Trump – A Retraction

I wish to print a retraction. It turns out I’m just not as good a person as I thought I was. I thought I had kindness and reasonableness and tolerance for all mankind in my heart. I wrote an essay about that, about being a good sport, about being a good loser, about giving Donald Trump a chance.

Cripes, I thought I was done with this infernal election. I wanted to be. I thought I had resolved it in my own mind, or at least reconciled myself to it. But … I’m sorry; I just can’t do it. I can’t, and I won’t give Donald J. Trump another chance. What changed between the election and now? Me, I guess. Certainly Donald Trump did not change.

He is the same erratic, thin-skinned narcissist we saw during the campaign. His absurd “meeting” with news anchors and media executives, summoning them to Trump Tower to dress them down and gloat over his victory, was the act of a petulant child, not a serious adult man. His bizarre first press conference revealed the same sort of self-absorbed immaturity. I fully expected to see him wearing a beanie with a propeller on top and with a slingshot hanging out of his back pocket. His bile-filled Twitter feed is also playground stuff. (Did not!, Did too, Did not!) What the hell is a President of the United States settling scores on Twitter for, anyway? Even Nixon wasn’t that pathological.

Finally, we all held out hope, from his demeanor and statements on election night, that some of his vulgar, racist, cruelty had been blown out of proportion, sort of a cartoon superimposed upon him by the media and his political enemies. To quote myself, “No One could be that bad.” But, while he modulated his rhetoric for about a day and professed to want to be “President for everyone” in real life he plodded along his deplorable path.

He dropped the notion of putting his political opponent in prison (for now) but reserved the right to do it later if he felt like it (because that’s how America’s system of justice works, I guess). As if to double down on his own bigoted tendencies he selected for his Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (and no, I didn’t make that name up to make him sound like an unreconstituted, confederate-flag-waving, southern racist). That is really his name and he really was denied a seat on the U.S. Court of appeals because of racist statements.

For secretary of education Trump has nominated a one-issue political zealot who was head of the Michigan Republican party for many years and who is, with her husband, the biggest Amway salesman in the world (And no, I’m not being metaphorical. Look it up.) She is a billionaire who never attended a public school, never put her own children in a public school, has no education degree nor experience working as a teacher or administrator, believes that teachers are overpaid, and has worked with great tenacity (and millions of dollars) to undermine the very agency she is now tasked to lead. Sadly that will become a theme as we examine Trump’s prospective cabinet; as will the billionaire thing.

This minority President’s pick for EPA chief has fought the EPA in court for most of his political life as Attorney General of Oklahoma and has advocated the agency be eliminated.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a former presidential candidate, said this about Trump during the campaign:

“[He] offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken, Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.”

It was not reported what Perry used as a condiment for his meal of roast crow when he accepted Trump’s appointment to be Secretary of Energy, a Department which Perry, naturally, has vowed to dismantle. Oops!

Perhaps his least offensive appointment, to me, you might be surprised to hear, is Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Tillerson, with a net worth of $150 million and Exxon stock worth about $250 million is filthy rich, of course, but not as filthy as Trump’s bevy of billionaires who are here to “drain the swamp” and represent the “Wisconsin working man.” Tillerson has no education in foreign language or international affairs or diplomatic experience but he actually has negotiated a bit with foreign leaders to benefit his multi-national corporation. Our Wisconsin working man may be troubled to note, however, that Tillerson is not at all in alignment with Trump’s protectionist rhetoric. He has said “I believe we must choose the course of greater international engagement.” and “One of the most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Tillerson has also admitted that humans have effected the climate through greenhouse gas emissions and has advocated a carbon tax. In a 2013 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal Tillerson also defended the Common Core curriculum, a favorite bugaboo of the far right.

What the Republican establishment may find, to their continuing chagrin, is that Trump’s win was not theirs and that while most of his cabinet picks could feature in a Mike Pence wet dream Trump will do what he wants when he wants and they will not have the stomach nor the spine to oppose him. This is dangerous to everybody.

I might see my way past all of these things. I might tolerate childish behavior from our commander in chief and extremist political ideologies from his minions. I might even try to learn to sleep at night with the sabre-rattling rhetoric of a foreign policy novice who “knows more than the generals” about destroying ISIS but seems to focus most of his firepower and time on attacking impoverished Mexican immigrants and the cast of a Broadway musical. There is one thing I cannot forget and forgive with regard to this horrible man. The problem is that I have daughters and I love them.

After I publish my blog posts and essays I go back and read them over again. I review them, sometimes compulsively, to ferret out spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and faulty logic. I try to update the old ones with fresh data and revised perspective when it is called for. I did this for my Trump essay several times. I found a few mistakes with regard to spelling thanks to a faithful friend and loyal reader. I updated the number by which Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the popular vote (about 2.9 million, now). And I found a logical inconsistency which stopped me in my tracks and made me reconsider the “ahhh, give him a chance” idea.

Here are the two lines from my essay which I can no longer reconcile. They contradict each other in my mind. One of them is obviously incorrect.

  1. “My daughter cried when she heard about Donald Trump’s victory in the election.”

2. “We want you to succeed. Even many of us Liberals will give you a chance, if you give us a chance.”

I am simply never going to “give a chance” to a man so hateful that he made my daughter cry. I am never going to forget his horrible words and actions toward women. I am never going to forgive him for empowering the loathsome men around the world who think treating women poorly is sport. He has enabled every neanderthal misogynist and date-rapist in the country by his unpardonable example. He has made my daughters’ lives harder.

I would love to turn off the TV and pretend that Donald Trump doesn’t exist. For myself, a middle-aged white guy, I might make out okay under his absurd regime. But I cannot indulge my desire to close my eyes to this travesty. I have a wife and two daughters and a son. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my kids grow up in a world where Donald Trump’s brand of misogyny is considered normal. I’ll be damned if he’s going to demonize immigrants and refugees in the name of my country without my objection. I’ll be damned if he’s going to turn back all the progress we’ve made on the environment and gay rights and inclusiveness. At least he’s not gonna get it for free.

In my blog post after the election, I counseled patience. I was dead wrong. This man does not deserve our patience. He does not deserve our respect. He has not earned “a chance.” He has won our scorn and our disrespect and our condemnation. That is what he will get.

by: Dustin Joy

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