Earlier this year, FX’s The People Vs. OJ Simpson acted as a dramatization of the events and trial surrounding the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. It used news accounts and literary sources to air a TV show version of the trial with some behind the scenes aspects.
ESPN went another way. Their documentary OJ: Made in America also aired in 5 parts, but the trial was limited to fewer than 2 installments. The series started with a college ball player who was a phenomenal Running Back with a magnetic personality that won people over. His early career was juxtaposed with the racial divide of the 1960’s and the activism of athletes like Cassius Clay. OJ wanted none of that. Everything he did was intended for people to not think about him being a Black man.
Narcissism is an aspect of everyone’s personality, but some people are absolutely full of it. If a narcissist can do something well, they will milk that ability for all it’s worth and eventually use it as a springboard to more fame and adulation. Because narcissists are so self-possessed, their actions are rarely private because they assume everyone will want to know about every aspect of their life. To all outside appearances, OJ was a friendly, kind and generous person. The love of others was his drug and it made him manic. Those who fell out of love, however, paid the price.
ESPN’s documentary was able to show OJ Simpson as someone who could be worshiped and exalted by others. While the documentary took a pretty apparent position that OJ was guilty, a number of people were interviewed who believed OJ was innocent for a long time and some who still thought he was innocent because they just could not get over his nice guy persona. One of the important things you could see in the series was how OJ could turn on that smile at a moment’s notice and use his charm to even win over people who were predisposed not to like him.
Somewhere along the way, it made me think about Donald Trump. Trump has one skill, making money from real estate. He may have gotten money from his father, he doesn’t pay contractors and declares bankruptcy, but he’s made money and he lives large. For decades, Trump has used his position as real estate mogul to become a media figure and charge people to use his name as a brand. What’s more, people love him for it.
This is the context in which I view the rabid Trump supporter. Trump’s charm is unconventional, but no less effective to at least a quarter of the population. Then there are those who have been broken to the point they won’t oppose him. Try to point out his flaws, and they will react in much the same way as Trump. They will personally attack you and point to Trump’s ability to win the Republican nomination (with about 40% of the vote). Trump almost never skips an opportunity to call his detractors losers, corrupt, ugly, failing or unable to use women as sex objects as effectively as he has.
Even this post will leave me open to charges of comparing Trump to a murderer. I find Trump sociopathic enough to not view anyone as important enough to posses because no one is as important as he is. He does things for the little guy and gives to charity because he knows all those anecdotes will get around and pay him a return. I’m not foolish enough to think he can’t win the election, I just think we can’t let him win the election for the sake of this country.