The Devil on Trump's Shouder
The Enigma that is Katrina Pierson
Katrina Pierson could have been the poster child of the American dream.
Correction: Katrina Pierson is THE American Dream; Albeit, an enigma more than a straight forward conceptualization of what it means to be American and come fully into the birthright of the freedoms and associated choices that are for some, distinctly attached to being American. Ms. Pierson is brash, beautiful, charismatic. She boasts a typical rags to riches story. Yet almost in defiance of her own truths, Ms. Pierson is an enigma, revealing to be much more complex than the breezy, more often than not harsh criticisms of her and more specifically, her role as the campaign spokesperson for the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Ms. Pierson, 40, is the fabled American dream filtered through an abstract lens, more in need of decoding and interpreting than the neat, more easily digestible black and white dreams of Barack and Michelle Obama or Bill Clinton.
The former presidents, like Ms. Pierson, were the children of single mothers, both from poverty. Clinton's mother was a waitress and often bragged her son resembled, Elvis. Obama's mother, was an academic who met his father while they both studied at Harvard and he recalls her waking him before dawn to study. These stories - these recollections resonate with us as Americans. We cleave unto them as we forge ahead in our own lives, against the backdrop of our individual challenges.
Ms. Pierson exists in full color, a kaleidoscope of experiences colliding with traditional ideals of feminism, diplomacy and the current political landscape. She is, with her unapologetic rejection of all things politically correct and razor sharp determination, more the American dream than many would care to admit or even acknowledge exists within themselves. A young mother birthed of a young mother, arrested for shoplifting as a teenager - she offers no explanation or apologies. When encountered with her own brash words on Islam or any other controversial topic, she simply shrugs. It is what it is, she seems to say. The media to her is a tool to be utilized, a pesky fly in the soup that she simply plucks out with forefinger and thumb and continues her meal.
In an election campaign unprecedented in its endless controversies and virulent mudslinging, Pierson is the dream as it is currently defined. She is the dream as individually interpreted. This is the fundamental beauty of the American dream, it is open to choice. Pierson is unabashed in her speech and alliances. She wears a necklace forged from bullets and tweets on the purity of ethnicity, specifically targeting President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama's father was African and Mr. Romney's father was born in Mexico.
The Genesis of a Paradox
The daughter of a teenage white mother and black father, she was raised on welfare and her mother having given birth to Ms. Pierson at 15 years old, struggled with the decision of whether or not to put her up for adoption. This was her beginning.
Hand-picked, by Donald Trump, Ms. Pierson calls into question the very same programs that provided her sustenance as a child and has aligned herself with a campaign promising to "Make America Great Again." A campaign call that can be darkly interpreted as subversively racist and at the very least, dangerous in its implications given Trump's tireless verbal assault on all things non-white, and all things immigrant.
And so we return to Ms. Pierson. She, who in a recent interview with Wolff Blitzer, defended Trump's attack on a Gold Star family, the Khans - a Pakistani-American, Muslim family, who in 2004 lost their son, United States Army Captain Humayun Khan in Iraq. He was tragically killed in a suicide bomber attack. An attack, Ms. Pierson inaccurately blamed on Obama and Hillary Clinton. In 2004, most of the nation had not heard of Barack Obama and Clinton was Senator of New York.
Ms. Pierson stared unflinching into the lens of the camera and questioned the need for Trump to personally apologize. She defended Trump saying he was attacked by Mr. Khan, the father of the fallen soldier and further asserted his inherent right to defend himself. She seemed and apparently was perplexed by the hoopla surrounding the event and dismissed it as the media's misinterpretation. When repeatedly questioned on Trump's apology to the Khans, she staunchly and repeatedly replied that Trump had apologized by honoring the dead soldier.
In electric blue eye shadow and Betty Page reminiscent red lips, Ms. Pierson is the face and voice of the Trump Campaign, but alas she is more than a mere voice. Research into what got Ms. Pierson on the tips of tongues and before the cameras of CNN and MSNBC, reveals a strategist hellbent on seizing opportunity.
Poltico.com, describes Ms. Pierson as a one time Ted Cruz loyalist who has been pegged by some who know her as a media savvy former Democrat, with plans of launching her own fashion line and describe her "as a much better fit for Trump than Cruz."
According to National Review.com, Ms. Pierson's first foray into politics was as a disappointed 2008 voter for Barack Obama. She became a member of the conservative Tea Party and gave a seven minute speech at Dallas Tea Party Tax Day Rally. The National Review has written that in Ms. Pierson, Trump has found an alliance with someone whose, "relationship to conservatism and to the truth, is as elastic as his own."
Perched on Trump's Shoulder
Ms, Pierson is woman who once aligned herself with the conservative Tea Party and Ted Cruz. Her present status as Trump's Campaign Spokesperson is a quite a distance from the realities of a single mother who once collected welfare and unemployment benefits (while working on the Cruz campaign).
The government benefits that once provided fragile stability to Ms. Pierson, she now decries. Ms. Pierson in her customary manner of strategically appealing to the conservative right, would now like to see these programs no longer made available to families, who like her in the past, find themselves barely clinging to the fragile safety nets put in place to keep them from being swallowed by poverty.
Yet, Ms. Pierson's politics, in this instance are not singularly the cause for one to be confused. At least for many who are not so different from her, a woman of color, emerged from poverty, a single parent, are mystified by this woman who like her boss, seems to come without a filter or awareness of the other side of life for millions of Americans.
The question remaining and collectively haunting those watching the Trump Campaign progress, is whether or not Ms. Pierson needs a filter? Does muzzling her really quiet what she communicates? In a country divided on policy changes and the guarantees of freedom as put forth in the United States Constitution, her opinions are not singular. The pressing policies demanding immediate action, such as gun control, immigration, taxes and equitable distribution of wealth loom as dark clouds threatening a thunderstorm of conflict and Ms. Pierson, is perhaps nothing more or less than a storm chaser.
Is Katrina Pierson in need of quieting or is she simply, just another voice in the conservative right-wing fray? And why should any of these voices take precedence over the other or be less quiet?
Trump could arguably be given a pass for not understanding the poor or what it means to be non-white - he is after-all, a white male born into money and his experiences have not traversed many - in fact most Americans - not the America of 2016. Ms. Pierson, however is another story. In the context of Trump, Ms. Pierson is literally and figuratively, the antithesis of his experience.
Differences aside, Ms. Pierson has managed to has managed to find commonality with Trump's message and this is what she proffers as her reasons for supporting him and the Tea Party. Ms. Pierson, once the little girl lost - found a home in the most unlikely of places.
According to the United States Census, "The fastest percentage growth is among multiracial Americans, followed by Asians and Hispanics. Non-hispanic whites make up 63 percent of the U.S.; Hispanics, 17 percent; blacks, 12.3 percent; Asians, 5 perccent; and multiracial Americans, 2.4 percent. About 353 of the nation's 3,143 counties, or 11 percent, are now "majority-minority."
So exactly what does all of this data mean when placed in the context of Ms. Pierson? It furthers her as a paradox, an enigma that incidentally furthers the Trump campaign from the lives of many Americans - those living in a country he intends to make "Great Again."
There is Trump in all of his brashness and likely privilege and then there is Ms. Pierson. A woman heralding from poverty and a multi-racial woman decrying the ethnicity of others. Ms. Pierson has evidenced in countless interviews a frail grasp of history or diplomatic etiquette. Given these frailities and shortcomings, it would be too easy to write her off as being irrelevant. What is most perplexing and simultaneously charismatic about Ms. Pierson, is that she is more American than we would all care to admit. There is a seed of Ms. Pierson in every one of us.
Ms. Pierson is a story of survival, of overcoming and adapting. We may not like the package or the message, but can we collectively deny her exercise of her individual freedoms are not a blasphemy but rather an exercise in living the promises of the United States Constitution?
The bullet necklace, the tweets, the unabashed opinions - are these not what we champion as Americans? The fact that she was hand picked by Trump to be the spokesperson for his presidential campaign, given the Ms. Pierson we have come to know, seems to be a strategic and dare it be written, a wise choice for Donald Trump - she is not the devil in the blue dress or the angel in his ear, perhaps he has Melania Trump to provide mashups of scripture for that task.
No, Ms. Pierson is in the trenches with Trump - deflecting assaults and firing back. She is in fact, every much his intellectual equal as any woman could anticipate being with Trump. Ms. Pierson is not a mere whisperer or distraction, she is the devil perched on Trump's shoulder, which is of course is her choice, her exercise of liberty as promised by the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution.