This week America shocked the world when it became clear that GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is in fact none other than actor Reginald Beasley. I am meeting him at the tiny Lena Coffee Shop in Greenwich Village New York. I arrive a little early and find a spot at the window. A few minutes later a bald guy with a stubble comes in and glances around. Only then do I realize that this is in fact the ex-Donald; Reginald Beasley. I introduce myself and he grabs a stool next to me.
You have ditched the comb-over?
Yeah, I have been Donald Trump for such a long time, I need to change things up a little to get back to being me.
Are you happy you can drop the act now?
Mixed feelings I guess. It was demanding to drag around an ego the size of Jupiter all the time, but to be honest I did fall in love with the guy. I have been playing this role for 36 years, I am not sure I can just drop the act. I might be the first person ever to say “I have to reinvent myself” without that phrase being complete and utter bullshit.
Well, I have to congratulate you, because it truly was the role of a lifetime. You completely fooled me and millions of others.
Thank you, but this was a group effort. I could never have done this alone. America as a nation really came together to pull this off.
Yes, I heard you say this at your announcement and I have to say I am still stunned. Do you really mean that every American was in on the act? If I just try to imagine the coördination and dedication that would require… Isn’t it all a bit overdone? All this, just to shout “fooled you!” at the rest of the world?!
No, not at all. This is not just some elaborate joke. When we started this in the eighties, we knew there would come a time when this would be sorely needed.
Democracy and freedom are precious, but also extremely fragile. Look at the democracies in Europe right now and how they are under fire. Extremists and a weak economy; people are scared. It is the ideal breeding ground for populist bigots. Point a finger and yell “they are stealing your jobs, they are here to destroy your way of life” and then role with that.
The American democracy has always been able to resist these forces. But we feel an obligation to the rest of the world. Heck, most democracies wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for us. We could have pointed our finger and say “hey, you shouldn’t vote for a populist xenophobe” or “don’t let the media dictate your elections and wipe out all nuances and reason”. But we didn’t, instead we chose to show what can happen and then let people decide for themselves what they think about that.
And what a show it was! Are you happy with the result?
To be honest, I am a bit disturbed about how well it went. I thought that it was a bit grotesque and over the top at some stages. More than once I told John Landis the director of this thing “hey Johny they will never buy this!” But you always did! I am actually slightly offended that the rest of the world thinks so little of us. That they really believe Americans could be so stupid.
I guess we wanted to teach the rest of the world, but we learned something ourselves in the process as well. You can be the shining beacon of democracy and freedom for years, but that does not mean you gain a favorable image.
Still I hope it served its purpose. I hope people in other democracies will think twice before stepping into the voting booth.
Wouldn’t it have been better if you played this out longer? Let the Donald win the election and show us what happens next?
Hey come on, there is only so much we can do. We have a real election coming up and the next few months Americans have to face the real responsibilities of free citizens. We have to weigh arguments and make a well informed decision on who we want to lead this country for the coming years. Americans know: with great freedom, comes great responsibility. In a way, what comes now is act two of the same play. First we show you an election process that is a disgrace and now we show you what it should be like.
And after that it is up to the rest of the world to decide where they want to go from here.
Hey, I have to go, I have rehearsals for a Shakespeare play I am in. Do stick around and try the macarons, they are delicious, the owner is French…
Wait Reginald, one last question! After your big reveal I started to look into a few things and I just have to know; Kanye West, is he real?
Well, either Americans don’t mind indulging someone who values the self over everything else, or there is another lesson to be learned. What do you think?