George Graham

Are We Being Punked?

trumpPTBARNUMIt’s the plot for a gripping reality TV show. In the world’s greatest democracy, a loose cannon emerges to challenge for the presidency. Nobody gives him a chance. A New York tabloid portrays him with a painted face and clown nose in announcing his candidacy.

But – surprise! – this TV celebrity, this riches-to-rags-to-riches tycoon, this sponsor of wild conspiracy theories… Yes this unlikely “clown”… attracts a massive following and stubbornly refuses to be toppled.

His campaign is one shock-jock outrage after another. Wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap words… Kindergarten-style personal insults… Preposterous proposals like building the Great Wall of China along the US-Mexico border and banning all Muslims from entering the country.

He says Mexico will pay for the wall.

(That one had a former Mexican president using a wash-your-mouth-out word, too – the one nobody is supposed to use but everybody does these days.)

He defends torture, promises to kill the families of terrorists (yes, even babies in the cradle), and contradicts himself with abandon. He waffles on support offered by the KKK, instigates a “pledge” that looks like the “hail Hitler!” salute, encourages supporters to manhandle hecklers at his rallies. He fights with news anchors and debate moderators, even defying his party’s TV mouthpiece…

And nothing dims his luster. He brags that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose his voters.

And, apparently, he is right.

Party elders are appalled. They publicly shudder to think of such a dangerous buffoon carrying their banner in the election for President.

Party icons give doom-and-gloom speeches, wag their fingers, shake their heads… All to no avail. There is talk of a rigged convention to nominate someone more… “presidential.”

Billions of ad dollars are assembled to block his catastrophic candidacy.

Now, we are told that a secret meeting was held… millionaires and CEOs huddling with party bosses to devise a strategy to block this undesirable and apparently inevitable nomination (not so “secret” that the media don’t find out, however).

It’s a compelling show. And it generates the kind of publicity nobody’s money could pay for.

The opposing party is all but shut out as the ongoing show hogs every news cycle.

And, as P.T. Barnum (lower picture) famously said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

You think we might be among those suckers who’re born every minute, as P.T. also observed?

You think this might be a “yuuuge!” publicity stunt? You think it might all be scripted and that “we the people” are being punked? I smell a rat.

Click for more on the secret meeting.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for