Guest Blog: The Malevolent Character of Donald Trump

I was alerted to the post by a close friend on Facebook and contacted the author for permission to repost it here on Blogging Blue. So here are some thoughts on the malevolent character and antisocial aberration that is Donald Trump from the pen of George Godwyn (adult language included):

I belong to several Trump groups. I watch them, I interact with Trump supporters, there and elsewhere, sometimes arguing, sometimes just observing. These are the hardcore supporters, I’m talking to. Some of them are consciously politicized, some aren’t, but they’re all pretty fanatic. Mostly they just don’t care what critics have to say. They either laugh, or accuse people of being snowflakes. Rarely are real political issues dealt with. Contentious points are just shrugged off, with a few exceptions.

Last February, during a speech, Donald Trump engaged in a series of motions that seemed to be a rude imitation of a disabled reporter with whom Mr. Trump had some disagreement.

This incident comprises one of the exceptions, one of the few topics that always, in my experience, brings real arguments out of his supporters, probably the most common. People who generally spend their time posting memes about “libtards” or college students needing safe spaces will suddenly trot out a nice, uncharacteristically comprehensible explanation of this incident.

These explanations are ultimately ridiculous, of course, because, as anyone who’s seen the video knows, he did it.

Donald Trump stood on a stage and openly, publicly mocked a disabled man. He actually insisted we look at the man, observe his disability, “Now, the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy: ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember,’ he’s going like ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said'”, and then he began to obviously, blatantly, horrifyingly, perform a stomach-turning dramatization of his perception of the disabled reporter, a man he knew, a man with whom he was on a first name basis.

The reason this requires attention on the part of his followers when it comes up is that they saw it, too.

There’s no amount of rationalization that can erase this fact. We all saw it. We all fucking saw it. We knew what it was the minute it happened. We, all of us, went to high school at some point. We knew those kids, the kind of kids who did things like that. We saw them do it. Not the normal bullies, not the jocks who would mess with you once in a while. The real creeps, the nasty fuckers, the ones who truly didn’t care about humiliating people, who liked it. We saw them torment kids, the vulnerable ones, make them feel like shit about themselves. Harm them.

Maybe you tried to stop it, maybe you joined in a couple times until you realized how fucking shitty it felt. Maybe you did it a lot but you grew out of it and you feel like shit about it now, as you should, maybe you were one of the targets. Or maybe you just stayed quiet because, fuck, you were a kid and you were scared and confused. But we all know what we saw, we’ve all seen it before. We all know what he did. All of us. Even his supporters, even the ones who say he didn’t do it. They know he did it. Somewhere, they know.

There’s nothing about the incident that’s out of character for him at all, it’s not incommensurate with what we know of him the least bit. He did it, we all know he did it, and anyone with an ounce of decency or character, supporter or not, somewhere in their soul, feels dirty for having seen it. The mask, torn and insufficient as it is, fell away for a moment and we all saw exactly who Donald Trump is, what he is.

Most of us understand, even at our angriest, that most of the people in high office have, somewhere, some sort of basic human decency, no matter how ambition and the office compromises or fades it. Over the course of my life I’ve chuckled and frowned a whole lot over the way people refer to any politician disagreeing with them, anyone on the other side of the political divide, as Hitler or Stalin or the antichrist. I don’t indict the basic moral character of people I oppose politically lightly. But this is different. Almost all of us know, somewhere, what happened on that stage in February, and almost everyone knows what it means about the man and the nation.

We’ve seen vile men on our national political stage, we’ve read about these men in the past, but nothing like this. Nothing like this. This man is something new, something truly, deeply, unclean. Worse than anyone in our lifetimes, our parents lifetimes, our grandparents, and further, maybe in the history of the Republic. He’s a ravening, bottomless void, a bawling, untethered id, intent on nothing but feeding his sense of self-importance and superiority, devoid of the slightest leavening shame or even simple, momentary embarrassment. The person in charge of this nation does not care one iota, one gold leaf bathroom fixture, about you or your friends or anyone but himself. If you don’t recognize Donald Trump for the singular, unique, malevolent figure he is, you expose your ignorance of history.

I kept stopping myself as I wrote those last lines, wanting to keep myself from hyperbole, but then I read what I’ve written again and I can’t delete it because it’s true. It’s just true.

Our system of government is representative, so ultimately character is what we’re electing, not programs or ideas, character. Without character, the agenda doesn’t matter, and we have elected someone for whom the term just seems like a bad joke. There’s none of it, he simply has none, or what little he has is bad. There’s a fox in the henhouse and the henhouse door is locked for the next four years. If you’ve ever been around a truly bad person before, you just know it. You feel it in your gut. The President of the United States, our President, is a kind of monster.

So far all we’ve seen is the man himself and his little band of third-rate hacks puking vitriol, inanity, and disinformation onto Twitter and cable tv. The real onslaught begins now, and the way it begins will be the constant, torrential streams of deceit piled on deceit, lie on lie, gaslighting so obvious it becomes a joke until, somehow, drowned in the flood of obvious mendacity, we start forgetting where we are and where we used to be. The pot begins to boil and we don’t notice till our flesh is seared away from our bones. Lies so large, so fast, so constant, they can’t be refuted and, anyway, what does refutation do against a man with no conscience? How can it really affect he or his most devoted supporters?

As this progresses, as the press conferences begin, and the Republican congressmen and cronies begin enacting his regime in true ernest (sic), when the other people at work decide maybe the wall isn’t such a bad idea, when your Democrat uncle says he thinks maybe it’s time to start registering Muslims, when everyone around you starts slowly caving in, forgetting, remember what you saw. Look at that video, keep the image in your mind of a 69 year old man who is now the most powerful person on earth standing on a stage in front of thousands of cheering Americans and openly, proudly, trying to humiliate another human being for having the temerity to do his job and the courage to live his life with an obstacle. Like the vilest, shittiest 16 year old punk in your high school, like the lowest form of barroom bully begging for a slap to remind him he’s dogshit. It happened, you saw it, you understood exactly what it meant about him and anyone who truly supports him.

Remember that. Remember that he’s the thing that’s gone wrong, not you, not the rest of us. However distant this day becomes, however normal the abnormal starts to seem, remember the way things are now, today, however imperfect. Remember today and remember that this is what we are, this is who we are, not what they’re going to try to make us. Keep your shit together, know what you believe, and do not allow the people around you to obscure what you’ve seen, what you know to be true. Do not give in.

Do not allow this man, this villain, to exhaust you, to make you into something like him, simply because you’ve forgotten the way things are supposed to be.

And fasten your seatbelts, motherfuckers, it’s going to be a bumpy night.

Far better than I could have said it, thank you Mr. Godwyn!

WI Supreme Court Orders Doe Investigation Documents Released

In a story that apparently got lost in the events around the Inauguration on Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the release of documents related to the John Doe investigations into Governor Walker’s campaigns.

The documents will be heavily redacted so it isn’t really clear how useful they will be to the public in determining what actually went on and if District Attorney John Chisholm had cause to pursue the case. That is an issue that Walker supporters have been arguing since day one.

The court ordered that several dozen documents be made available to the public. It is unclear how heavily redacted the documents will be.

What is odd is who on the court was involved and who wasn’t.

Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson partially dissented from the decision, saying she favored the release of the documents but did not agree that all the redactions were necessary or consistent. Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Grassl Bradley and Daniel Kelly did not participate.

How valid is a court ruling if three justices don’t even participate? And hopefully the reasons they didn’t participate will be disclosed in upcoming news items.

President Barack Obama Says Thank You

My fellow Americans,

It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.

But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I’ve pulled strength. I’ve seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers — and found grace in a Charleston church.

I’ve taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again. I’ve seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.

I’ve seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I’ve seen our future unfolding.

All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work — the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’

Yes, we can.

President Barack Obama

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North Carolina Separation of Powers vs. Election Laws

In the waning days of North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s term, the Republican legislature went out of it’s way to reduce gubernatorial power before his Democratic successor could take office. And all of us on the left were wailing and gnashing our teeth…and rightfully so…since the power grab happened in special session at the very last minute…and violated the separation of powers in NC.

But then a judge stalled one of the laws…blocking the new law that changed the nature and membership in the state’s election commissions…and the left huzzahed and hurrahed. But on reflection that change may not be what it appears. Really.

The changes to the law at the center of Cooper’s Friday lawsuit convert the five-member state elections board from one with a partisan majority matching the governor’s into a bipartisan body with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. County election boards would have two members from each party, rather than the current three members with a majority from the governor’s party

Now, I understand that a bipartisan election commission with equal number of Democrats and Republicans isn’t optimal. We tried that once in Wisconsin and got nothing but trouble but not learning our lesson, are doing it again. And I can’t imagine it’s gonna work a whole lot better in North Carolina considering the history of the law.

But even that would be better than the extant law it was intended to replace…which essentially gives control to the governor’s party…and I don’t care what party is in power…that ain’t supposed to be how it works.

Between gerrymandering and stacked election commissions and photo id laws, the right to vote is under attack across the nation. As voters and citizens we need to defend ourselves…and demand fair elections. And maybe something akin to the late lamented Wisconsin General Accountability Board.

No single party should ever control the election process!

Drug Companies Are Totally Out of Control

While Madison is discussing how to solve the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin…from both prescription and illegal forms of the drug…watching TV in a Chicago hotel Sunday night…I was bombarded with ads for drugs to solve Opioid Induced Constipation. The use of opioid painkillers is so endemic and long term that we have a new side effect that requires another drug to ‘cure’?

If this isn’t another indication that we need a coherent policy on drugs and drug abuse, I don’t know what is.

Democrats Behaving Badly: Playing Walker Bingo At the State of the State

Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that State Representative Gordon Hintz created a little Governor Walker bingo game and passed it out to Democratic legislators for use during the governor’s State of the State address. Now I am hardly a fan of Governor Walker but he is still governor of Wisconsin until 2018. And if the dems want to have any semblance of respectability going into the 2018 elections…they need to act like responsible adults.

Republicans were not happy that Democrats weren’t focused on the governor’s largely ceremonial talk to the joint session of the Legislature.

At this point I wouldn’t mind seeing them all replaced by dems who want to do the job!

On the other hand:

…the Walker administration did not give them (the Democratic legislators) a transcript of the governor’s talk, the first time Hintz said this has happened. Instead, they were given highlights of Walker’s remarks.