Three million years ago, a distant ancestor of mine lived in Ethiopia. Since then, we humans have grown taller, stronger, more intelligent and, I would hope, more compassionate.
After three million years of evolution, is Donald Trump the best we have achieved?
Face it, Trump is the world’s No. 1
human, the colossus who sits bestride the world (to borrow a line from historian Robert Payne). President of the world’s most powerful nation. Chief executive officer of the world’s richest economy, who can make stock markets around the world crash with a single Tweet. Commander-in-chief of the world’s largest military force, with the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal.
A while ago, I resolved that I would not waste any more columns on Trump. It’s difficult to keep that resolution, when he declares himself “the least racist person in the world.” Or condemns the entire city of Baltimore as a “rat and rodent-infested mess.”
In the last four years of his campaigning and presidency, I cannot think of one Tweet, press statement, or executive order that I would support unconditionally.
Not even his most recent assertion, following the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, that there is no place in America for bigotry and white supremacy. Because he was clearly reading from a teleprompter, mouthing words written for him by someone else. They’re not his style, not his sentiments, not his vocabulary.
And they directly contradict his previous positions.
I cannot continue to avoid writing about him.
The final straw was his attacks on four female members of Congress, telling them to go back where they came from. All four are American citizens. All four were elected by American voters.
At a rally, his supporters chanted, “Send her back! Send her back!”
Trump later claimed that he had quelled the chant. TV footage shows he was lying. He smirked. Even if he didn’t openly encourage the chant, he clearly enjoyed it.
Just as, in campaign rallies, he reveled in the anti-Clinton chant, “Lock her up!”
I suggest we need a counter movement: “Turn him off!”
Recently, I went hiking from a remote lodge in the Rockies. Tucked into a mountain valley,
it had no TV, no cable, no cell network, and only enough internet to process credit cards.
For four days, I heard not one word from Donald Trump. It was wonderful!
Three top clergy of the National Cathedral in Washington wrote an article circulated by Religion News Service.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith is Dean of Washington National Cathedral. The Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas is canon theologian of Washington National Cathedral.
“As faith leaders in the sacred space where America gathers at moments of national significance ,” they wrote, “we feel compelled to ask: When will Americans have had enough?”
The trio recalled a similarly dark period, when “under the guise of ridding the country of Communist infiltration, (Senator Joe) McCarthy had free rein to say and do whatever he wished. With unbridled speech, he stoked the fears of an anxious nation with lies; destroyed the careers of countless Americans; and bullied into submissive silence anyone who dared criticize him.”
And then, they noted, on June 9, 1954, “U.S. Army attorney Joseph Welch confronted Sen. Joseph McCarthy before a live television audience: ‘Until this moment, Senator, I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness … You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?’”
Welch’s challenge, they said, “effectively ended McCarthy’s notorious hold on the nation.”
They summed up, “We have come to accept a level of insult and abuse in political discourse that violates each person’s sacred identity as a child of God. We have come to accept as normal a steady stream of language and accusations coming from the highest office in the land that plays to racist elements in society.
“When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough?”
If you’ve had enough, like me, turn him off! Turn him off every time he shows up on the news. Or on Twitter or Facebook.
Imagine the effect of having millions of TV sets and cell phones switch off every time Trump appears. The networks will
notice; it’s their job to track of these things. Advertisers will notice. Even politicians might notice.
Besides, nothing humiliates a narcissist more than being ignored.
Let’s have a counter-chant: “Turn him off! Turn him off!”
Jim Taylor is an Okanagan Centre author and freelance journalist. He can be reached at email@example.com