Opinion: The Donald Brings a Wild Trumpus to Burlington | Off Message

Opinion: The Donald Brings a Wild Trumpus to Burlington


"The Man Who Would Be King" - MARC NADEL
  • Marc Nadel
  • "The Man Who Would Be King"
To celebrate New Year’s Eve, leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump dropped a fat orange turd in Vermonters’ punch bowl. Just as the vegan kale dips were emerging from fridges all across the Green Mountain State, the Trump campaign announced its plan to park its bluster-fuck reality show deep in the bleeding heart of Burlington. The event — billed for 7 p.m. Thursday on the Main Stage of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts — will be held just across the street from Burlington City Hall, a visible flip of the bird away from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) old mayor's office.

Precisely on schedule, Vermont’s liberal social media sites went into warp drive. As their apoplexy subsided, local progressives began brainstorming suitable responses to the billionaire blowhard, including a petition drive calling on the Flynn to cancel the event. Thankfully, the petition was yanked long before its self-evident hypocrisy sparked an embarrassing lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont.

Since then, other lefty calls to public action have appeared, most of which have sounded about as moving as a laxative ad. To paraphrase a few:

Get a free ticket to the Trump rally, then refuse to show up — gasp! — thereby leaving the theater half empty. Because nothing cows unbridled tyranny like a row of vacant seats and short lines for the toilets.

Alternatively, sit in the audience, then stand up and turn one’s back when Trump takes the stage and begins to speak. “Shirttails tucked or untucked? Discuss. We need consensus, people!”

Shout and chant down Trump’s xenophobic and hate-filled speech. Because he’ll never see that coming.

Didn’t score a golden ticket to Trumpapalooza? No problem. On Tuesday night, the Burlington-based Peace & Justice Center announced a Get Out Trump March. (Catchy title, but shouldn’t there be a comma in there?) The festivities begin at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at the top of Church Street and will involve the inevitable banging of drums and blowing of whistles, many of which were used last week on New Year’s Eve and will be repurposed again next month for Burlington’s Mardi Gras parade. This event promises less drunkenness but more liberal doses of ponytails and white folk with dreadlocks.

The noisemaking is expected to cease at 5 p.m. when a silent candlelight vigil commences at the corner of Main and St. Paul streets. As the organizers’ Facebook page notes, “The opposite of strife is love, the salve for a scream is compassionate silence.” Should make for scintillating media coverage, as nothing kills in broadcast news like dead air.


Hey, I totally understand the urge to confront the rise of neofascism in American mainstream politics — and to do so with all the civility and politesse that Vermonters typically bring to town meetings and farmers' market craft-beer-and-cheese pairings.

But this CANNOT be all the Queen City musters when the grand marshal of the GOP clown parade rolls into town. Someone please tell me the Sisters LeMay are dressing up like Trump and his three wives, because they’re “family-values” gals, too? That we’ll see a Trump Pet Lookalike Contest, with categories for both house pets and livestock? A pin-the-comb-over-on-the-jackass tournament? Anyone? Hello?

Vermonters need to face up to a hard, ugly truth: It'll make little difference whether we feed or starve this troll. Either way, Trump will get what he paid for: national headlines showing him lifting his hind leg on Bernie’s front stoop. That’s a done deal. And if a few Jägermeister-fueled frat boys overturn a falafel stand or a police cruiser, Trump wins a bonus news cycle of shit-eating smirks and “told-ya-so” chest-pokes aimed at Bernie and his supporters.

Vermont gave the world Bread & Puppet Theater, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the snowboard, Phish, Heady Topper, billboard-free highways and Vermont pure maple syrup signs that look like a man in rumpled trousers pissing into a bucket. Surely the Queen City, which hosts the annual Festival of Fools, can serve up a more satirical Trump roast than a meager locavore sampler platter of earnest hashtags, disapproving scowls and recycled MLK quotes.

Trump certainly didn’t invent the three-ring circus and freak show that is 21st Century American politics. He just markets it like a Jersey Shore casino owner. It’s my hope that Vermonters greet his dog-and-pony show with actual dogs and ponies. Think less Peace & Justice Center and more The Onion, less #Black Lives Matter rally than Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. (Need some clever sign ideas? Click here.)

Thankfully, a few folks are already getting in character. Trumprov, an hour of “off-the-wall, ridiculous, no-holds-barred comedy based on all things Donald,” is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at the Vermont Comedy Club. It promises to amuse and abuse in high satirical style.

For those more inclined to take to the streets, here are some suggestions for last-minute craft projects, performance art and/or business ventures:

Make Trump-red ball caps that read, “Make America Grate Again,” with big, floppy dildos mounted on top. Instant collectors' items! Add clown makeup, costumes and oversized shoes. Then on Friday, check national news sites to see which photo editors had the cojones to publish a crowd shot of dickhead clowns.

Create a life-size version of “Trump Cards Against Humanity” to create mix-and-match protest slogans. The intermingling of black-and-white cards will especially irk racial purists everywhere.

Build a larger-than-life paper maché Trump piñata, then invite Vermont’s undocumented dairy workers — most of whom are Mexican nationals who’ll face deportation if he gets elected — to beat it to a pulp. Fill it with one-way bus tickets back to the Mexican border, where they’ll be offered non-union, minimum-wage jobs building Trump’s Great Wall of Mexico and Desert Resort.

Organize a Trump White House Casino in City Hall Park. Sure, everybody loses and goes bankrupt, but all proceeds get donated to local charities that Trump would surely add to the national terrorist watch list, such as the Islamic Center of Vermont and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont.

Finally, download a copy of Marc Nadel’s truly inspired illustration of Trump as Fat Elvis, titled “The Man Who Would Be King.” Add your own Elvis-inspired caption and turn it into a sticker or protest sign. My personal favorite: “Love me legal tender…”

Or, post your own caption below.