9.5 Things all former presidents need to know when starting a blog (or how to make it beyond the sandpit)

As former President of my Preschool’s Sandpit, a dominion I ruled with a clenched and sandy fist, I’ll have you know, I know a thing or two about how it feels when you’re eventually deposed and moved onto the finger-painting section, where dreams go to die. Donald Trump was recently shunted out of the White House by goodie-goodie Joey Biden, and, like all of the other former presidents turned finger-painters, he has decided to start a blog. Amazing. Like I said, I only know a thing or two about transitioning from president to blogger, but I think with a bit of bluffing I can stretch it out to 9.5 things. Anything for a struggling friend.

  • Tip 1: Um. Bluffing is tip one. Talking through the seat of your pants is literally the most important thing to know about blogging. How good you are at bluffing is how good you are at blogging. If you can’t bluff, you can’t blog. Do you see what I mean?

  • Tip 2: It’s all about content. Here’s where the bluffing comes in. That’s all I really know about blogging, but I kinda promised Trump 9.5 whole tips, poor guy, so I better keep churning ‘em out. 

  • Tip Three. Think positive! Be consistent! I know from my experience, I didn’t get BIGLY engagement with my content when I first started blogging about, oh, twenty years after the incident which saw me relegated from the sandpit to the finger-painting table. I won’t go into it here, but let’s just say if sandpits had constitutions I would have been impeached. Luckily for me, they don’t, but the kid who got sand in their eyes was not so lucky. I’m lying; he’s probably got a mortgage by now. Think positive! 

  • Tip 4: Ask your family to read your posts and share them on social media to increase the chances of one day getting BIGLY engagement. Maybe then you can monetise your content? I see Trump already has a contribute option on his blog which is really impressive for a novice. Either he is so good he didn’t need his family to help him out or he’s not confident they care enough to share his musings on whatever he’s musing about these days. Probably ‘Murica.

  • Tip 5: Your blog should reflect what you’re passionate about. For me, that’s random funny things that pop into my head; memories from a childhood spent fighting other children for the right to remain in control of my own sovereign sandpit, mostly. My campaign slogan was ‘I dig democracy’ and I did press myself, talking into a shovel that doubled as a microphone. Trump can probably skip all that indignity as he’s a little bit more famous than I was.

  • Tip 6: If you’re doing it for fame, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Actually, that’s kind of a trick tip. I don’t think there’s any right reason to start a blog, because only deeply disturbed people who have reached the nadir of their careers start blogging… But if there was a right reason it wouldn’t be fame.

  • Tip Sevfvenn: Drink covfefe. Maintaining a blog is hard work. There’s a lot of bluffing involved and that can be tiring, even for experts like Trump and I. Caffeinated drinks help you catch spelling errors too.

  • Tip 8) Be pleasant in your interactions with other bloggers even if you don’t agree with them, or they’re crooked or they cry when you throw sand in their eyes.

  • Tip Nine: Promote your blog. Nobody will know you have one unless you tell your family and friends. Or Fox news. You never know, the posts you write could one day end up getting read by loads of people and you might get another job, a job that’s even better than being president. 

              …AND 9.5: There’s this micro-blogging platform called Twitter that bloggers and presidents and former presidents alike use to promote their bluffing/content/musings on ‘Murica. It’s like the sandpit of the blogosphere. If you get banned from that you’re finger-painting forever, which is even more shameful than being impeached. Twice.

Inauguration Day: exeunt Trump; enter Biden, Harris

Just now, something remarkable has happened!

Why is it remarkable? It isn’t. If anything, it’s unremarkable. The only reason it’s remarkable is that it hasn’t happened in such a long time. It might even be a cause to celebrate.

The remarkably unremarkable thing to which I refer is a tweet by incoming US Vice-President, Kamala Harris. It was the kind of boring, trite, full-of-earnest-shite type of tweet that politicians churn out so regularly, especially in challenging times. Harris was just doing her job, tweeting about “healing” to reassure the American public of her administration’s commitment to providing relief from the pandemic – or at least the part of it that doesn’t believe in QAnon. Although maybe those QAnon quacks are the ones that need Kamala and Joe the most.

Normally, political speak irritates me, but the fact that Kamala Harris and her colleague, incoming US President, Joe Biden, are proving themselves to be comfortably controversy-free thus far is actually a good omen. As an Irish person with American friends and relatives, it’s nice for me to know they now have a reasonably well-adjusted president who doesn’t go around grabbing women “by the pussy” or tweeting in all-caps at strange times of the night, or inciting insurrectionist mobs. A pessimist by nature, I won’t go so far as to say that I feel good about America’s future, but I do think that anyone is an improvement on Trump. So, Biden-Harris it is.

All MAGA talk will be gone with Joe, who doesn’t believe in using overly emotive language – except when speechifying about how much he loves his home town Delaware, or when he quotes Irish poets. (Just on that poet quoting thing, can one of you guys over yonder tell him we have other poets besides Seamus Heaney?). Joe and Kamala know that MAGA is impossible; America has never been great, nor should it aspire to be. History has taught us that greatness in nations is impossible without colonisation, suffering, and small-mindedness on a criminally large scale. Greatness is a product of tyranny, and that is too high a price for any nation’s people to pay. To this day, the jury is quite literally out on whether or not Trump was a wannabe totalitarian with sinister designs on the United States, or if he was merely coasting along on the giant wave of his ego, bolstered by money and yes-men.

One thing’s for sure, Trump’s presidency was never boring. It was a constant roller-coaster of international headlines screaming: “Oh no what the f*ck has he done now?” From the day he was elected in 2016 to this morning when he finally vacated the White House, he has never been dull, not even once. During his four years in one of the world’s most prestigious jobs, Trump became a caricature of himself – and he was already pretty ridiculous – morphing before our eyes into a straw-wigged, bloated, power-blinded, Tangerine Nightmare spouting blatant lies and whipping up unsavoury personal scandal like a Southern Mama might whip up a Key Lime Pie. (I had to Google Southern desserts to get this reference correct, and now I want to eat my way all around the Southern states…)

I read somewhere recently that Trump was the ultimate postmodern president, and quite possibly we got him because we deserved him. At times, when I heard the man formerly known as President Trump speak, I wondered ‘is this guy for real?’ Headlines from recent history tell me I’m not alone. Plenty fell for his celebrity credentials, but he turned out to be a crude caricature. Now the powerless are left to pick up the pieces – it’s an old story, constantly reproduced. Men in power and their egos. When the trail of controversy Trump left behind is long forgotten, will he be remembered as the man who turned the presidency into performance art? Will video clips of his speeches be displayed in galleries alongside, say, Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0? Will Trump’s name be mentioned in the same breath as the Russian dissident punk group, Pussy Riot? My limited knowledge of art, performance, and politics tells me that Trump’s most significant legacy will be his ability to find the intersection between the three and drive a stake through it. Most of us still don’t know whether he’s insane or just criminally profane.

Either way, he’s gone now – exiting (ironically???) to the strains of YMCA by the Village People – and a new era of ordinariness and predictability is here.

I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDER: Bernie Sanders (at Biden’s inauguration today) was thought to be too far left for many in the Democrat Party, but those gloves may be presidential material yet…

Kamala and Joe are two safe pairs of hands, although let’s not make any glowing predictions quite yet.

EXEUNT TRUMP

ENTER BIDEN & HARRIS

*audience breathe a sigh of relief as the drama is finally finished

Look out, Joe. They’re coming for you from Mayo.

Ah, it’s a disgrace, Joe.

They can’t win their own race, so they claim victory in another halfway across the globe. It’s desperate altogether.

Typical Mé Féiners in Mayo, making everything about themselves; well, they’re worse than the Orange Fella.

While the rest of the world was out celebrating Biden’s victory over Trump and Kamala Harris’s historic appointment as Vice President of the United States, Mayo was out celebrating itself.

Mayo’s tenuous claim to fame on the new American President is his ancestry. Hasn’t he cousins in Ballina.

Any excuse, sure. Ballina put on such a display of triumphant gombeenism that would have put any Yankee Redneck to shame – and perhaps a few former Fianna Fáil Taoisigh, too.

Ballina town centre was hopping; Buck’s Fizz corks popping, as Mayomen paraded their genes up and down the town whooping like Yahoos.

Not one of the locals seemed to recognise the larger reason to celebrate the Biden Harris result. They didn’t care a damn that Kamala Harris is the first woman and the first person of colour to be elected Vice President of the United States.

All they care about below in Mayo is winning. And since victory in the All-Ireland Championship has proved elusive for, oh, about a hundred years, the poor eejits are making do with having a distant cousin in the White House. (It will probably be painted green and red now.)

It’s Cultural Appropriation, I tell you. Ballina is stealing the victory of the American people and repackaging it as their own. This kind of identity pilfering is unique to Mayo; you’d never catch a Dub or a Kerryman at that type of thing. Do you know why? They’ve won All Irelands, so they know what victory feels like.

The most Joe would get in Kerry might be a Healy-Rae throwing his hat in the air in jubilation. Well, Joe, as long as he doesn’t throw it into the ring, you’ll be sound, says you.

And these Mayo (distant) cousins of Biden are angling for a trip to the soon-to-be Green & Red House. They couldn’t make it any more obvious. Sure, didn’t they openly admit it on RTE news last night? Distant cousin after distant cousin queued up to talk to the roving reporters, each one frothing at the mouth with glee.

Like most tribes, they have a leader, and his name is Joe too. We’ll call him Joe Two to distinguish him from America’s newest First Man, Joe One. His kingdom in Mayo might not be the size of Joe One’s, but Joe Two has a slogan too – “Joe Biden for the White House; Joe Blewitt for your house.” Joe Two is a handyman. I think his talents also lie in slogans, especially when compared to his distant American relative’s weak effort: “Build back better.” Blah blah blah.

Joe Blewitt image by Paul Faith/AFP via Getty images.

Joe Two and his merry band of Mayo cousins will be piling into his van to drive all the way from Ballina to Pennsylvania Avenue any day now. They’ll be a bit watery when they land, but they’ll still start painting the White House green and red before Joe One can say “Howdy.”

Typical Cultural Appropriation. Joe Two and his Mayo cowboys will play all nice in the beginning, but they’ll eventually steal the states from right under the Americans’ noses. They’ll let on to Joe One that they’re doing a Fixer-Upper job on his new gaff, but they’ll leave him high and dry the minute anything goes wrong. Mayo cowboys only want one thing, and that’s victory. They don’t care about family or decency; they’d give their Granny for Sam. ‘Cousin Joe’ is all a front, a neat way of appropriating American success. You’d never see a Mayo man in a Native American headdress on Halloween. We all know what became of the Native Americans, and it was a lot worse than losing a good few All Irelands. No, the Mayo man only wants a little taste of victory, for now. And he knows he’ll be allowed a share in Generous Joe’s. But like most of history’s victors, Mayo will eventually get greedy, and it will all end in a trail of tears. Will those tears be green and red or star-spangled red, blue, and white? That all depends on whether or not Joe “Two” Blewitt blows it.

(Editor’s Note: If there’s any room in that van, Mr. Blewitt, I’ll book it. I have Mayo heritage myself, you know.)