The second in a series of explorations of what it’d look like if I behaved like Trump. How could anyone else get away with this? is a question I’ve often asked. So I wrote about how it would all unfold (as it’s currently unfolding) if the president held one of my jobs. The first kinda, but not really hypothetical I posed was about Trump as a cart-fetching K-Mart employee (a job I held at 17) and today I will frame it through the lens of another job I had: paperboy. Which is curious because Trump was a paperboy. Except unlike me, if the weather was bad, a family chauffeur drove him to drop off the papers in a limousine.
From the age of 12 to 17 I carried between 38 and 45 copies of the La Crosse Tribune every morning to houses at around 6:30am. It wasn’t my favorite job, but it was pretty easy (accept when it was really cold) and I made about a hundred bucks a month — which in 12-year-old world is a lot of basketball cards and donuts.
Every morning my alarm would ring, I’d turn it off and ultimately my dad made sure I was up. I’d get dressed and head out to bring the global, national and local news to the people in and around my neighborhood. As a kid, I was mostly concerned with the sports and classified ads; I liked checking scores and seeing what cars were for sale. But I imagine there were a lot of people (this was pre-www.internet) who enjoyed getting the paper to read all the news — which is to say, “facts and information gathered and written about by journalists who get paid to report facts and information.” Considering the lack of medium in those days, getting the morning newspaper was important to many.
I’M TRUMP, THE PAPERBOY:
Now, imagine what would happen if a paperboy took the paper, tore out stories, shredded the parts he didn’t like and then replaced them with what he wanted the readers to think — often times without context and in under 200 characters. Whew. Confusing. And think about the readers! They would be livid if they were thoughtful, thinking people who cared about the truth and wanted to know what people in the area, country and world had to say about the happenings. Surely, ignoring the truth, tearing it out of the newspaper and replacing it with lies, conspiracy theories, bullying, name calling, hyper-partisan rhetoric, hate speech, racist remarks and laud for others like me would’ve set folks’ heads on fire.
But it didn’t. People loved it.
After a while, the distrust mounted. “Who can I believe?” the readers would say. And I’d say, “Trust me, I’m the onely one you can trost. I’m the most truthfull. Nobody is more truer.” And they would believe me, even if I couldn’t spell (because: just a kid). It would be marvelous; many would see me as “genuine.” Even if I lied over and over again and again (which I would — over 15,000 times (that are documented) in a three-year period) they would soak in everything I said and loathe anything else that was on the contrary calling it “alternative facts,” “failing,” and “FAKE NEWS.” I would, of course, use my platform as a means to control the community and they’d love me and pay more for what I delivered because I’d convince them that I was helping, even saving, them from the others. Then, when I saw how much control I could have I would use other paperboys and girls in the area and get them to do the same thing I was doing — and if I approved of their lies, which needed to benefit me, I would send out messages in my paper telling the locals how GREAT and HEROIC these paper carriers are. They would be revered, and my control would grow throughout the community. Heck, they even elected me as their Mayor and I was only 13!
As Mayor of La Crosse I would realize that if I condemned every other news source (TV, radio, everything in the paper I didn’t like) and then start delivering my information maybe up to 100 times per day (wow!) I could gain even more control. So, DONE. I would decide what was important — pro-me opinions even if it weren’t true (truth wouldn’t matter at all) — and everything else to the contrary would be dismissed loudly and vehemently as lies. And SO MANY people would believe me because I convinced half the people I was just a normal kid, even though I was not. The ones who didn’t eat all the crap I shoveled would be called traitors and I’d accuse them of treason in my paper and SO MANY people would believe me. Once in a while, who knows, I’d probably promote some violence against those who opposed me and if anyone caught me in my lies I’d simply put out more and more papers every single day (ten papers per hour!) until people were so overwhelmed by the dysfunction and chaos that the people who opposed me became irate (then I could accuse them of abuse! I’m just a normal kid!) and the people in the middle decided to tune out — which was a win for me because I don’t care what they think, I just don’t want them to care enough to vote in the next election.
After a few years of this, the whole city would be furious — one side because they thought (without investigating … because investigating was bad … only I had the truth) I was some kind of child savior being attacked by a bunch of crybabies and jerks who were just mad I won the election. And, the other side would be furious because they KNEW (through investigating) I was a liar, totally corrupt, a horrible person and only interested in information that benefitted me and my family.
It was great. Mom, dad, my sisters and heck, even the two Labradors would help me now get my 200 character version of “the truth” out as quickly and as often as possible. The labs were fast. We bought them just to get the news out faster and they were called Jesus and Christ because that made sure that all the evangelicals in the city loved me and believed everything I said. I couldn’t believe it worked! But it did. So many people would subscribe to my version of the news and the news I said was OK and by way of my role in the city government we’d become untouchable. Those who cared enough to look into my corruption and lies would be attacked by my dogs and my loudest supporters (who were also getting rich and powerful!) and I would send out even MORE papers until nobody could keep up with all my lies and corruption or do anything about it. Life would be perfect for me and the people around me, not really for the people reading my news — because little of it was actually true, positive, useful or good for the city, but so many loved me, it didn’t even matter.
Soon, the city would burn, opposing journalists would die and all decency would be lost. But as long as I told everyone how GREAT we were doing they’d believe me and hate the opposition because I, only I, owned the truth.
Then I would get re-elected!