This morning as I was watching an interview that longtime journalist Katie Couric did with Mary Trump, niece of the outgoing President and author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man a few things occurred to me. The first was the amazement that she has not received significant enough pushback from her uncle to prevent publication about her revelations of family dynamics that helped to form his persona and behaviors. As far as I know, she hasn’t needed to hire a security detail to keep her safe. While there have been denials about the details, as could be expected from a man whose two favorite words, it seems are ‘fake news,’ she has largely gone unscathed. Her observations both as someone who grew up Trump and a Ph.D. psychologist lend credibility such that the book sold 1.35 million copies in its first week of publication.
The second was sharing her astonishment that there was not a major repudiation of the policies and outrageous actions he took in the last four years that have brought the country to its knees in response. 70 million people either wholeheartedly supported his re-election, or at least, didn’t find his actions abhorrent enough to turn their vote toward newly elected President Joe Biden.
I can’t begin to know everyone’s reasons, but many have clearly stated that it was because he is ‘pro-life’, because he is a ‘good businessman’, because of his ‘America First’ stance. My response to each of those rationales is this:
He is not pro-life, but rather, anti-choice. If he was indeed pro-life, he would concern himself with the survival and even thriving of those who have passed through the birth canal. He would support funding Planned Parenthood because they provide women’s health care services, including those that help prevent unwanted pregnancies. He would have consistently spoken out about the deadly nature of COVID-19, rather than playing it down as he openly admitted in an interview he did with another career journalist, Bob Woodward, in which he acknowledged in graphic terms how the virus viciously treats its victims. In the last few weeks of his term in office, he would devote his energies toward saving lives, rather than decimating them. If he truly cared about the sanctity of life, he wouldn’t have pardoned the four Blackwater contractors who were convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians in 2007. I am questioning the benefit to him of doing so since there is always a calculated secondary gain to every choice he makes. If he valued life, he wouldn’t metaphorically litter the eco-system by denying the dangers of climate change.
His reputation as a businessman is as ephemeral as a snowflake once it hits the ground. It comes from decades of being bolstered by his father, Fred, who is described in Mary’s book as someone for whom any emotion, other than anger, equaled weakness. Her uncle, who in all media interviews, she refers to as Donald, was constantly seeking, but never receiving his father’s approval. I know someone who had worked in one of his casinos and he cheated employees out of well-earned promised salary increases. Stories run rampant about cheating contractors and reneging on agreements. Not the finest example of ethical business dealings and yet there are people who still trust him with running the country.
One thing he forgets about in his professed nationalism is that we live on an interdependent planet in which the actions in one country greatly impact the others. Call it the butterfly effect by which the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in one part of the world can cause a tornado in another. How is decimating the trust of many in the validity of our electoral system putting America first? How is spitting on the Constitution and proposing Martial Law to overturn an election which he clearly lost, putting the needs of our country before his own self-serving needs? If I could take a gander inside his noggin, I would see high-alert terror, as he clings to a ledge onto which he willingly walked, legs dangling over the abyss. Denying and deflecting responsibility for his actions, he is scrambling for ways to take others down with him. I imagine Mary Trump would agree.
One of the other thoughts she expressed is something I struggle with. How do we who saw the danger, perhaps even long before what he declared a landslide victory back in 2016, with the same number of electoral votes that President-elect Biden won this year make peace with those who still believe his contention that he was cheated? How will we accept that there are millions of people who would call a Biden presidency illegitimate and refuse to follow his strong recommendations for virus remediation and thereby save countless lives? What has me scratching my head is that he and they are not questioning the down-ballot losses of the Democratic Party candidates. How those clever alleged cheaters didn’t have the smarts and skills to make sure that their side won in every possible contest is beyond me and that the outgoing President is only questioning the validity of the states he lost, not those he won.
Mary Trump posed the question: “How do we keep from hating back?” I refer back to a famous quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
Let me be clear here, I don’t hate him, despite the residual impact of his actions and words that will last for generations. I actually pity him, since he has scoured the cellar floor of how low he can go. I do my best to offer compassion even while detesting the choices his followers have made. I cringe when I drive past signs and banners in my area that are evidence of the denial that runs deep. I shake my head in dismay that we truly live in two different realities. How do we bring together those divergent universes? It is an ongoing conversation in my head.
I am willing to be a table-turner.
This post is republished on Medium.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video