Where I Stand Behold the many faces of Donald Trump
The springboard to Donald Trump’s political career was as celebrity star of a TV reality show. Some psychologists maintain that adults and children are quite capable of sustaining a healthy distinction between TV “reality” and real life, the former being entertainment and fantasy; the latter requiring accurate perceptions, factual information, good judgment, and accepting consequences of decisions and actions. I believe that mere observation or even “gaming” without responsibility fosters unhealthy indulgence in fantasy.
Those of us who have been fired — or feared same — might envy the person empowered to do the firing, but, I suspect, would not like to do the firing. Be what may, Donald Trump became a reality TV star and his signature act in the role was to declare, “You’re fired!” — a role he has played enthusiastically as our real life president regardless of real life consequences.
Trump claims the mantel of the self-made Man, which he emphatically was not, his father having made him a multimillionaire by the time he was 8 years old and replaced the monumental losses of a series of unwise business decisions. Trump was ambitious for wealth and reputation but not by his own efficiency, productivity, imagination, and meeting the test of the free market, which the numerous bankruptcies of his enterprises show. Delving into Trump’s business career reveals that he is in the mold of huckster, con man, shyster, bully and megalomaniac.
Over time Trump has morphed into a succession of unsavory characters. He is a pathological liar, a demagogue who exploits the fears and suppressed hatreds of others to his political advantage. Ultimately, he is a bigot himself surely. From a field of 16 he became the presidential candidate of the Republican Party by behavior so outrageous that he distinguished himself clearly from all rivals.
The medium of television was his great enabler. I recall a point where all candidates but Trump had gathered in a hall awaiting his arrival. CNN, now one of his chief media critics, had prepared coverage both inside and outside the hall. Trump’s arrival was imminent and that clearly was the news worthy of coverage. Later one TV network executive said, “whatever you think about Trump, he is great for our ratings.”
Even now TV outlets do not know how to handle Donald Trump. Whatever his lies, they are newsworthy. He is president. Recently all networks granted Trump time to lie about his manufactured crisis on our southern border. A few years ago all networks denied President Obama time to discuss in serious fashion the issue of immigration. Our most reliable news media is the print media — books and articles extensively researched by experts in the field or on the spot observers who are often risking their lives. Trump does not read and with a brief “tweet” dismisses volumes of scholarly endeavor. One tweet erases a thousand words.
Donald Trump became President by a vote of the majority of the Electoral College, although he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Republicans like to claim that Trump was the choice of the American people. No, he wasn’t.
First, only 59.7 percent of eligible voters cast votes. True, he was elected by a majority of the Electoral College, which makes him president under the terms set in the Constitution. But even the electoral vote, it turns out, was influenced by the Russian interference in our election significantly enough to swing the electoral vote in a few states.
At first, there was denial of Russian interference; then there was the scoffing, which ridiculed the notion that Russian hackers could turn our election; then the denial that Russian Intelligence under the control of Putin favored Trump over Clinton. Each layer of denial gets peeled away. The focus became: Did the Trump campaign collude with Russian Intelligence? Now it is clear that Trump himself publicly called for Russian collusion on July 16, 2016, and his campaign Chairman Paul Manafort arranged to change a provision of the Republican party platform to ease sanctions on Russia.
But, came the excuse — collusion is not a crime; it has to be conspiracy, that is, intent on both sides. The case for conspiracy is coming very close to Manafort and even to Trump himself. Are we there yet?
Trump — reality show celebrity, con man, bully, demagogue, bigot, compulsive liar, egomaniac, would-be dictator, in collusion with an enemy, obstructor of justice and — wait for it — Traitor.
Daniel C. Hudson is a resident of Ridgefield.