Trust is Earned

It’s inauguration day, and I’m being told to “Give Donald Trump a chance.” That’s what I hear from my Republican counterparts. “We had to suffer through 8 years of Obama, and now it’s your turn.

“Just give him a chance.”

Let’s ignore the fact that Donald Trump ran the most divisive and vitriolic campaign in modern history, and that once that campaign is over, you don’t get to just sweep it under the rug  because it worked. This controversy that you spent so many hours stirring up? It follows you into office, whether you like it or not. People will still remember the bullshit this guy spewed.

But the campaign is over, the debates are done. The more important question is whether or not it’s right to publicly critique the actions of our duly elected public representatives. Because we need to remember that this guy is not a king, or a savior, or a messiah to rescue us from our mundane lives. Donald Trump is a public servant, under obligation to serve the people of this country, and subservient to all of us.

Now, I have a luxury in this argument, in that I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a registered Independent. I’ve voted in 8 elections in my life, 4 for Republicans, 4 for Democrats. For the sake of transparency, I’ll admit I voted for Hillary this year. I’ve always voted for whoever I thought was the best leader. That’s the key word, though: “leader”.

I have heard nothing from this man that exemplifies leadership in any form. I have heard complaints about current conditions, hyperbolic descriptions of crime-infested inner cities and crumbling towns. I have heard populist scare tactics aimed at Muslims, refugees, and easily-targeted minorities. And apparently we’re going to build a 2,000 mile wall on the southern border, and Mexico is going to cut us a check for it. But, beyond the easily repeated, jingoistic rhetoric, I haven’t heard much in the way of actual solutions or leadership. And yet I am told to back off, lighten up, to quit “rooting for Trump to lose.”

This, from a Republican party that played the role of obstructionist for 8 straight years. They filibustered. They denied cabinet appointments. They refused to even meet with a supreme court nominee. (BTW, Merrick Garland? Harvard valedictorian for undergrad – on scholarship, btw – magna cum laude Harvard Law. Regarded as a centrist judge with a pro-prosecutor stance in criminal cases. And his first name is one letter away from spelling ‘Merricka’. Seriously, Republicans, what more do you want?) They questioned President Obama’s faith by labeling him a Muslim. Mr. Trump himself spent years casting doubt upon President Obama’s citizenship, to the point that the movement actually gained a name – “birtherism”. Republican voters made jokes about his wife’s femininity. And then they called her an “ape in heels”.

And I’m supposed to “just give Trump a chance”.

A man who was endorsed by David Duke. A man who mocked a disabled reporter. A man who boasted about sexual assault. A man who’s had 5 children by 3 different women, cheated on wives, who’s declared bankruptcy on 6 different occasions, who has been involved in over 3,500 law suits from small contractors to casino patrons to real estate partners, a man who has shown no capacity to see the world outside his own narcissistic and sycophantic circle. A man who – had he been a Democrat – would never have been considered for the highest office in the land. Yet, this man was embraced by the Evangelical right. This man, I’m supposed to lighten up on. I’m supposed to give this guy a break. The Party of Family Values, indeed…

“Just give him a chance.”

I’ve been giving him a chance. He was elected 73 days ago and I’ve been completely silent. So let’s check out his accomplishments so far:

– started a twitter war with Alec Baldwin

– insulted civil rights hero John Lewis (BTW, John Lewis represents Buckhead and Georgia Tech, among other affluent districts in Atlanta, so I can’t, for the life of me, guess why Donald Trump would assume John Lewis’s district would be crime-infested and drug-ridden. Hmmm…Anyone? Help me out here? Why would Donald Trump naturally assume that a district represented by John Lewis would be a crime-infested shithole? Anyone?  Such a ‘random’ leap of association…)

– told Meryl Streep she was overrated.

– got in a slap fight with CNN at his first news conference in 6 months.

– wished a happy new year to his “many enemies”.

– insinuated that Vladimir Putin is smarter than the US State Department.

– Accused his own intelligence services of faking intelligence.

– Accused same intelligence services of leaking fake information to the press specifically to undermine his presidency.

– nominated 6 former Goldman Sachs employees to high level cabinet positions, after promising to drain the swamp. (Hillary speaking fees? Whaaaaaat?)

– Talked shit about Arnold Schwarzenegger for absolutely no reason, other than Celebrity Apprentice, because that’s germane to public policy.

– hacking, DNC, “head clown Schumer”, Assange, “Putin is smart”, “nobody cares about my taxes except reporters.”

– His nominee for Department of Energy (Rick Perry) once campaigned on dismantling the Department of Energy. And then, Perry realized he didn’t know what the department does, but accepted the job anyway. He literally thought it was an ambassador for the oil and gas industry. Sounds fun, except that the Secretary of Energy’s main job is maintaining our nuclear stockpile. But don’t worry, because now, Perry is committed to a “steep learning curve”. Just to be clear, “learning curve” and “nuclear arsenal” are not two things you want to hear in the same sentence.

– His nominee for Department of Education has never attended a public school, or sent her children to public school. She doesn’t have a degree in education, nor has she ever taught at a public school. She describes public schools as a “dead end”, despite the fact they enroll roughly 90% of students in the US. I went to public schools as a kid. I went to a state  funded university. Fuck you, Betsy DeVos; I personally challenge your spoiled, billionaire, private school educated ass to an English competency test – I promise you I win. On a related note, she supports guns in schools (apparently to protect kids from bear attacks) and conversion therapy for gay kids. “Cos, you know, gay is a disease. You just take a pill and a couple electro-shock treatments, and fuck it, you’re straight and pious again.” Pence is gonna love this girl. Oh yeah, she’s fucking rich, and donated millions to Trump’s campaign. Drain the swamp, baby.

– His nominee for EPA has filed lawsuits against the EPA. No conflict there.

– Mattis – I actually have no problem with General Mattis. He seems like a straight shooter. Fair is fair.

– I don’t necessarily think Rex Tillerson is evil or incompetent. I just don’t think our foreign policy should revolve around what’s good for ExxonMobil. The world is a more complicated place than oil and gas production.

And that’s just a brief recap. I can’t possibly keep up with every idiotic statement or action this guy makes. So, herein lies my question: you ask me to give Trump a chance, but how many chances do I have to give this guy before he shows me something substantive as a leader?

This is a man who, at the most, is qualified to lead a third world dictatorship, in the Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, or Kim Jung Un mold. He is, under no reasonable circumstances, qualified to occupy the highest office of the greatest country in history. The Presidency is an office he neither wanted nor is qualified for, and you can see it in his eyes. He’s in over his head and he knows it.

Yet, it’s “un-American!” to speak out against Trump. “He’s our President!” you say, “If you don’t like it, get out!” I am not questioning his legitimacy as President; he was elected fair and square, and unlike others from the Democratic party, I do not attribute his victory to “Russian Hacking” or any other interference. Americans are an inherently stubborn people, and bullshit news stories don’t change anyone’s minds; they just reaffirm what we already believe. We, as a people, are the living embodiment of confirmation bias.

But we are a nation that was born from an act of treason against a tyrannical government. And we are a nation that endeavors to be governed “by the people, for the people”, and as such, the people require a voice. We are a nation of rebels, a nation of fighters, a nation of take-no-shit firebrands, never shy with opinion nor criticism. Questioning our leaders is inherent to the American spirit, and Mr. Trump is not exempt.

Despite your outcries of “un-American”, I love this country. I consider the Presidency of the United States to be the most prestigious and powerful position in human history. The sanctity of the office is more important than anything, including the man who occupies it. He carries the weight of history upon his shoulders, the responsibility to continue the pursuit of a more perfect union that his predecessors began, and to pursue it with dignity, grace, and respect. That is what I expect from a leader, and I want my president to have the same expectations for himself. And until Mr. Trump demonstrates that same awe for the office, that selflessness that puts the country’s needs ahead of his own vain reassurances, he will not have my support.

“Give him a chance. Respect the office.”

Respect is not given, my friend, it’s earned. It’s not up to me to blindly follow this man into the darkness; it’s up to him to convince me that he’s worthy of my loyalty. Ball’s in your court, Donny…

And remember: this is a temp job. Fuck it up and you’re fired.

6 comments

  1. That was absolutely brilliant. You captured the exact sentiment of so many of us. I wish you had written this AFTER the Sean Spicer hissy fit!

    Like

  2. You mean Minister of Truth Sean Spicer? That was a perfectly measured response to a meaningless news item. And then Conway had to the stones to say Spicer was presenting “alternative facts”. WTF. They’re going Full Orwell. You never go Full Orwell.

    Like

    • Yeah, I know – it sucks that you have to put up with my bullshit. Then again, I don’t get paid one single dime for this and the internet’s a big place, so if you don’t like what you see, feel free to go somewhere else. Doesn’t change my life one bit.

      Like

  3. Wow! Such a well-written and powerful piece. You so effectively put into words how so many of us are feeling. Really exceptional!! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

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