I wanna be a Cowboy

By Jonathan Blaustein 

Honestly, what can I say that hasn’t been said?

I’ve written about Trump in my weekly column, constantly, for the last 2 years. I was as guilty of preaching to the choir as anyone, but at the time, I felt like I was doing what I could.

A week later, and it’s obvious I was a lazy bastard, like the rest of us Blue State Americans. I thought spouting off once a week, and voting in November, was enough civic participation.

Clearly, I was wrong.

America wanted a cowboy President again, even if this one lives in a phallic tower, instead of a sprawling ranch. Now, before you stop me, I know that Trump is a businessman raised in Queens. I get it.

But I’d argue that America vacillates between our desire for a macho, swaggering leader, a Captain Kirk type, and our need for a super-smart, meritocratic Spock, who invariably cleans up Kirk’s mess. America is a bifurcated nation, and we behave that way come election time. Red/blue. City/country. Black/white. Liberal/Conservative.

Ensconced in our urban zones, or blue state enclaves, we lose touch with that more rugged America. The land of hunters, cowboys, rodeos, pickup trucks, mullets, and low-end beer. The Electoral College slightly favors that half of our society, and while we often bemoan it, there might be some logic to keeping the Country crew with some skin in the game.

Because there are a hell of a lot of states that are redder than the blood coursing through Alexis Sanchez’s veins. Blood that we need to circulate properly through his magical hamstring, so that it doesn’t secede from his leg. Yes, I was always going to get around to Arsenal, or this wouldn’t be a soccer blog. But the transition is not as arbitrary as it might seem.

Truth is, Alexis Sanchez is our Captain Kirk. He’s all Id, running wherever he damn well pleases. Arsene Wenger has to play him, all the time, or he’ll leave for another club. Alexis doesn’t speak to the press much, but when he does, it’s always some version of “I hate to sit. Me entiendas? Rest is for pussies. If I don’t get to play, I am angry. So Angry. Mucho enojado. You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

The cowboy spirit, pure recklessness and self-confidence, is what makes him great. The never-say- die attitude. The ferocious way he chases down goalies. It’s all heart, but perhaps not a lot of head?

By the time you read this, we may know if our super-star has ruined himself for a month or two. He might miss the Man United and PSG games. He might tank Arsenal’s title challenge before it’s begun in earnest.

But you know what? There’s nothing you can do to stop him. Shockingly, it seems like there’s nothing Arsene Wenger can do to stop him either.

All we can do now, I’m afraid, is hope for the best. (For the next 4–8 years.)


  1. We have been assaulted by a slew of bad news in the past week. Possible Alexis injury, actual Bellerin injury, Trump, Leonard Cohen, Trump, Trump…

    Seems almost foolish not to expect the worst in regards to Alexis.

  2. Interesting comparison between Alexis and Trump. Or did I miss something?

    Is the claim here that Trump is just a kind of necessity or inevitability in the cycle of political and social climate change?

    Always enjoy your writing, Jonathan.

    1. Thanks, B. Appreciate your inspired and regular commentary as well.

      The connection to Sanchez is all in good fun, but yes, I guess I would claim that the election outcomes/socio-political tenor of the country is cyclical. 8 years seems to be long enough for the party out of power to foam at the mouth for change, which is why the Democratic turnout was smaller this time around. (That, and a candidate who lacked Obama’s famous charisma.)

      Not sure Trump himself was inevitable, but maybe he was? He doesn’t represent the hipster self-image of America’s intelligentsia, (myself included,) but he is a classically American story in many other ways.

      1. This feels different than any other pendulum swing. Much more dangerous. Much more violent and ugly.

        1. Yes, I agree. It feels very scary. But Reagan took over from Carter at a time of similar upheaval, and Bush v Gore felt like a cataclysm as well. Supreme Court picking the President and all.

          I think Reagan, W Bush and Trump share certain characteristics for sure.

    2. I’m sure Tim could explain it himself better but I figure he’s hinting at the desire people have for someone of that nature, even more so after having a reserved, well spoken, ‘thinking man’ like Obama.

      Kind of like how the English media immediately took to Sanchez and his blustering, all action, in your face style, while it’s taken about 3 years for Ozil to be accepted as ‘not rubbish’.

      Or how after 20 years of ‘the thinking man’s manager’ in Arsene Wenger, there’s a strong desire amongst a lot of fans for a more ‘blood and thunder’ type like Athletico’s Simeone.

      And the longer someone like Arsene stays in charge, the stronger the desire for someone ‘opposite’ becomes.

  3. The progressives are winning on social issues but losing the political fight.

    When Obama won in 2012 some precincts in the swing states reported 5 hour long lines to get to the voting boot. Wolf Blitzer and CNN were in awe of the voters resolve who stood in the rain for hours to vote.
    “This is our democracy at its best” – Blitzer waxed lyrical .

    Republican controlled state legislature have since promptly eliminated further 800 plus polling places,mostly in the swing states.
    CNN might’ve done a segment or two on this topic this election cycle , while running Trump’s stump speaches in their entirety at nauseam.

    How many of the protesters who have taken to the streets since the election night vote in the mid terms, I wonder.
    The supposed greatest democracy in the world appears to be anything but. Things like voting on a Tuesday , the electoral collage( no other democracy since have adapted such a system), active voter turn out suppression, out of control lobbying and unlimited money in politics, this is as flawed political system as any.

    This is not sour grapes on my part btw, since Trump’s tax code will most likely benefit people like myself , but I worry about what future my kids will have in this world.

    The Trump administration will take a wrecking ball to all common sense regulation of Wall Street, energy industry, big farma and many others.
    Trump self enriching his brand and his cronies is the least of our problems.

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