It is snowing in my neighborhood, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and my street – near the East River – is covered in soft white. There’s not much traffic around here, except for those drivers who want to park their cars in the fresh air outside. They drive around the block back and forth and, if Lady Luck is not on their side, it can take them an hour or two until a white-covered car departs. All in all, if one is to judge by the cars passing here, the people living in this neighborhood have money. Some of them, I know for a fact, are so rich that they could buy the whole of Switzerland and still have enough money left in their accounts.
But with all of their money, they are not happy.
Once the cars are parked they go home, sit down and read or watch the news. And the news that they read and watch, they share with me, is horrible. No, New York is not turning into Aleppo; much worse. In just a few days, they tell me as they swallow a variety of pills, the worst will happen. A man, a Russian-beloved man, one known to grab women’s private parts when he has nothing better to do, will become the president of the United States and he will move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and build a casino right inside the White House – or something like that.
The name of the man, a nightmare of epic proportions, is Donald J. Trump.
Oh, save us! They scratch their heads in disbelief, develop extreme cases of acid reflux, their blood pressure is at all-time high and, for the first time in history, their psychoanalysts are giving up on them.
Damn that Trump.
As is common with the Coasters, my parking neighbors know of the East and West Coasts but are oblivious to what’s in between them. The fact that there are many states in between the coasts, with hundreds of cities where you can easily park your car in your own garage, and where people read and watch other news sources, is something that their minds cannot grasp. But it is there, in Middle America, where many people are elated these days. They celebrate, they laugh, they are high – and their psychoanalysts are unemployed.
Why are they so happy, you might ask? Well, Trump.
How come that one tycoon, a man with the worst of haircuts, can create such extremely opposite emotions in the hearts of hundreds of millions? The truth is – let me tell you this, because nobody else is willing to tell you this – they are all wrong.
Why? Well, nobody really knows what Trump will do. The only thing we can assume about Trump, logically speaking, is that he won’t grab women’s private parts in the Oval Office. The era of Bill Clinton is over; there are too many Russians snooping on things in every dark corner of the White House.
But other than this assumption, nobody knows what Trump will or will not do. And judging by the last few months, even Trump doesn’t know what Trump will do. Trump lives in the casino world, where you constantly change your tactics, all depending on where the next dollar shows up.
You may ask: If nobody knows what this Trump is, how did he get elected? Despite the lack of any concrete knowledge, both sides nevertheless believe that this Trump will break to pieces the very idea of what it means to be an American. And while the Coasters want things to stay the way they were, most of the other Americans want a break from the past. In simple words: The non-Coasters want that the Coasters will stop dictating to them what to think and how to behave.
They have had it with the “politically correct” world of America’s elitists and they want to live their lives their way, not the way they have been preached to by the Coasters.
How do I know this? For close to seven months during this last election year I’ve driven through America, crossing it twice coast to coast, avoiding highways and intermingling with countless people, and I’ve seen America. When you cross America east to west and west to east, by car and not by plane, you cannot avoid Middle America, that huge land with millions upon millions of Americans in between the coasts – and they talked to me.
They will talk to you too, if you’re willing to come to them.
If you stop reading the news, stop watching TV, forget Google and leave aside all your shiny Internet-capable devices, you will see reality and it will shock you. You will see thousands upon thousands of blacks rotting in ghettos that make refugee camps in the Middle East look like five-star hotels, you’ll see Native Americans decapitating their souls with drugs and alcohol, you’ll see endless rows of homeless people on America’s most expensive and urine-rich sidewalks who beg God to take away their lives, you’ll see never-ending pawnshops where Americans of all colors have pawned the last of their family heirlooms for a miserable few pieces of food, you’ll see loneliness that screams to heaven, you’ll see hundreds of thousands of people incarcerated for decades in top-security prisons for minor offenses – and you’ll see the lucky, or corrupt, few who somehow made it to riches.
This is not the America that I, living in Manhattan, knew of.
In Manhattan, the crowned leader of the Coasters, we live in a fantasy world, a world that exists in our ice-cold brains, not the world that exists out there.
We live in a world where we are the elite of the country, cruelly demanding that the rest of the people follow our dictates. In our world, where our biggest problem is parking, we are busy preaching ethics and morality to others. We are, together with the Californians, the fathers and mothers of the politically correct.
We don’t say “blacks,” that’s politically incorrect; we say “African-Americans.” We don’t even say “homeless,” which is so politically incorrect; we say “otherwise-resourced.” Our understanding of homeless people and of poor blacks starts and ends in word choice. We have no clue what’s happening out there, nor do we care. The reason why I traveled through America, like anything else in my fake Manhattan world, concerns “high culture” – literature, in my specific case. I was commissioned by a German publishing company to write a book about America and so I traveled America.
But now that I’ve done it, now that I’ve seen the hypocrisy of most of us on the coasts, I wish Trump success. I don’t care what he’ll be doing up there in the White House, as long as he keeps doing what he has done up to now: keep breaking his own words, keep tweeting like a bored teenager, keep his dirty language, and keep his bigotry. If he does that, he will be our perfect mirror: bigoted, fake, and heartless.
As a Jew who is fully aware of the rising antisemitism in our time, I’ll love it if he moves the American Embassy to Jerusalem, but I won’t be disappointed if he disappoints me.
The snow continues to fall, ever-so-elegantly covering the hypocrisy of the “otherwise-parked.”
Go get them, Donald!