It’s been three days now that my morning routine has been diverted off course. I rise pretty early – about 6AM – and with my coffee I turn on the TV to catch up on world news. I start with France 24, a quirky yet thorough review which covers international events without annoying promos and ads. After 5 minutes, I flick to Sky. They have an irritating signature-tune and the refreshing British accents of announcers who run through the papers and chat about important stuff like the politics in the borough of Enfield. From there it’s a flick to CNN. More promos and more ads than any, and some TV-factory produced drama in the few minutes that remain.
But now it’s different. Two days ago, I couldn’t take the yellow haired, painted-faced brute that has grabbed America by the p***y and is laughing in her face on every news channel in existence. I flicked to National Geographic. It was “Air Crash Investigation”. Three experienced pilots flying on a world-class airline managed to bring down a super modern Airbus over the Atlantic. Cause: pilot error. Lack of basic judgment skills. For minutes the passengers lived through the terror as the Airbus A330 fell from 35,000 feet into the sea. For me though, that horror was far more distracting and relaxing any news channel. Yesterday, I flicked directly to Nat Geo Wild. A Canadian Arctic Raven on a snowy peak struggled to find a hare pup to hunt, as her chicks lay near to death in her nest. A Snowy Owl ripped apart a lemming baby to feed it’s young on a rocky nest. Nature. Tragic. But I’m going to say it: It was better than one second of Brute-Face.
When I was about eight years old, growing up in the heartland of Apartheid South Africa with anti-Semitism rife and bullying at school a fairly common occurrence, my father pulled me aside one day at home after I had been mashed by a bigger child who called me “Jood”. He said, “The only way to treat a bully if he tries to hit you, is to hit him harder and make him cry. That way either he will stop bullying you, or even become your friend.” Yes, not what the teachers like to hear, but it worked.
And it’s that simple lesson that brings me to Michelle Obama, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. The adage “When they go low, you go high” is simply incorrect. When it comes to Brute-Face or Putin for that matter, it’s the opposite. When they go low, you need to go lower. Somber faced commentators on CNN discussed America’s “seismic change” as the cause of the unexpected Trump win and refused to accept the fact that a tactical victory can decide not only the battle but an entire war. The seismic change in America was clear to all more than a year ago when it became apparent that a crackpot egomaniac like the Donald and a hard-core socialist ideologue like Bernie were viable candidates for the presidency. No, this race was not lost by democrats due to the seismic change. This defeat was clearly the result of not hitting the bully harder, lower, where it really hurts. And unfortunately, that is where Brute-Face is an expert. By creating an anthem of “lock her up”; by using the expression “evil”; by spewing multiple lies, innuendos and half-truths repeatedly without impunity and without any challenge by the other side, they trickle into consciousness as fact. When “they go low, you go high” does not work in Reality TV. The point is first to win. And only by winning, can you govern. Trump understood that from the word go and turned the race into a reality show on his own turf.
The energy of racism, bigotry and hate in a fractured society is far more incendiary than cool logic, vision and graceful leadership. Trump is guilty using all those tools. In my book, if you leverage racism and hate, you are a racist and a hate-monger.
But here’s the good news, America: grass-roots movements have changed history. And today more than ever, the advent of social networks makes this scalable and more powerful than ever before. Brute-Face is your leader and he has a House that will fall behind him in lockstep. It’s time to go low. No free first hundred days. No polite lining up for visits. No clapping and cheering when he arrives in LA or London or Rio. Let him get what he so loved to dish out. All nice and legal in the name of free speech and the law: “Racist, Bigot, Sexual Predator. Lock him up!” Let him be reminded every day of his presidency that his position was achieved by sophistry and that justice will be done. Only by fear of legal and public retribution at every step, will the bully watch carefully where he treads.
Tomorrow morning at six on National Geographic (I’ve already checked the schedule) I’ll be watching “Highway Thru Hell 4” when the team will rescue some 40-ton excavators that got buried in a bog in B.C., Canada. You’re welcome to join me.