I didn’t think it was possible to have a president worse than George W. Bush. He led our nation into two wars we’re still fighting, the ramifications of which we are still living with–from thousands and thousands of veterans returning to their families with horrific injuries and PTSD, to an infrastructure suffering from years of neglect, to the Great Recession that happened on his watch, to the gross income equality that has only made the lives of most people harder and harder to bear.
Do you remember him standing in his bomber jacket declaring victory a decade ago? He was the president puppet of Dick Cheney and the neo-cons, and we watched, in disbelief, as one cherished American ideal after another was overturned and trampled over — from the violation of the Geneva conventions with torture used at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to the shredding of voting rights to the Citizens United decision that ensured generations of equally dismal and undemocratic elections. And these are only a few of the liberties lost.
Those were grim years, and we pulled together and tried to stand as one after 9-11, but really, we had no idea how far into the future the consequences of those terrible decisions would be felt.
His big military name for sending our troops into Iraq — illegally, without any provocation, and with very little forethought, under the lie that Saddam Hussein was somehow responsible for 9-11,– was Shock and Awe. What a debacle.
For the last eight years, President Obama has tried to right the wrongs and change the course to a stable one, but he was blocked at every attempt by a congress with only one goal, to disallow any positive change that might come from his leadership. Still, he managed to get our economy back on course, give health insurance to thousands of people who couldn’t afford it before, and to bring the respect and integrity and believability back to the office of President.
But today, we have Mr. Trump, and his vision of leadership seems to be limited to Shocking and Awful!
His campaign was run on his own Can I Top This? — one outrageous, bombastic lie or vicious personal attack after another, which the greedy media gobbled up, swallowed and regurgitated on our 24 hour news cycle for 18 months — I don’t need to repeat them, you know what they were, and still are — and I need to shout my objections.
Mr. Trump, words have consequences! Did no one ever teach you to think before you speak? Did your failed marriages not warn you of the effect of things said that can never be unsaid? Do you really believe that just because you can say something, that you should?
Mr. Trump, your campaign was all about sales, selling your soul to win media bites and free advertising on major networks. We expected Fox TV to support you, but every other major outlet, too? Shame on you, CBS for not apologizing when you admitted that Trump may be bad for the country, but good for CBS —
And now, misogynists think it’s okay to berate and sexually assault women in public; and kids think it’s okay to tell their classmates of color to go back to Africa; and all around the world, people are afraid of what the US is going to do, when led by such a loose cannon, such an ill-tempered, bratty solipsist who really believes the world revolves around him.
Mr. Trump, this is not the time to be outrageous. Granted, you won a sales campaign that was waged with the most cynical vision of what the American people wanted — a campaign based on false advertising, which no one ever charged you with.
I’m here to tell you that what you’ve done is wrong. You got away with it, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong.
You need to change, because the sales part of your campaign is over, and a real presidency requires a whole different set of skills, like diplomacy and discernment and the ability to listen to different points of view. You might start by inviting into your cabinet decent, responsible, grownups who have done the hard work it takes to accomplish things, to build things of quality that will last, to listen to different points of view and resist the urge to react impulsively to every perceived threat to your very fragile ego. You might also begin to think about the people who have less than you do — less fame, less fortune, less legal assistance with real world things like bankruptcy and foreclosure.
I know this is difficult, because change is hard even when people want to change. You don’t even know yet that the path you’re on is a failed one, because after all, you won!