Monday, April 22, 2024

Trump's Dirty Tricks (An Apolitical Take)

I want to make it clear that I don't write about "politics." If you were to search the 14-year history of this blog, you would find, though, that I have written about the human condition surrounding politicians. Donald Trump has given me, let's say, much to consider in that regard. It's no secret: I have no respect for the man as a man, especially because I think he manipulates people on a level that I have not seen from a politician in my lifetime. That said: I think there are three types of people who support Trump.

1. Those who are racists and want to make America white again. (Because Trump's dog-whistles are pretty loud, like implying, recently, that Robert E. Lee is unfairly "no longer in favor," and then quoting him.) He's giving them his validation -- the way it was in the Stanley Milgram experiments: the authority is giving permission and encouragement -- "Stand back and stand by." Is he a racist? He may or may not be. I'm not sure. But maybe it is even more inhuman that, if he's not, he is simply reaching for the votes of racists. 

2. This group I feel compassion for: those who are fooled by his brilliant ploy of using the vague catch-phrase ("Make America Great Again") into thinking he is talking about that specific time in which they were happiest. When exactly was America great? "Oh," says the victim, "I remember..." (Yeah, I did call it "brilliant." If I say Hitler was a good orator, I am not saying he was a great guy.) Anyway, these poor people think Trump stands for all of the often laudable conservative values they espouse (some of which, to be clear, I also value); they just don't realize he's completely bamboozling them and that he, personally, holds none of the values they do. The paradox is that he is everything they, themselves, have taught their children not to be: misogynistic; a bald-faced liar; an whining complainer; an excuse-maker; an elitist. This is often the result of a lack of education. They don't know history and they have never read "The Emperor's New Clothes." Or, it could also be a willfully ignorant kind of hope. The conservatism I grew up with was about "truth, justice and the American way," not complaining, making excuses and bragging about where you can grab women. (Also, remember: the picture at the top of this post was made by Trump. It is not satire. This is the image he was literally selling.)

3. Those who really don't like him and know he is a dishonest creep, but who "like his policies."

It is the third group I would like to appeal to. The first two are probably beyond convincing. 

I remember having a long discussion with two very intelligent friends about Trump before the 2016 election. The topic was a philosophical one: How much does a president's character mean, in the grand scheme? After all, Clinton and even the sub-beatified Kennedy were not great guys. My friends (two of my best, to this day) felt that policy was most important. I remember saying that Trump, immoral worm that he is (I believed it then and I believe it now), was going to do great damage to the spirit of the country if not the body. I wish I had been wrong. (I know his supporters would argue that he was not the problem; I don't see it that way, and I am not hashing out that argument now -- that is about politics.) I think his example has shone the light on the hidden cock roaches everywhere. I think he has taught our young men that one can be president and treat women, including his own wife (he cheated on her -- there is no remorse), like garbage. (And, as I have said, he has also fooled otherwise well-meaning folks into his illusion.) 

In my 56 years alive, I have never seen such widespread, unabashed disregard for other humans and it comes in the wake of his influence. A MAGA lady at a rally, for instance, responding to a reporter's point that many children have died in Ukraine. The woman's response: "That's fine with me. Putin just wants back what is his." 

It is fine with her that children are dying. People like this never seemed to feel empowered to say these things out loud before in public interviews. Why now? It could be said I am using a false cause...but I don't think so. 

So, what is my message to group 3? If I am right about Trump's negative effect (you might disagree, but I can't see how) supporting him because you like his policies is a bit selfish: "I don't care if he is a disease to the national spirit, because I like his policies on the border." All I ask is that you consider that. 

I think it is nearly impossible to argue that Trump is a good person. He proves, out loud, every day, that he is narcissistic and unfeeling, and he is caught in lie after lie. He is clearly trying to win votes from racists. If you are okay with all that because you support some of his policies, then continue your Internet travels...