I don’t believe I’ve ever written an op-ed about Donald Trump – just hard news and features about the businessman-turned-politician during his time as a candidate for president of the United States and later during his four years in the White House.
But after listening to him rant and rave on Tuesday, July 26 for well over an hour as the keynote speaker for the American First Policy Institute Summit held here in the District, I felt compelled to finally share my opinion on #45.
It was Trump’s first time back in D.C. since losing to Joe Biden – well, according to Donald, he really didn’t lose. However, all nonsense aside, I wanted to know how he’s handled being away from the limelight, unable to use his bully pulpit whenever he felt the need and if he could put more than a few tweets together in a message that would illustrate his intellectual profundity.
I was disappointed. But not for the reasons one may think. You see, I know that Trump cannot actually believe that the 2020 election was stolen from him – he knows, you know and even our little children know – that he lost.
I know he cannot actually believe that the “radical left’s anti-police narrative” is the Big Lie – even if I could understand exactly what he means by that and from where he gets his facts.
But as has become his trademark, one thing that Trump does particularly well is preach to the choir.
And at the Summit, the “choir members” were men, mostly, who remain dedicated to a renewal of “real” law and order and are tough on crime. (I wonder if the criminals are allowed to look like them).
Anyway, perhaps that explains why Trump carefully concocted an image of America as a place of utter lawlessness – a “cesspool” as he said. He further said, again possibly playing to others who hate seeing their old ways fade away when white was right, that he supports quick trials and the execution of drug dealers.
I had to pause for a moment because I hoped that he was not advocating for the overthrowing of the U.S. judicial system. You know, where one is innocent until proven guilty.
But if he was serious about executing all drug dealers, then certainly we cannot stop at the bottom of the food chain – not with petty street dealers or those who manufacture drugs in homemade chemistry labs or backyard gardens. How did the drugs get into Miami, New York City, D.C., Los Angeles – on what boats and airplanes? And who owns those vehicles? Who flew them or stood at the helm? Certainly, no one who looked like me.
Then Trump went on to attack the homeless – as if people who are homeless look forward to remaining on the streets, without food, shelter, medical care – sometimes even without hope. Look, I lived “homeless” for 12 hours many years ago in Chicago while working on a feature and attempting to understand what it felt like to be homeless. When it was over, I ran back home, eager to take a hot shower, to eat a muffin and coffee, to turn on the cable TV and to lay back on my couch – with the heat on high. There’s nothing nice about being homeless. And it’s more than a little insensitive to suggest that those who find themselves in such a plight want to be there.
Finally, Trump blasted those who are transgender or who support making life easier and more equitable for them. Does that mean Trump will next set his sights on the other members of the “alphabet?” That is to say, the “LGB” part of the LGBT world? I hope there’s no one in a closet in his inner sanctum but chances are . . .
What troubles me most is that there are a lot of Americans who actually believe the kinds of outlandish notions that the former president shared. I don’t dislike those who think that way and I certainly do not hate them. I realize that when the founding fathers undertook that bold step toward independence and as they began to carve out the blueprint for this place that we now call the United States of America, I was not in the picture. But then, neither were women or those who did not own property or those who had lived here before the English colonists – Native Americans.
But they held a view of the minority – a myopic view of the world that has since had more layers added to the landscape – new colors, new shapes, new sizes and new perspectives.
A nation under God? That cannot be said like a Boy Scout motto or a fraternity pledge.
This is not a perfect nation and we are not perfect people.
But this is my home just like it is Donald Trump’s. And it’s home to the several hundred who recently applauded and affirmed his uncensored sentiments, sitting as if they were mesmerized while he delivered his alternative to that terrible “fake news” which he so often criticized.
Shirley Chisholm once said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
But here’s the thing, I don’t own a folding chair. I have an all-leather La-Z-Boy that easily reclines when I need to give my back a little rest. And I have the right to sit in it just like Mr. Trump and his cronies like to sit on their thrones.
Still, my chair is rather heavy and more difficult to move around than a folding chair.
Maybe the next time Trump comes to town, I’ll just ignore him and watch old episodes of “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times.” What do you think?