The Take Down: “The Purge,” Trumpland Style

This is just a quick take on last night’s debacle in Montana. A really quick one, so pardon me if it’s not particularly “elegant.”

And I’ve said it in other ways before — once, when a Hopi in law called Trump a “clown,” in the Hopi way. I wrote about that, how Hopi clowns do everything backwards so that we can see how backwards we are, too. And be “healed.”

There’s more to it than that, but that’ll do for now.

The point I’m making is that as I listened to the audio of Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, I was horrified for a minute. And then, it came to me.

This is our “Purge,” the Trump era. It’s America gone rogue, blowing off hundreds of years of pent up, suppressed vileness.

We were founded by Puritans. There were people here before them who had a totally different mindset, of course. And we know what those god-fearing Puritans did to them.

But that’s a whole ‘nother chapter of our history. For this story, I’m thinking about how when we’re true to the more altruistic bits of those early religious ideals — even those of us who don’t believe in the religion they came from — we’re one helluva country.

Poor people get food, clothes, housing. Everybody sings “Kumbaya” and holds hands, you know? Okay, not really but we do try to love our fellow Americans.

There was even a long stretch where a lot of white folks pretended to be “colorblind.” Us “colored” folks really don’t like that idea, but at least they were trying. And for a while there, we thought we’d gotten somewhere.

When we’re on our best behavior we fly to the moon, we cure things, we make great art— oh, we’re “something,” as Trump would say. That’s what he said about the Pope yesterday. That he was “something.” I knew what he meant. I’m getting fluent in “Trumpspeak.”

But I think he ripped the lid off, our Babbler-in-Chief. And the demons we’d been keeping at bay have leapt up and body slammed the country. If you listen to that audio tape Jacobs offered up, (transcript, actual audio), you can hear it. It’s a metaphor for the whole thing. Seriously.

I mean, Gianforte goes OFF. No warning, just from zero to bat shit in a split second. I’m not sure he even knows why. Something just snapped and all kinds of ugly stuff just exploded all over Jacobs.

That’s us. That our Hopi clown moment in a nutshell, America. All this crazy is a big old collective barf.

Brought on by the Orange Genius. Oh yeah, there’s a special kind of genius at work there. He’s a step ahead of the rest of us all the time. Stumbling into and out of all kinds of trouble in his own inimitable way.

But as he and his minions continue to gut programs and ignore science and blurt out secrets and applaud homicidal dictators and all that, America may get its groove — or at least it’s conscience — back.

It’s awful to have to live through all this mayhem in the meantime, but I do believe, brothers and sistahs — gimme that old time religion — that we shall overcome.

And I haven’t believed that for a long time. It feels good. Real good.

So America, let it all out. Let it rip.

And then let’s get back to being that country the Constitution tried to create. We’re going to have to put all that back together again, but that’s the adventure, right? We’re good at that stuff. And notoriously bad at it, too, if you ask the indigenous people who were here first. But maybe we’ll have learned something profound about that, too, when it’s all over.

I’m going to try to believe that. Won’t be easy. Gianforte was charged with assault, but I have a feeling he’ll still win. It’s Montana, after all. So we have aways to go yet.

But the Quinnipiac University National Poll yesterday shows thatAmerican voters believe 54–43 percent that President Donald Trump is abusing the powers of his office.”

Other poll numbers are even more dire. So we may be turning that proverbial corner.


Photo credit: By Hugo Fernandes — originally posted to Flickr as Christopher Daniels 1, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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Cynthia Dagnal-Myron

Cynthia Dagnal-Myron


Award-winning former features reporter for the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star, HuffPo contributor and author.