Sunday, January 22, 2017

Styrofoam Cake: Perfect Symbol for Trump's Presidency

Donald Trump commissioned his inaugural cake to be identical to President Obama's cake from 2012. (See photo above: Obama's is on the left. Click here for the story.) While this may seem a bit strange, it's not what I find most fascinating about this bizarre story. As an English teacher deeply interested in literary symbolism, I was captivated by the fact that the cake was fake.
The cake is made of Styrofoam.
Only one portion of the cake--the part that is ceremoniously cut--is edible; the rest is a facade, just like our current president himself. More than a successful real estate mogul or casino owner, Trump is a brand. He has amassed much of his fortune based on his name, through licensing deals with golf courses and land development.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, what's in a brand? It is not land, natural resources, or gold. While extremely valuable, a brand is a formless phantasm. Like Trump himself, it lacks substance. Besides his mythical wall and a promised return to Reagan-era tax breaks for the wealthy, I can't identify any solid policy that Trump has proposed.

Because he hasn't proposed any. Trump got elected because of his ambiguity, not despite it. Like his shallow cake, he has no political platform other than a vague agenda to "make America great again," which is a campaign slogan, not legislation or policy.

Just as with so much of Trump, his Styrofoam cake is phony--a sugary veneer covering a sterile, unpalatable core.

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