Trump shared this paranoia-stoking meme the day after he became the third American president in history to be impeached. It shows Trump pointing his finger like Uncle Sam, with all caps text, saying IN REALITY an unnamed THEY are after YOU – presumably Trump supporters.
I don’t follow Trump on Twitter, so I didn’t see it at the time. But a quick scan of the comments and the replies shows that many people who reacted to it in real time simply contradicted the statement, replying to the President that, No, they are definitely after him.“
I saw it for the first time recently on Facebook, shared by someone I’ve known since grade school. As someone who wanted to see Trump both impeached and removed, I identified myself as part of the THEY. But unlike the anti-Trump comments I saw on Twitter, I agreed with the words in this stupid meme – in a way. In fact, I think most of us in this THEY would agree, in a qualified way, that THEY’RE AFTER YOU.
What do THEY want from YOU?
THEY is a diverse group. THEY don’t all want precisely the same things. THEY are after the YOU implied in this meme – but not in the round-YOU-up-and-enslave-YOU sense, or whatever anxious nerve Trump is poking with his stubby little finger as he portrays himself as the protector of YOU.
The Constructive Critics
Some of the THEY really just would like to see YOU try a little harder to engage with rules of evidence – or at least rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. THEY really think it’s a small thing to ask of YOU, and YOU will be so much better off for it. But the poor examples set by Trump – his error-filled Tweets and speech, and his assaults on reality – are in the way of YOU’s self-improvement.
The Social Workers
Some members of THEY believe deep down that YOU are good, but misguided; THEY have not written YOU off. But THEY despair that Trump is in YOU’s way, blocking the path to redemption.
By contrast, another faction within THEY has no hope for YOU. To them, YOU are lowly and despicable and/or hopelessly gullible. But THEY take pleasure in reminding YOU how THEY feel about YOU. But Trump is in the way – insulating YOU from the full sting of their ridicule.
It’s true that THEY, in all their manifestations, would be more than happy to collect YOU and Trump as necessary trophies – YOU redeemed or crushed, Trump locked up, and Trumpism decisively discredited. But, if I dare to speak for all the factions of THEY: YOU aren’t what THEY want at all.