The blurt culture in American culture continues to metastasize as Donald Trump ascends closer and closer to the GOP presidential nomination. By the way, that lede sentence? In a better world, it should’ve been relegated to a satirical dystopian movie about 2015. It shouldn’t be happening, and yet it is. Of course, it’s no mystery as to why. The Republican Party has been laying the groundwork for the emergence of a successful Trump candidacy for many, many years now, beginning with Ronald Reagan, then with Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and Karl Rove, the tea party and blurt-driven Fox News Channel. Mix in a heaping pile of reality television to prime the pump and here we are.
By way of review, the blurt culture is self-explanatory. Trump blurts things out. It’s what he does. He’s a YouTube commenter or a Twitter troll with less tact. And, not astonishingly, it’s working. But the obvious problem here is that anyone can blurt, while the American presidency requires discipline, an even-temper and public decorum. Trump possesses exactly none of those traits. Fortunately, however, he stands very little chance of winning in the general election since most of the crazies who love him are deeply entrenched in the far-right base, and that’s not enough to win nationally.
Nevertheless, a dangerous side-effect of Trump’s success is, now, his rivals are slowly adapting to the blurt culture. One of the first was a natural fit. Chris Christie has been blurting inappropriate things for some time now, but it was strictly reserved for telling off a reporter or shouting down a guy at the boardwalk. Now, however, Christie is incorporating it into his debate style and, as of this past weekend, his policy proposals.
You may have heard that Christie announced his latest idea for solving the immigration problem.
“I’m going to have Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, come work for the government for three months. Just come for three months to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and show these people,” the New Jersey governor said at a town hall event here.
“You go online and at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is,” he said. “Yet we let people come into this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.”
Christie added, “We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in and then when your time is up,” he said.
First of all, I’d love to hear the conspiracy theorist far-right comment on this one, since it’d likely require some sort of RFID chip implanted under the skin of anyone who enters the United States. Christie, specifically, wants to track anyone with visas because, he says, around 40 percent of people who enter legally remain here illegally. So the tracking system would at least cover nearly half of undocumented workers.
But it’s unclear what the hell FedEx technology has to do with this. The technology used by FedEx is reserved for packages that are individually scanned and tracked from destination to destination. Is Christie honestly suggesting we do this to human beings? How the hell would that work? More importantly, how badly would this violate the civil liberties and privacy rights of visitors to our country? Furthermore, how would Christie propose we pay for such a program? Again, here we have another conservative who suddenly loves frivolous government spending on a preposterous idea.
Broadly speaking, nothing quite says “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” quite like stopping every immigrant at the airport and implanting a tracking chip under their skin so Chris Christie can monitor everything they do. Along those lines, how does eavesdropping upon every immigrant line up with the concept of American Exceptionalism, or the image of the U.S. as a shining city on a hill?
Ah, fuck it. The details don’t matter in the blurt culture.
This FedEx idea? It’s pure Trump. It’s Christie devising something that makes sense to the slack-jawed yokels, but which is completely impractical and unconstitutional. He’ll never elaborate on exactly how he plans to implement such a law because he doesn’t have to, just as long as the googly-eyed GOP bubble dwellers blindly repeat the idea to their friends.
It’s seriously an Idiocracy solution. Christie is this close to suggesting we solve the California drought by watering our crops with Brawndo. After all, it’s got electrolytes, and if it works on people, it should work on plants, too, right? Seriously, this is where the Republican Party is heading. More than anything else, it’s incumbent upon the Democrats to resist the urge to follow suit. If they don’t, we’re truly fucked.