Driving in to work this morning I found myself behind something so quintessentially American, so quintessentially 2018, that if I’d seen it on Facebook I’d have dismissed it as a plant from a Russian bot. If my phone had been accessible I might have photographed it.
“It” was a huge jacked-up Ford pickup, black rims, loud enough to be straight-piped and belching black smoke whenever he hit the pedal, which was frequently. Driving both aggressively and poorly. But oh my friends, it was the embellishments that really made this truck scream MURICA!
Dead center across the back window was the phrase “In GOD We Trust!”* The random capitalization and ironic quotation marks are reproduced verbatim. There were a couple of vinyl cutouts that I couldn’t quite identify, but one was very obvious: it was a portrait of 45, appropriately rendered in orange, and depicting him in one of his most iconic poses—finger in the air, scrunched-up piggy expression on his face (the only thing more iconic would have been the one where he’s mocking the disabled reporter). It wasn’t a flattering vinyl, and something tells me it wasn’t meant to be; what it was, was an honest depiction, showing simultaneously the truth of the man it depicted and that of his admirers. The whole thing was both hilarious and sad.
But it’s also reality. This is where we are in 21st century America, and this morning I caught a perfect glimpse of what the rest of the world sees when they look at us.
*My brain followed this up with the next line of the Ghost song and an Airghoul keytar solo.