Tommy O’Haver grew up in Indiana where he spent his early years making Super-8 films. After his first short, Catalina, played at the New York Film Festival, he went on to write and direct his first feature, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss, which premiered and sold at Sundance. He went on to make two films for Miramax: Get Over It and Ella Enchanted. His latest feature, The Most Hated Woman in America, starring Melissa Leo and Josh Lucas, just debuted exclusively on Netflix.
“Filth is my politics. Filth is my life.”
— Divine in Pink Flamingos
It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, it seems everyone can agree that once we elected Donald Trump as president, the United States stepped through the looking glass. We’ve found ourselves in a topsy-turvy political landscape where the usual rules no longer apply.
It’s chaos, to be sure. But what can we expect? We have a reality TV star as our POTUS. He doesn’t even act like a good businessman, let alone a good leader of the free world.
As most of us struggle to understand what just happened — what is happening — some commentators on the left are certain they’ve found a way to ultimately defeat Trump in 2020: their own celebrity candidate. They’ve floated names like Mark Cuban. Oprah. Kanye. Tom Hanks. Even Katy Perry.
But we can do a helluva lot better than that.
I am officially nominating John Waters to run for President of the United States.
Because it’s not that big of a leap to go from the man who immortalized the phrase “Grab ‘em by the pussy” to the man who wrote the line “I wouldn’t suck your dick if I was suffocating and your balls were full of oxygen.”
There are several reasons why John Waters would make a far better president than Donald Trump, which I’ll break down for you now:
John Waters would restore dignity to the Office of the President.
“To understand bad taste, one must have very good taste,” Waters writes in his seminal tract Shock Treatment. For Trump, therein lies the rub. Everything about him screams bad taste, but he doesn’t have the good taste to realize his taste is bad. Donald Trump has absolutely no self-awareness.
If John Waters were president, he’d probably keep the gold curtains and Churchill bust Trump added to his Oval Office — but he’d at least have the sense to accent it all with a glossy framed photo of Divine, or, better yet, a Robert Mapplethorpe S&M self-portrait. Imagine the White House lawn as a home to Paul McCarthy’s inflatable butt-plug Tree.
Under Waters, the endless tweets taunting world powers might continue. But Trump’s vague threats and insults against China, Mexico and the E.U. would be replaced with a far more direct approach: “There’s two kinds of people in this world — my kind, and assholes. Guess which category you fall into?”
And forget Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s déclassé excuse for a “Winter White House.” Waters would handle North Korean crises from his favorite Baltimore dive, the Holiday House, with bearded bikers and cocktail waitresses — real Americans! — on hand for advice.
The only selling of access going on here would be to the occasional street hustler for a back-alley blow job.
John Waters would restore integrity to the White House staff.
From Steve Bannon to Kellyanne Conway, our current president has surrounded himself with a rogue’s gallery of dubious advisors with flimsy political resumes. David Frum recently compared Trump’s White House staff to the Star Wars cantina.
I’d like to think John Waters would install a cadre of aides more akin to the cast of Pasolini’s Salo. Their resumes might still be dubious, but at least they’d be predictable. Mink Stole as VP. Traci Lords as Chief of Staff. Iggy Pop as Press Secretary. Patty Hearst could be his Senior Advisor — unlike most of Trump’s associates, we know what her crimes are. And she’s been pardoned for them.
John Waters would restore the authority of the fourth estate.
Had anybody even heard the term “fake news” before this past presidential campaign? I mean, if we’re going to live in a country where the legitimacy of the mainstream press is constantly questioned, let’s just get John in there. Breitbart and The Daily Caller will be replaced in the press corps by more revolutionary outfits like Perez Hilton, PopSugar and Dlisted.
Also, Waters won’t be accusing the media of lying about the size of the crowds at his inauguration. He wouldn’t have to. Because a John Waters inaugural ball would be nothing if not fabulous.
John Waters would bring real strength to the Executive Branch.
Speaking of the inauguration, Trump’s promise to eradicate the American carnage he sees everywhere has given way to his fragile ego and a laughable defensiveness.
We can surmise a Waters style of leadership by studying one of his most beloved characters, Queen Carlotta from Desperate Living, whose decree, “Every word I ever utter shall be considered a royal proclamation!” is soon followed by orders such as, “Whip it out and show it hard!” “Seize her and fuck her!” and “Get out of my chambers, lesbians!”
Now that’s what I call strength.
John Waters would be thoroughly transparent.
Like Trump, Waters may revel in his own depravity. But at least he’s honest about it. In all of his writings, he waxes poetic about his warped obsessions: convicted felons, gay military porn, poppers… John Waters may well be the most candid man in America.
If Putin had evidence of Waters getting golden showers from prostitutes, you can bet he wouldn’t deny it. In fact, he’d be bragging about the Russian crack he smoked with the hookers beforehand.
And, while we’re on the topic of Trump and his aides’ dubious Russian connections, I’d like to think that as president, John Waters really would “lock them up” — if not for treason, than at least for the crime of “asshole-ism.”
I could go on and on with these arguments, but I think it’s best for me to leave it to you, the American people, to take it from here.
Let’s use the 2020 election to take the presidency away from this filthy hetero stink-shit and turn it over to the Prince of Puke.
Let’s make America sick again.
Image by Zach Clark.