After the shock of the election outcome, I struggled with the question of why on Earth Donald Trump became the winner. In listening to his negative campaign rhetoric — including the stereotyping of Muslims, Mexicans and others; making fun of people with disabilities; disparaging prisoners of war and a Gold Star family; and then listening to the tape of his words describing his objectification and mistreatment of women — I had an image of the man as the bully on the playground because bullies do similar things to diminish the others around them.
What I failed to see and should well have understood was all the hurting people who because of lack of jobs and opportunity were starving and feeling voiceless. For them, the “American Dream” seemed a mere illusion. So when Trump promised to fix everything, they believed him. Here was someone they thought they could trust, so they voted for him. But I (and many others) knew better.
I knew that these were empty promises because he never backed them up with concrete plans. Because of this, another image of the man emerged from a story many years past. At that time, a friend who worked in Manhattan brought home a “hot” radio he’d paid $40 for from a guy off the street. It was Christmastime, and he wanted to surprise his three children with this shiny new radio. But his smile quickly turned to dismay when he opened the box to find the front piece of a radio with nothing behind it but shredded paper. He had been conned.
This con is what I see as the Trump persona; that is, flashy on the outside but nothing of value on the inside. In fact, he has no plan to fix the economy other than to fix it so that his multi-millionaire pals line their pockets on the backs of honest, hard-working men and women. The people he has chosen for his cabinet are not only inexperienced for the jobs they have been assigned, but most of them have taken positions in opposition to those very positions, and worse, seem to be against all of the democratic principles we hold dear in this nation.
For the job of president, it appears Trump has thumbed his nose on all aspects of executive protocol. He does not think he needs daily briefings; will not hold press conferences, thereby disdaining a free press; and refuses to release his tax returns or divest himself of his businesses. (FYI, keeping them in the family does not equate to divesting; it is diverting.) He also thinks it is OK to act on “The Apprentice” while holding the highest office of the land. Then again, acting is what he has been doing all along. He dismisses anyone who disagrees with him, much as he said, “You’re fired” on that TV show. This is not presidential behavior; it is dictatorial behavior.
If after reviewing this, the hurting people who were conned — yes conned — can still overlook the toxicity underlying this proposed administration, there is an old saying: “What you see is what you get.” And what you’ve got is the bully on the playground who is also the con artist on a scale surpassing a Bernie Madoff in using trust to fool others; a person who could not possibly love this country or he would not treat it so badly. You deserve better than this. We all do.
I have joined others who have made the choice to opt out of watching the January 20 circus inauguration. Calling ourselves Humans United for a Peaceful America (HUPA), we will instead emulate the Water Protectors in North Dakota by being engaged in peaceful, prayerful protest. We will do this for love of our brothers and sisters, no matter the color of their skin, their race, ancestry, religion, gender or sexual orientation; for love of this beautiful country; and for the care and preservation of Earth, now and for generations to come. Oh, and Mr. Trump, we cannot be bought.
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so — especially now, because we have just 2 days left to raise $33,000 in critical funds.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?