At about the midway point of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” our freewheeling heroines are neither free nor wheeling, as they come to the all-at-once realization the jig is up. Trapped among the rocks and cactus on some forbidding mountainside, weeks of attempts to shake an unrelenting posse has resulted in but one thing: slim chance of enjoying the sunrise of even one more day.
Dejected, defeated even, Butch (Paul Newman), who up till this point has displayed the confidence and panache of a well-oiled dancing bear, looks incredulously at the unrelenting hunters and then at Sundance (Robert Redford) and sighs, “Who are those guys?!”
It has been more than four months since America ceremoniously stuck a pin in its happy place and burst itself all across the fruited plain. Given the option to vote for a candidate who somehow persevered through a tough upbringing, crummy marriage, and a collection of poor wardrobe choices to serve her country decades of top-shelf public service, the minority of American voters went to the polls and instead chose a raging, bigoted, misogynistic psychopath, who had always expected his country to do nothing but (over)serve him.
More than 62 million Americans actually saw Trump as the cure to their ills. Most likely, though, they simply saw him as anyone but Hillary. That he was the strongest, most stark rebuke of Barack Hussein Obama as possible was the orange cherry on the sundae. Dismantling all the hell Obama laid on us would start with polluting our air, water and children’s education. And if we could get back to fighting and winning wars again, while strangling hardworking families with endless medical bills, you’d swear you were back in heaven.
Yes, tens of millions of Americans like the smell of what Donald Trump is shoveling all over us.
So who are those guys?!
Wearing uncommon candor on her pants suit sleeve, Clinton, about two months out from November’s day of infamy, described half of them as fitting into a “basket of Deplorables.” She also immediately tried to walk that candid statement back, because, well, of course she did. Straying from a message of hope and inclusion is always dangerous territory for a Democrat and especially a woman. I mean, what kind of mom are you, anyway, using such ugly, deplorable language?
Didn’t she know all the dark places were reserved for her power-drunk opponent who took large parts of each day to verbally assault women, vets, war heroes, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, the disabled and suckers who pay taxes? So, yes, calling somebody “deplorable” who screams hate at the top of their lungs while using a rebel flag as a backdrop had clearly crossed a line. Shame on you, Hillary — and that awful Chelsea, too, just for good measure.
For the record, in that very speech and only sentences later, Hillary also said the other half of the Trump supporters felt the government had let them down and needed understanding and empathy.
This was also true, but no less a fact than the screaming Deporables who most definitely belonged in that basket, and preferably one with a locking lid.
It took watching but one of Trump’s campaign rallies to see what kind of basket cases we are talking about. Their guy dodged drafts, didn’t pay taxes, conned school kids out of money, bankrupted businesses, rubbed elbows and toes with Putin, ogled beauty contestants and assaulted women. But on cue , it was Hillary who they hollered at to be locked up.
Look, I know plenty of Trump supporters, and while I wouldn’t call ’em deplorable, I admit that since the election we don’t talk like we used to. Oh there are a few who I’ve banished from my Facebook feed, but for now I choose to credit the other friends I’m not talking to for seeing and feeling something in this country that I so clearly didn’t. And, frankly, still don’t.
So I clench my teeth and reckon we both see the same world through cavernous blind spots and tricky political winds. Turns out I know many of “those guys” but we don’t seem to recognize each other anymore. Whether we’ll ever be able to look at each other again and sit down and talk about it is open for question. That it’s come to this at all is doing my heart no good. Scary times.
SPOILER ALERT: In the movie, pushed to desperation, Butch and Sundance finally say the hell with it and jump off a cliff to escape “those guys.” It is nice to know I have options.