Charles Mudede published an article at the Stranger on December 7, 2017 entitled: How Trump Turned Christmas Films into Horror Films. His premise appears to be summarized with this statement:
Donald Trump has made Christmas movies into horror movies for anyone not born into the comforting illusions of white, small-town America.
His main conclusion:
But these people have revealed themselves to be Trump voters. They hate strangers, they have guns loaded and ready in their humble homes, they hang burning effigies of Obama from trees, they oppress their women, they do not care about climate change because only their God can bring the world to an end. And when it ends, only they will be saved. The rest of us will enter hell and be tortured by demons forever.
Mudede opens his article with his personal history and African heritage. Not all people celebrate holidays, like Christmas. And, there is nothing wrong with this. The first concerning aspect he mentions is coming from a home where heavy drinking is parlay with recovering from the evenings debauchery of drunkenness:
For my family, Christmas was a time to go to a loud bar, drink heavily, wake up late the next morning with a hangover, and have a big brunch with the hair of the dog.
Again, there does not appear to be anything wrong how one comes to celebrate particular holidays. The issue becomes quite apparent as the reader continues reading Mudede’s thoughts as he begins to describe rural America under the now Presidency of Donald Trump. More specifically, he makes specific innuendo’s to attack Christianity. He correlates the “Trump America” and Administration to an iconic film: It’s a Wonderful Life. His eisegesis becomes quite apparent.
It’s like a horror movie, the kind that takes place in a classically American small town. The people are friendly and satisfied with their quiet, normal way of life. But you can’t help feeling there is something that’s not quite right. While walking down the town’s main street one night, a person, usually a woman with frightened eyes, pulls you into an alley and warns you to get out of town before it is too late. You ask her to explain herself. But just as she is about to provide an answer, the sheriff with the Christmas lights appears out of nowhere and asks if everything is fine. The woman hurries off with her head down, and you are left looking after her and back at the sheriff with confusion, and then the strangely smiling sheriff offers to give you a ride back to your motel at the edge of town.
It seems there is a slight hint of paranoia within these particular words. While I do understand, and agree, that in small town and rural America, strangers are typically judged (no matter their heritage, race, or culture: Take for example the scene from Rambo when the Sheriff encountered Sylvester Stalone, a returning Vietnam Veteran). This reads more like a mystery novel than a sense of reality, or even of one’s perceived sense of reality. Yet, Mudede continues:
The terror arises from the disruption of the ordinary. It makes you realize that the ordinary is terrifying just as it is. This is how I now feel about small-town America in the age of Trump. How on earth can you be good people when you vote for a pussy grabber but can’t bring yourself to look at his own words?
The only reason the ordinary maybe terrifying is if one is prone to see it through a false sense of fear of what one may not know or what is unknown. Any town and person, if it is a new environment, may be terrifying. If one has become terrifying of small-town America because of who was voted into office, the issue is not with the external individuals and setting, it is the fear induced thought processing that leads to this false belief system. And, the basis for this? The mentioned of a privately filmed conversation between Trump and another individual. Yes, it is disgusting someone said this, however, how many times has Mudede may have said, or thought things that may be construed or interpreted as disgusting? However, we continue with the tie in to It’s a Wonderful Life:
Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life forged a permanent link in the popular imagination between the small American town and Christmas, and that iconography is the most identifiable trait of Christmas films from White Christmas to A Christmas Story to Gremlins. The main street and its family-owned businesses, the lonely country road, the little bridge over the frozen stream, the mat-stamping of freezing feet before one enters a home in the woods, the warming of cold hands at a fireplace, the smoke rising from the chimney, the tops of pine trees, the slowly falling snow. This is the structure of Christmas feeling. And It’s a Wonderful Life associated this feeling with the idea that small American towns were populated by the kindest humans in the world—hardworking, honest to God, ready to help when help was needed, and committed to the deepest and most ancient community values. The bad people were rich and individualistic. Money mattered to them more than the good of all.
Here is where we take the turn:
We’re now living in a world where the people of Bedford Falls have sided with nasty old Mr. Potter. Instead of banding together to bail George Bailey out of a jam with their nickels and dimes, they’ve formed a lynch mob to string him up. Donald Trump has made Christmas movies into horror movies for anyone not born into the comforting illusions of white, small-town America.
Mudede’s equating the alignment of good small-town, white, Christian American’s with the vote of Donald Trump as people moving to support “Mr. Potter” seems quite superficial and stretch. The only illusion is the soft fear-mongering employed in this elongated strawman argument, full of generalized ad hominems, and neatly wrapped in soft reverse racism and intolerance because it does not fit into Mudede’s worldview.
Far from the false interpretation of Mudedes premise, It’s a Wonderful life focuses more on the influence we each have on other people, and the lives of other people. Good, or bad. It’s unfortunately that based on his article, Mudede rather focus on his own apparent bitterness and resentment toward a holiday, people, and culture because he views these as a threat and fears such perceived threat.