A famous screenwriter once tweeted, “If you don’t have a bad guy in your story, you just have a dirty piece of paper.”
Jesus had Satan, the evil sins of man and the Romans. Luke had Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and the stormtroopers. Kirk had Kahn, the Klingons and his own ego. Each story always conveyed a sense of dread and foreboding, personified by an all-powerful entity seething with rage and malevolence.
And we, as the plebeians of society, find strength when the protagonist overcomes not only the bad guy, but the inner enemies too. The will to face your own fears is the struggle we have everyday, and we enjoy the stories we absorb each time not because of their successes, but that we wished we had as threatening a motivation as a bad guy.
Hence why we LOVED Hitler, Saddam, Gaddafi and Khomeini. They were quintessential BAD GUYS to our Western values, threats to our freedom and proponents of terror. And they’re gone, confined to the annals of history, never to be seen, or anyone like them, again.
So we meander on, looking for the next best battle to fight. North Korea’s leader is confined inside the little cocoon of isolationism so we can’t fight him, and we’re not too clear who leads ISIS except everyone that has an unkempt beard wearing a towel on their heads.
And then, out of the boardroom steps a figure, clothed in fine Armani and wielding a chequebook so fierce, the destruction left in its wake is still being tallied. His cufflinks shone blood-red in the window reflection of the urban sprawl, leaving a shadowy stain in retinas everywhere.
A man with “straight-talking” rhetoric, or a carefully planned conversationalist that paid his way through meetings to achieve the highest boardroom position. His proclamations aren’t considered, but flung whimsically into the ether like pearls before hungry swine and viewed with cackles of laughter.
Age has moulded his piercing glare, a single word will leave you sore with contempt. You won’t be in the same room, as he’ll be happy to throw you out with a gorilla wave. If he lived in contemporary times, he’s second favourite word “GUARDS!” will only proceed his true gem, “Mummy…”
But why is he not the bad guy? I mean, he represents democracy and capitalism, everything we hold dear in the West. A free-market entrepreneur that mud-slung his way up and up, picking himself up from many financial downslides along the way and leaving charred, stricken bones of people’s lives behind him.
Still, why is he not the bad guy? Mr Trump is the product of right-wing apathy, those sick of being told what to do by liberalists, who in turn are frustrated with restrictive conservatism. Those that wish women to stay at home and clean the house, versus others that want to learn further and push the train of society along towards eventual evolution. Those two sides created this monster out of their own vile, negative energy, and he now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the end of the world at the touch of a button.
Then why is he the bad guy if we knew he was bad for us? Actually, he isn’t the bad guy.
As a species, our moral compass cannot be just defined by stories we tell each other, our children, ourselves. We wanted Mr Trump to be there, to shine a light on our dismissal that everything happens because of everyone else and we can’t do anything about it.
Individually, we don’t like taking the blame for our ills, it’s someone’s else’s fault. Yes, we didn’t study, our parents just didn’t make enough money because immigrants stole their jobs. Yes, we’re flabby and unfit, because someone else is fit already and we like potato chips.
And even here, in South Africa, we didn’t put a whole race down, our ancestors did that, not us. It’s not our fault.
So Mr Trump may be on the toilet sending tweets out that actually affect people, but he’s just another person, like you are.
His toilet is just a little cleaner afterwards.