A xenophobic, racist, sexist, bullying, ignorant, twitter addicted, seemingly mentally ill man with narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies, and clear inappropriate conflicts of interest including dodgy ties to Russian despot Putin, who interfered in the American Democracy by hacking our elections – is being installed as the President of the United States. It’s a sad, awful state of affairs that has produced a weird malaise, sort of like when you first get diagnosed with a deadly disease. The election of Trump was like a cancer on America. We know that we have a fight for our lives ahead of us, but we are not sure of its magnitude and how far it has spread.
I was going to write a piece on how the majority of people in the country are feeling right now. However, a post appeared on my Facebook page that was basically like reading my mind linked with the writer’s! Thus, I reached out to Doug to see if I could run his post and he, thankfully, said yes. Below find Doug’s post. I could not have said it better myself!
Trump Is All Wrong For America
by Doug Wright
It’s no great secret that the election was something akin to a national trauma; everyone on either side of the aisle is feeling it. I’ve been trying to articulate “why” I’m awash in so much profound, unsettling despair. As the inauguration nears, I find a certain terrifying clarity.
This particular election hasn’t divided us by ideological stripe; it cuts much, much deeper. I think it challenges us at our moral core, both as a nation and as individuals.
As children, most parents we would traditionally praise as “good” work to instill certain precepts in their children that form a moral center that will enable them to function productively in the larger world. These are elemental in Western culture and hardly controversial; in fact, they are the stuff of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. They include (a) honesty, (b) that boys should respect girls, and girls should respect boys, (c) that we should show compassion for the disabled, the weak or the suffering, (d) that we should not judge others by their faith of ethnicity but work for common understanding, and (e) that knowledge is a powerful force for advancement.
From childhood, we’re taught to hold these conventions up for nothing less than peaceful cohabitation and the steady forward thrust of a civil society.
To say that Donald Trump scorns all of these teachings is not merely my opinion; it’s empirical fact. In fact, he does so with a kind of unrelenting, Twitter-based brio, proud to flaunt moral convention. Again, this is not my interpretation of his behavior, but a simple, straightforward reading of it:
He is dishonest.
He has lied about his contacts with Russia, lied that his tax returns cannot be released because they are “under audit,” lied about the worth and expanse of his real estate holdings, and lied about “winning the election in a landslide.” He lied about thousands of Muslims cheering after 9-11. He has cheated countless vendors out of equitable payment, and has thwarted nepotism laws and the emoluments clause. He lied about making a one million dollar donation to charity, until news organizations made him accountable and he shamefacedly made the gift. Again, these are not allegations. They are facts.
He is a misogynist.
This hardly needs repeating; he speaks disparagingly of women, from his very public insults directed toward Carly Fiorina and Rosie O’Donnell, to his off-the-cuff remarks to Billy Bush aboard the now-infamous tour bus, to salacious remarks to Howard Stern about the anatomy of his very own daughters. If the newly released dossier is to be believed (and to date, in fairness, we’ve no idea if it should be), he has a few predilections straight out of the works of the Marquis de Sade. Again, to call Trump a misogynist is not a controversial claim; even many who voted for him agree that it is true, and his own, unrepentant remarks are undeniable.
He ridicules the disabled and the weak.
One need look no further than his callous impersonation of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. When challenged, he has offered the disingenuous defense that he has been somehow misrepresented; yet the tapes of his behavior – widely available – prove otherwise. “Did you see this guy?” he asks, and then flails his arms about in hapless fashion, making a vacuous, even idiotic expression. We’re left to believe him, or our own eyes. His favorite epithet is “loser” and he disparages the poor who “do not pay their taxes” when he has failed to do so for over two decades.
He is a racist.
Once again, this is not a harsh characterization of Trump. We can empirically prove it. Early in his career, he routinely denied apartments in his properties to African-American applicants. He has conflated some of the wealthiest, most achievement-oriented communities in the country (in cities like Toledo and Atlanta) with ghettos, solely because they are predominantly black. He has publicly derided one of America’s greatest civil rights heroes as ineffectual, with little knowledge of John Lewis’ career as an activist. With one exception, his cabinet picks have all been white. Trump wants to create a national registry that targets people solely because of their faith.
He disdains knowledge.
Trump doesn’t even attend presidential security briefings. To him, knowledge is an unnecessary encumbrance. Rather than consult or appoint experts, he relies on his own “very good brain” and proffers cabinet positions to cronies who have no governmental or public service experience at all. It has been widely reported that his vocabulary hovers around the sixth grade level; linguists and cognitive scientists tell us that the quality of our thoughts and our ability to articulately express them are intensely correlated. You cannot divorce language from ideas. And if you are deficient in one, you are deficient in the other.
So – in short – Trump violates everything we are taught to prize as “moral.” To suggest otherwise is to enter the comic sphere of paid spokespeople like Kelly Anne Conway, who – in order to defend her boss – is forced to divorce syntax from meaning, images from their obvious context, and to serially deny any inconvenient facts.
So by any commonly shared perception, whether we are on the right or on the left, we must agree that Trump – by definition – is an immoral man.
When I raise this with Trump advocates, they employ one of two equally false arguments to defend their support; they attempt to define Trump by comparing him to Hillary Clinton, whom they find equally or more odious, OR they throw up in their hands in frustration, cry that politics is at best a dirty game, that elected officials are all liars and thieves, and they can only hope Trump won’t be the worst of them.
The first argument is irrelevant, because innate in the very definition of morality is the notion that it is absolute; it is not relative. So to paint Hillary as immoral is pointless when it comes to assessing Trump.
The second argument is nihilistic, and nihilism refutes the existence of morality in the first place.
Again, Trump’s failings are not mere personality defects or style issues or reality TV quirks; they are symptoms of profound moral decay. And yet, for almost half of American voters, not a single one of these soul-killing deficits rendered him unsuitable for arguably the most powerful elected office in the known world.
So we are left with a vexing, even appalling question: Can you consider yourself a moral person if you voted for an obviously immoral man?
I’m not so sure that you can.
And that’s why the morning after I woke up from the election, I had the queasy realization that – in a nation I once believed was tethered together by some kind of ethical common ground – I am surrounded by people with hearts, as dark and malleable as, Trump himself.
That’s why I am losing sleep, and casting wary, suspicious eyes at fellow travelers, exiling former Facebook friends to oblivion, and finding anxious solace in my liberal New York echo chamber. The United States used to be a moral beacon for the world, despite the limitations of its leaders. Now, I worry, it’s rotting from within.