A dear cousin of mine, a bright, left-leaning and highly spiritual fellow, slightly chastised me for an anti-Trump posting on my Facebook page. My message was a compelling quote from an essay by Garrison Keillor, the writer and former host of NPR’s popular Prairie Home Companion:
He will never be my president because he doesn’t read books, can’t write more than a sentence or two at a time, has no strong loyalties beyond himself, is more insular than any New Yorker I ever knew, and because I don’t see anything admirable or honorable about him. This sets him apart from other politicians. The disaffected white blue-collar workers elected a Fifth Avenue tycoon to rescue them from the elitists — fine, I get that — but they could’ve chosen a better tycoon. One who served in the military or attends church or reads history, loves opera, sails a boat — something — anything — raises llamas, plays the oboe, runs a 5K race now and then, has close friends from childhood. I look at him and there’s nothing there.
My cousin replied (in part):
But he IS our president. I think we harm ourselves by continuing to wish him away. And as long as we continue to say “he’s not my president,” we’re no better than the people who spent the last 8 years pretending Obama wasn’t THEIR president.
And my response:
Intellectually we all know that he is (will be) our president. But as Keillor points out, this man is singularly apart from all other presidents, and, in fact, all other American leaders in any major position. What I, and so many others are doing, is to continually re-stoke the fires of anger — not to be blind obstructionists, but to forestall a sense of normalcy from creeping into the Zeitgeist of our nation.
Trump is not normal and reminding ourselves of that fact is, in my view, the patriotic thing to do.
The back and forth has stuck in my mind because I recognize that my cousin’s views are similar to those of many Democrats. And that’s why in this blog post I want to amplify my sentiments.
We can’t sit back and return to business as normal because when we accept, when we “normalize” Trump, we…
- Accept that future presidential candidates no longer must release their tax returns. Business entanglements and potential conflicts of interest thus will remain hidden from public scrutiny,
- Accept the vilest, crudest forms of behavior from our candidates,
- Give away our demand that candidates adhere to facts, and that they never promulgate conspiracy theories, or other unproven statements,
- No longer insist that chief advisors and Cabinet appointments are recognized experts in their fields and not merely acquaintances or cheerleaders for the president. (Ben Carson at HUD?!)
Each of the above requests, bizarre in every other previous presidential campaign, are minimum standards!
That’s why, while we can hope that some of Trump’s plans do in fact help our country be “greater,” we do ourselves and our country’s future a disservice by passively accepting the results of the Electoral College victory.
Donald Trump will be OUR president, but because he is so strange in so many ways, I don’t have to accept him as MY president.
Thanks for caring about the truth.
Please pass this message on.