I once told an elaborate lie about Donald Trump. I cooked up the lie in the summer of 1992. I was eleven years old. I was spending the summer with my dad. It was the first time I had been able to spend any quality time alone with him since my parents divorced.
West Palm Beach seemed huge compared to the small town in eastern Oklahoma we moved to when I was six. Dad came home one day that summer sweating through his blue work shirt, but smiling as usual. His smile let me know that he had planned some kind of adventure.
“Let’s go for a drive.”
“Are we going to the beach?”
“No, but it I want to show you something”
We drove across a bridge and over what my dad explained to me was Florida’s intracoastal waterway. The water that cuts a sliver of land away from the rest of the peninsula.
“Your great great grandfather used walk up this beach delivering mail. They called him the barefooted mailman,” my Dad announced. I felt proud.
We drove by houses, gated and set deep away from the road. We stopped in front a mansion that looked like a castle to me. We parked the car and walked right up to the gate to get a good look. My dad told me with the same matter of fact tone he used to inform me that my ancestor was a brave and famous mail carrier that the mansion belonged to Donald Trump. He told me that Trump had made his money in real estate and that me my grandpa had made money in real estate too. He and my grandma saved to buy a home. They improved it and then they bought a better home and so on. It all made sense at the time.
My grandfather’s words were relayed to me, “You have to buy land. God isn’t making anymore of it.”
We spent a while taking in the grandeur of the seaside manor. After a while I started to imagine myself in the mansion and an elaborate lie began to take shape. By the time I got home to Poteau Oklahoma we did more than just stop and stare. Trump himself noticed us at the gate and invites us in. He gave me a personal tour on a golf cart and drove me down long hallways covered in all the best art from France.
My mom didn’t correct me when I came home with this lie. In fact I was made to repeat over and over to adults who laughed as they sat in circles of lawn chairs and sipped their rum and coke. The lie had a good run and a lot of people got kick out of it. The tale of my visit with the Donald and our friendship grew more elaborate with every telling. There was a time when I resented my mom for letting me repeat the lie and for nurturing it. But now I forgive her.
I wrote this story based on my memory of visiting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach. I had drank a couple of whiskies and I wanted to write a little something that empathized with southerners who support Trump and show my friends on the left that they are real people and not just ignorant rednecks.
I also wanted to point out to Trump supporters that our version of working hard and succeeding and his are not the same. It is almost impossible to start from where we started and end up where he is. The lie I reference in the title isn’t the one I told as a kid, rather it’s the one that is being told about how much he cares about us. I love and respect my fellow Floridians, but let me just point out some truth before the primary.
Trump is not an up from your bootstraps American success story. He is just a rich asshole and a bullshit artist. The best word to describe him is carpetbagger since what he really sells us on is his worthless name brand, and so many of his businesses have folded. I think Trump University is probably the most inflammatory insult to hard working people because the con preys on our hope.
Trump does not want to help you or even lead you. He wants to be admired. He wants you to pull up to the gate of his house and contemplate his ‘success’. Now he wants the White House! This guy does not deserve the votes of hard working Floridians.