No, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon Did Not Predict the Presidency of Donald Trump
My morbid curiosity sometimes leads me to check out the Facebook profiles of the army of Deplorables littering the internet with rabidly pro-Trump sentiments. During one of these online rambles I encountered a post in which an unflattering image of John Lennon is accompanied by a quote attributed to him reading, “I honestly beleive (sic) that the only way we are going to get ourselves out of the messes we’ve created for ourselves is to find strong and independant leaders. It’s going to take a revolution. Electing someone that isn’t a politician is the only way. Perhaps a business man.”
Needless to say, this Trump supporter was tickled pink that in addition to being one of his favorite musicians, Lennon seemingly endorsed Donald Trump as President decades before the man seriously contemplated running for office.
Now there are, as you might imagine, a few minor inconsistencies with this Trump fan’s post. For starters, the quote lists 1981 as the year Lennon issued his suspiciously prescient comment about the need for a businessman chief executive to save us from politicians and since Lennon was murdered on December 8th, 1980, he was too busy being dead to play pop Nostradamus and pine for a billionaire strongman.
Needless to say, the Socialist who asked us to imagine a world with religion or possessions seems like an unlikely advocate for a businessman-led “revolution” and I’d like to believe that whoever jotted down Lennon’s uncanny quote for posterity would be capable of spelling words like “believe” and “independent.”
When I pointed out to the gentleman who posted the meme that it’s doubtful a Socialist who died in 1980 would be pining desperately for a businessman leader in 1981 he filtered this inconvenient truth through a Donald Trump prism of self-serving paranoia and said that maybe the Fake News media, being inveterate screw-ups (although this gent did not of course use words like “inveterate”) got the date wrong, and only reported on Lennon’s comment after he died.
I’d previously come across a variation on the “Beloved dead icon seems to long for a Donald Trump Presidency long before it became a horrifying possibility” in a quickly and widely debunked viral quote attributed to “Curt Cobain” in 1993: “In the end I believe my generation will surprise everyone. We both know that both political parties are playing both sides from the middle and we’ll elect a true outsider when we fully mature. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not a business tycoon who can’t be bought and who does what’s right for the people, someone like Donald Trump, as crazy as that sounds.”
These manufactured quotes echo a strain in Evangelical Christian political thinking that posits Trump’s Presidency as the realization of biblical prophecy. There’s a distinct subset of Trump voter who very much believes that Jesus Himself put a thrice-married gambling tycoon and poster boy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House to help protect our pure White Christian nation from brown-skinned Muslims and queer atheists hellbent on our destruction.
It’s easy to see why Trump supporters look to the bible and fictionalized quotes from dead leftist icons like Lennon and Cobain for evidence that Donald Trump should be President. You can’t really make any kind of logical, reason-based argument for Donald Trump as President. You can’t argue that Trump has the judgment and disposition for the job, or anything in the way of relevant experience. That would be insane. He has no relevant experience and the judgment and disposition of Tony Montana at the end of Scarface.
The facts sure don’t support Trump as President so his die-hards have gone to a place beyond facts, beyond reason, to a land of mysticism and religion where Trump’s election is the realization of either biblical prophecy or a deep craving within our most beloved and revered songwriter-philosophers for a rich businessman to save us from the, uh, greed and self-interest of regular politicians. Because God (who incidentally put Trump in office) knows nobody is less greedy or self-interested than someone who has devoted their entire lives to making money.
But there’s another element at play as well. Trump and his minions constantly rail against black athletes for being whiny, entitled, traitorous babies who should shut the fuck up and entertain them instead of getting all political. But if an athlete endorses Trump then they’re a rebellious and brave iconoclast. The same goes for celebrities and the news. Trump depicts celebrities as traitorous phonies and the news as a fraudulent enemy of the people but if celebrities like Scott Baio or Fox News gush about Trump’s genius, then suddenly celebrities and the media have value after all, and should be protected and defended at all costs. Trump and his supporters pine for celebrity approval so badly (even as they disparage celebrities as a group) that they'll seemingly settle for dead, fake ones.
The Trump folks are so devoid of high-profile fans of the President that they’re reduced to putting Trump-loving words in the mouths of dead celebrities who cannot defend themselves as a way of making Trump’s Presidency seem like the culmination of pop art prophecy, and not a terrible cosmic mistake that speaks incriminating volumes about the American people, but not, it should be noted, anything about Lennon or Cobain. They had many flaws. Being onboard the Trump train before it was even built, alas, is not one of them.
Kurt Cobain and John Lennon both predicted that you would have crazy good luck and probably win the lottery if you pledge to this site’s Patreon page over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace so if you would consider pledging as little as a dollar a month, it’d be