This post first appeared at j-hoberman.com.
Donald J. Trump is not the first professional entertainer or pitchman to be elected president of the United States but, however he may refuse to break character or take an adjustment, he is not Ronald Reagan.
Reagan was 1940s Hollywood incarnate. He was the embodiment of happy endings and uncomplicated emotions, amusing anecdotes and conspicuous consumption, cornball patriotism and paranoid anti-Communism, cheerful bromides and a built-in production code designed to suppress any uncomfortable truth. He was a true believer in the magic of the movies.
The populace may hiss me, but when I go home and think of my money, I applaud myself. —Horace, Satires
It’s been three weeks since the election, and in the mirrored halls of the news and social media the contributors of uplifting opinion have been telling themselves that no matter what else might be said about the campaigns and the vote, it was a great day for democracy. Rough-and-tumble democracy in the raw, free-range, artisanal, and organic, the will of the people trampling out the vintage of political correctness, emerging from the ash heap of vicious cant, texting yes to the Declaration of Independence, no to an uncivil transfer of power. Cue the music, roll the camera and the flag. The people have spoken. Our democracy lives. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not perished from the earth.