Daily, Donald Trump, the Tweeterer- in-chief exposes himself as a twit and commentators are loving it. I can’t keep up with the jokes memorializing this humorless man. Here’s a sample from the October issue of Vanity Fair. “Trump has made Russia Great again; Trump is a checker play in a chessboard world; Trump admits the Bible is a good book, but he cannot read it, since his name isn’t in it.” (pgs. 169-171.) Or, as Jon Meacham writes with less humor, “He comes to office warped by self-absorption, conceit, and a narcissistic certitude that he is always right , while the rest of the world, unless it is flattering him, is wrong, even hostile.” (“The Strength of Humility,” by Jon Meacham, Vanity Fair, October, 2017, pg. 161.)
Unfortunately, Trump has met his complement in Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, an equally humorless, macho man. Neither understands the art of the deal, the first rule of which, as Meacham points out, is never to back your opponent into a corner. Leave an adversary wiggle room to save face. Unfortunately, Trump grew up as a spoiled brat and Kim, likewise. Neither understands the concept of compromise, which makes the leap from a playground squabble to nuclear war frighteningly plausible.
No one in Kim’s world can stay his hand, but at home, the Republicans should do something. I’ve read they fear a backlash from his followers. But not all Trump supporters are hellions. Some simply ask the country to give the man a chance. My question is, “To do what?” To make public his tax returns? Divest himself of his business holdings? Convince Mexico to pay for the border wall? Deport the Dreamers? Abolish ACA and create millions of medically indigent citizens? Deny climate change until Wyoming becomes floodplain state?
I realize when I confront Trump’s enthusiasts with questions like these, I become someone who has forgotten the first rule of diplomacy. With scorn and humor, I attempt to paint these folks into a corner. My mind is closed. And those who already feel forgotten cling with greater tenacity to a man who panders to them and claims to understand their fears when, to be honest, he hasn’t a clue.
Sadly, our country is adrift because too many feel they aren’t being heard. Not the C.E.Os of Wall Street. Not the homeless of main street.
John McCain thinks he has a way to put the country back together again. He asks us to listen to one another. A simple idea. I begin with myself. Let me open my ears and my heart. And may McCain’s torch reignite the flame that has guided this country for 132 years.