Faceless man

It happened. The United States of America elected as its president a moron. 

Donald Trump gives face to the ugliness of hate. That is why we have decided not to give him face. Our front page covers his sneering visage with a void into which hope might be projected.

This is the man who jokes about shooting people, who mocks his voters as idiots, who pursued for years a conspiracy theory over the heritage of the current president. A thousand times more, he has proved himself unfit for the office he is about to hold.

This is a man who pretends to represent the disenfranchised but has for them no plan other than the service of his own ego. Who humiliates the disabled and encourages violence at his rallies. Who speculates on the assassination of his opponent and promises to jail her should he win.

This is the man who describes Mexicans as drug lords and rapists, who insists a wall be built on their border and that their government be forced to pay for it.

This is the man who supports torture, including of families. Who says, “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

This is the man who seems unable to speak about women without denigrating them. The former beauty pageant owner who boasts of using his position to surprise naked teenagers in their dressing rooms. Who says, “I sort of get away with things like that.”

This is the man who jokes about sleeping with his daughter. Who describes how he used his privilege to molest women, to “grab them by the pussy”. Who faces multiple accusations of sexual assault.

This is the man who believes breastfeeding is disgusting and suggests difficult questions from a female journalist are the result of her menstruating. Who looks at a 10-year-old girl on an escalator and says, “I’m going to be dating her in 10 years; can you believe it?”

This is a man with no shame about lying, who during the campaign bought a pile of steaks from a local supermarket and passed them as his own to pretend his failed meat business was a success.

This is the man who believes climate change is a conspiracy perpetuated by the Chinese. Who said the election was likely rigged and threatened rioting should he not win.

This is a man without scruples, less a politician and more a pungent collection of ill-formed anxieties. He is the expression of a troubled world, but he is in no way its answer.

The philosopher Slavoj Žižek argued a Trump win would be interesting. “It will be a kind of big awakening,” he said. “New political processes will be set in motion, will be triggered.”

But the world is too fragile to be interesting. Trump is the manifestation of a people in tumult, of an institution failing. His success is the product of inequality but he does not represent the people who elected him. He represents nothing more than his vain ambition.

He is a terrible mask pulled over the head of serious issues. The empty disc behind which he hides on our front page is a reminder that we must address disadvantage and inequality here lest our own contorted vision of his anti-politics be formed in its space.

That white sphere is a symbol of the reality we must now confront, a reality Pauline Hanson toasted on the lawn of Parliament House this week: Anything could happen. It is up to politicians as well as ordinary citizens to make sure that the hole is filled with solutions rather than with Trumps.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 12, 2016 as "Faceless man".

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