With the holidays behind us, it’s that time of year when it’s tempting to fall into a mix of post-festivities relief and the post-hullabaloo blues. With the New Year comes a symbolic “clean slate.” You forgive yourself all of last year’s transgressions and move on.
But New Year’s Eve falls so close to the season of haves and have-nots. Think about it: In October, you have a holiday where you pretend to be someone else. In November, you have a holiday where you gorge yourself, express gratitude, and try to ignore the obvious implications of certain historical actions. In December, you give gifts and hang out with people for hours on end. Suddenly, in January, you’re urged to make goals that will set you on a trajectory for becoming your best self. It’s almost a cruel joke.
For three months, we focus on nothing but who we are, who we aren’t, what we have, and what we don’t. That kind of focus, for any period longer than our allotted holiday season, would be enough to drive anyone crazy.
That’s what is so pathetic about any continuing support for Donald Trump. We are currently supporting a candidate who keeps inviting us to engage in this “us versus them” mentality, touts monetary success as if it’s a virtue, and uses his inherited means to widen the gap between him and the average American. Speaking of “widening the gap,” if you watch the news you’ve probably seen the clips of him in an extremist recruitment video saying we should “ban all Muslims.”
I know it’s awfully convenient for anyone to sit behind a computer, faceless and safe from all retaliation, and mock a public figure … and I’m a shameless fan of safety and convenience. I don’t have the money to pay someone to write messages about Trump in the sky, and I honestly don’t even hate the guy. Hate seems like a feeling you employ for the actions of someone like Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, not the words of someone like Donald Trump, billionaire with a microphone. But you don’t have to hate someone to want them to go away.
Like most of the millionaires and billionaires in the running, he doesn’t come close to representing any American most of us know, and it’s an embarrassment to our country that his candidacy ended up becoming a real campaign, not just the unexpected twist to a political SNL skit. It’s fine to be rich, opinionated, and loud. It’s tiresome to use your wealth and clout to shout about the so-called “big issues” while getting most of your facts wrong.
On that note, someone needs to tell Trump that there are bigger issues than being a “tough guy,” bigger issues than immigrants, and bigger issues than Muslims. The fact that he sees a thoughtful approach as a sign of weakness, immigration as a threat, and can’t see how banning an entire religious group is a useless (and impossible) response to ISIS — a select group of extremists — should securely boot him out of the running for any political office.
At the moment, we have several big issues looming in 2016: Iran missile sanctions, National debt, Syria, Gun violence, Looming environmental concerns, Racial profiling within law enforcement, Corporate greed and tax avoidance while big businesses monopolize entire industries, etc. Take your pick. Expand upon the list. Politicians should have no difficulties coming up with New Year’s resolutions.
But Donald Trump? He could align himself with a good number of Americans on one issue: Himself.
We could stop entertaining the notion of electing someone who insults everyone and boasts about all he has — especially when all he has is good luck, bad hair, an atrocious vocabulary (or lack thereof), and a strong distaste for the truth (Recently, he called Hilary a liar, which is fair, but on a topic where she happened to be telling the truth about his appearance in the Al Qaeda recruitment video). He could quit while he’s ahead.
Although I’m sure I don’t know if he’s ever read a book he hasn’t written, he might want to pick up a few biographies of actual tough guys.
You see, even their insults were worth reading. Guys like Franklin D. Roosevelt or even Winston Churchill (not ours, but practically adopted) sounded off with class, wit, certainty and a confidence.
In a Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait by Violet Bonham Carter, the author remembers Churchill casually remarking to her at a dinner party, “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glowworm.”
That just might be one of the most eloquent sentences about worms I’ve ever read — and it was uttered impromptu after a few drinks.
Of course, it’s unfair to compare Trump to the greats. I haven’t done that to the other candidates. I’ll just compare him to a reasonable standard, set by none other than the very sensible Andy Rooney:
“Presidential candidates act as though there was a lot of difference of opinion among us as to what we wanted to hear from them. I don’t think there is. I know what I’d like to hear one of them say, and I suspect a lot of the rest of you would like to hear some of the same things. First, a presidential candidate ought to be a man or woman who really doesn’t want the job, who knows he isn’t smart enough to do it and says so. If a candidate is so conceited as to think he’s got what it takes to solve this country’s problems, I don’t want to have anything to do with him. Of course he can’t solve our problems. If he’s honest, he’ll tell us he’s just going to do the best he can to keep everything from going to hell.”
In essence, Rooney was humorously promoting not-so-presidential, oft-overlooked traits like honesty and humility. So where does that leave candidates like Trump?
Hopefully out of the race. Soon.
Megan Wallin is a young writer with a background in the social sciences and an interest in seeking the extraordinary in the mundane. A Seattle native, she finds complaining about the constant drizzle and overabundance of Starbucks coffee therapeutic. With varied work experiences as a residential counselor, preprimary educator, musician, writing tutor and college newspaper reporter/editor, Megan is thrilled to offer a unique perspective through writing, research and open dialogue.