants or native born. I remember while television and other news media were charging Mayor Ford with racism that the person who in my presence spoke most highly of his accomplishments was a member of a visible minority, the other.

Online these character diminishing labels are often repeated in file headers by news organizations from one end of the English language world to the other with never a thought to attempting an informing analysis of these charges of racism or sexism. These kind of media characterizations of Mr. Trump as he’s been attempting to win the Republican nomination to run for president of America in the 2016 illustrate the dearth of the kind of political information people need to make informed decisions about who to vote for. Voters rarely see candidates speaking for themselves and if they do their perceptions are filtered by video or made concrete by the whims of journalists who too often seem to follow one another in their name calling charges of racism or sexism. Accurate and thoughtful analysis of facts is what voters need. When Mr. Trump began his campaign, instead of saying that he was not a serious candidate, journalists should have been informed enough to know that he was seriously trying to be president. They should have known that Mr. Trump must have been aware of the many citizens who had been suffering from increasing impoverishment and that those sufferers were desperately looking for a way out, the people media have branded as unsuccessful white men as though women and people of varying skin tone were all better off. But from my vantage point way up in Canada I’ve learned that everyone regardless of skin tone, race, or gender is suffering from an economic malaise that began before racism or sexism had become popular political epithets permitting that malaise and its devastating effects to persist.

What people should have been told from the start of his candidacy is that Donald Trump the billionaire business man came to be in the economic and legal morass he wishes to untangle. They should have informed everyone that his manner is that of a deal making salesman, a person who likes everybody and wants to be loved by everybody, like Willy Loman or Jay Gatsby. And they should have pointed out that like Willy and Gatsby he’s been trying to bring back the past, trying to get the horse back into the barn.