Since election day, watching the results roll in, I have been alternatively rattled, angry, depressed, shocked, and terrified. I had been confident Clinton would win, that she would get two or even three supreme court picks, and that I could live the last decade or two or three of my life knowing America would not go very wrong. I could spend my energies with work, with family, and with writing–inside this office, inside these stories–and not despair for the world.
But I do despair for the world.
I keep thinking I should write about Trump–the angry man-child, the rube, the blustering failure, the racist and the misogynist–but, really, what hasn’t been written already? I don’t have a platform and, really, who cares what I think?
But I will say this, and it’s a point that matters profoundly to me and doesn’t seem to matter to most people or at all to Trump’s supporters. I can say without hesitation that every single person in my life–every friend, every colleague, every person I know through church and everywhere else–is thousands of times the person that Trump is. Each one is smarter, more accomplished, kinder, better spoken, and more knowledgeable of the world and its people. Each one is more temperate and more courageous. If I listed every personal characteristic of every single person I know against Trump’s, I wouldn’t find a single one of them lacking in any way. In fact, it wouldn’t even be close in any single category.
It’s really that simple and I don’t understand why any Trump voter sees it differently. You can agree with his policies but don’t tell me he is a good person. Just don’t.
Don’t tell me he is successful. I suspect he is in debt for hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. Even if he has appreciable net worth, it’s probably south or not much north of the millions of dollars he inherited.
Don’t tell me he’s “tough.” He had exactly one chance to prove he was courageous when he should have served in Vietnam and took the rich boy’s way out instead. (In case you were wondering, while rich boy cowards like Trump were avoiding service, men of color were dying at alarming rates instead, and the deferments Trump used were eliminated in part to make things at least a little bit fair.)
Don’t tell me he’s good to his family. If he lives much longer I am sure he will move on to his fourth and maybe fifth wife.
And dear God, don’t bring up the perfectly insane idea that he is sacrificing things to help the country. He has grifts on top of grifts.
I am a Democrat but I can separate the person from the policies. I didn’t hold any of these feelings for Reagan or either of the Bushes. I believe they were and are decent people who believed differently from me or were acting on the interests of people who believe differently from me. I believe that George H. W. Bush is a finer person than Bill Clinton, but I also believe that Barack Obama is a finer person than every president since Carter. I thought Jerry Ford was overmatched by the job and never should have pardoned Nixon, but I also believe he was a good person and a very good father and husband.
(Also by the way, if you loathe George W. Bush but want to see him being visited by moments of grace, read this.)
If you are a Trump supporter and you are reading this, I am guessing you are fulminating over the idea that Barack Obama is a good person. Before you vomit into my comments, I ask that you perform a simple test. Answer honestly the following question: how would you have reacted if Barack Obama said the things that Trump said about grabbing women by the pussy? I mean it. Answer the question honestly.
(And if you are a Trump supporter and are ready to hurl “Bill Clinton” at me, I judge him just as harshly for avoiding Vietnam and for his attitudes toward women, but Trump’s failings only start there and go on for miles. Trust me. I could do this all day.)
I know I am pissing into the wind. Millions of people support him and maybe only a few dozen read this blog. Still, I have to say it.