Friday, August 07, 2015

Donald Trump's Biggest Fan In Washington Heights

No human is entirely free of vanity, but amongst politicians, it's an especially dangerous occupational hazard (Max Weber). 

Donald Trump's biggest fan is a short, slim man of late middle-age, neatly dressed, with a twinkle in his eye and a willingness to share his views on politics with just about anyone, including me, who asked him for a light on a recent weekday morning. He's also a mess of contradictions — or perhaps a very subtle comedian, I'm not sure which. 

A steady stream of neatly-dressed commuters flowed towards the swinging doors that lead through a short tunnel to the A train on West 184th Street. Donald Trump's biggest fan did not yet reveal himself, as he readily offered me a light. I turned casually away, and reached into a newspaper box for a copy of Metro NYC. "Thanks," I said. Then he spoke. 

His voice was gravelly and smoky, and it carried clear down the street. 

"You know what?" he said, "I think that what Donald Trump has been saying is right, and I'm glad he's speaking his mind, we should listen to him, he's a self-made man, and he knows what he's talking about."

For anyone who does not yet know, Donald Trump is running for election to become the Republican Party candidate for U.S. President, in the very early days of a campaign that promises to be really quite wild, and also utterly meaningless: candidates will heap scorn and outrage upon each other in the manner of those WWF wrestling morons, then they will try in turn to look their most operatically outraged: a nonexistent moral high ground will be fought over. Casualties will include the truth, and candidates who are vying to show their abilities to control the public purse strings, will spend like shopaholics. 

New Yorkers have an undeserved reputation for being horrifically rude, and an actual horrifically rude native son like Trump is unlikely to find any love in his hometown — which is what made this sudden outbreak of pro-Trump trumpetry surprising, spilling like a chamber pot and its contents, out into the beautiful August morning: a Trump supporter, here, in Washington Heights? 

But what completely shocked me was this: as I turn slightly to get a better look at Donald's biggest backer, and just as he's going on about how honest Trump is and what a hardworking straight arrow New Yorker he is, a real reproach to all his critics, I see that our man is now armpit-deep in a trash can, rootling and rummaging away, until finally he pulls out… a paper coffee cup

And then he's over at the swing doors to the A train, swinging one of them open for each and every commuter, and each one gets a hearty "good morning!… what a fine day, sir!… good morning, ma'am!… thank you, sir!… hello, little fella! Off to school?…

Each commuter faces a shake of the cup, which is soon rattling with coins. 

Donald Trump, self-made man, up-by-the-bootstraps local lad, total boor and sexist pig: you have a fan in Washington Heights. He blows a lot of air on your behalf. And he's a homeless bum, begging at the train.