The current season of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver ended in spectacular fashion on the back of a spectacularly terrible year. And that is why Oliver literally sets the year on fire in a way that would make John McClane proud. But before the HBO show signed off until the New Year Sunday, Oliver and his always-brilliant writing staff dragged us through the deepest, oozing wound of 2016— the presidential election of Donald Trump, which was the shows one and only topic of the night.
Early in the episode Oliver addressed this concept of “giving Donald Trump a chance,” a sentiment either said literally or at even echoed just through the tone of even the billionaire’s biggest detractors’ post-election statements and reactions.
“Optimism is nice if you can swing it. But you have to be careful because it can feed into he normalization of Donald Trump. And he is not normal. He is abnormal. He is a human what-is-wrong-with-this-picture?” Oliver says. “He sticks out like a sore thumb; and frankly he even looks like a sore thumb. So giving him a chance, in the sense of not speaking out against immediately of policies he’s proposed is dangerous—because some of them are alarming.”
If you’ve been sleeping the last 18 months or were one of those Trump supporters who voted for him in spite of his obvious sociopathy, then here’s a wee review: He said he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare (never mind the 20 million who are currently enrolled); he wants to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and he wants Mexico – one of the poorest nations on the planet – to pay for it; he wants to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, including children; he wants to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and hopefully jail Hillary Clinton (despite the fact she’s been cleared multiple times by the FBI re emails as well as the deaths in Benghazi, an investigation that was, by all accounts, more costly and time consuming than the investigation into the 9/11 attacks); and he wants to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US.
Not to mention he also says he wants to start suing journalists who write “negative” – or whatever he deems “false” – stories about him. The problem there, though, is that he doesn’t know what’s true or false. Later in the episode Oliver throws to an appearance Trump made on The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, a place where Trump is rarely, if ever, challenged. Bill O’Reilly called Trump out for tweeting out shooting statistics, one of which was that 81 percent of whites killed are killed by blacks. The number, as O’Reilly points out, is actually 15 percent.
Trump’s response? “Hey, Bill, am I gonna check EVERY statistic?”
No. Not EVERY stat, Mr. Trump. But how about the ones you tweet out to your 15 million followers?
And that is the evil genius at work here. Weird conspiracy bullshit has always been bubbling under the surface but Trump was the first major party candidate to harness and fully legitimize it. He came along and told millions of people that every crazy email you ever forwarded was true. And that, at least in part, is why he will be our next president.
Don’t move to Canada… “We’re going to need to stay here and fight—and not just politically in four years when he’s up for re-election. But constantly monitoring legislation as it moves through Congress and fucking voting when your legislators come up for re-election in two years. But that is still below the barest minimum of what is needed. Because for the last eight years we had a president we can generally assume would stand up for the rights of all Americans. But that is going to change now. So we’re going to have to actively stand up for one another. And it can’t be just sounding off on the Internet or sharing think pieces or videos like this one that echo around your bubble. I’m not talking about actual sacrifice to support people who are now under threat.
Keep reminding yourself that this is not normal…because a Klan-backed, misogynist Internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union Address and that is not normal. It is fucked up. And the only thing that gives me one degree of comfort is that part of Trump might be realizing that too. (Goes to Trump’s video to meeting with Paul Ryan)