Light flickers across the wall as he stumbles down the stairs at half past midnight. The television set, though muted, remains on. A rerun of Magnum, P.I. catches his attention. He pauses, looking for the remote control so he can hear Tom Selleck's dulcet tones, but it's nowhere to be found. His wife, seduced away from home by the luster of a paycheck, has not placed the remote where it's easily accessible. By the time he locates it and turns the volume up, Magnum, P.I. has ended. In its place is a gritty crime drama starring a woman and a black man. There is too much sexual tension between them for his comfort, and watching as they crack wise to their white superior is terribly unpleasant. The white superior is a fool, a Falstaff who exists only for the amusement of the audience. This is what men have been reduced to.
The man is hungry. He calls out for his wife ... but she has already left for work.
Who will remember him, this forgotten man? President-elect Donald J. Trump. Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said of his campaign: "I feel like my Republican party was veering dangerously close to becoming the party of the elites for a number of years, and I'm just glad it's the party of the forgotten man and forgotten woman."
But who is this forgotten man? Is he the character in a poorly rendered Jon McNaughton painting finished as a thesis project in an online Thomas Kinkade art course? The one where a white man sits on a bench, surrounded by enraged presidents, watching as Barack Obama — you know, the one with the sinfully nightfall complexion — steps all over the Constitution?
After all, Obama is the first president to flagrantly ignore our country's foundational document. Sure, Abraham Lincoln declared war without a congressional declaration, and Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the illegal Lend-Lease Act, and Richard Nixon refused to spend congressional funds for two years, and Ronald Reagan violated the Boland Amendment, and George W. Bush routinely ignored constitutional separation of powers. But only Obama invited rappers into the White House instead of headliners from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour! It's frankly insidious.
The majority of working-class Americans aren't even white. People of color make up a large part of America's working class and those who live at or below the poverty line. But they've had a president who represents them, one from the crack-infested ghetto of Harvard University, one who wanted to help them perpetuate black-on-black crime, which is definitely a real thing because if your aunt says it on Facebook, it must be true.
But the forgotten man is angry about more than what Obama has done. He's part of a swath of men in this country who feel abandoned. Bush promised to leave no child behind in 2001, but what about the white man? The white man who used to go to his manufacturing job to provide for his family? More than 4.5 million of those jobs are gone. Even when factories have returned, the jobs haven't. Sure, the forgotten man could blame technology or globalization for his current state, he could take a coding class at the local community college so he could enter a new workforce, but why should he be stripped of his God-given right to blame a black man and his Pirelli's Miracle Elixir of PC culture and immigrants stealing American jobs?
As Ralph Ellison once wrote, "I remember that I am invisible and walk softly so as not to awaken the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers." Black men — denied jobs, housing, and humanity post-slavery — were once the invisible man in society, but now society has imperceptibility returned to its H.G. Wells roots. The white man has reclaimed his status as the forgotten man. His multiplexes are full of unfamiliar faces, unlike the days of Flash Gordon battling multicolored aliens. Liberals and elites fight over whether white women should be able to portray Asians in movies, not about what's truly important. The forgotten man can't even log on to Facebook and share a meme comparing Obama to the simian murderer in the Rue Morgue without being assailed by an advertisement for Black Lives Matter.
American was once considered a melting pot, but at some point, the stew became overwhelmingly spicy. What used to call for a tablespoon of immigrant here and there, mostly from European countries, now has had to absorb heaps of flavors from every corner of the globe. But now, with Trump about to take the highest office in the nation, the forgotten man shall be forgotten no more. This Thanksgiving, the very souls of the Native Americans will be restless as he stands at the head of the dinner table, finally able to feed his family once more — not with food, of course, but with his Rust Belt–bred resolve. The forgotten man has finally been heard.