Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Open Letter to Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

I have been thinking of writing to you for some time, and I’ve finally gotten around to it.

I didn’t know much about you in the past, though your name was occasionally in the news.  I watched and like your Apprentice show, because it forced people to quickly make a plan, and quickly implement a plan to get some business going. In general, I liked the show because I saw young entrepreneurs working creatively to make a buck.  I kept a lot of my ideas to myself as I watched the show, such as “it seems that it doesn’t really matter HOW you make a buck, as long as you make the most.” I mean, sometimes the “winner” wasn’t really a winner in my eyes, but they always made the most money, which was the tangible and measurable factor by which you gauged “success.”  

Sometimes I agreed with your reasons for “firing” one of the contestants, especially when you thought they used less than ideal or socially acceptable means to earn their day’s money. 

Overall, the show seemed like an aggressive business boot camp where you do or die, make money or go home.

It was very entertaining, and it made me realize that American business and creativity are not dead.  (Though, to be honest, I much prefer the recent “Shark Tank,” where existing small business people vie for investment money.)

Somewhere in there, I recall seeing on TV how you sold Merv Griffin an old apartment building.  Merv was happy, and you got the price you wanted, but in talking about it, I was a bit perplexed that you had to call Merv Griffin names and belittle his character, because you wanted it known that you won and he lost.  I recall wondering, why couldn’t you both have “won”?  You got rid of something you didn’t want, and Merv got something he wanted. Win-win.  But no, you had to demean Merv, for reasons I never knew. Surely a “big businessman” doesn’t resort to such tactics.

Now we see you more often than during the Apprentice in your bid for the presidency.  Let me explain why I am ashamed at what I now see you doing.

Yes, you say you want to make America great again. That’s all fine and dandy.

I was brought up in the world of William Buckley’s Firing Line on Sunday afternoons, where he would debate complex matters with people he disagreed with, always with a smile, always sticking to the issues, never ever stooping to such puerility as calling each other names, as boys do in the bathroom or out on the school yard.

I do not understand why you stoop to 3rd grade bully tactics when talking to and with people who should be, at least on a certain level of abstraction, your colleagues and potential partners.  To bring up Carly Fiorone’s face and to suggest that she is not good looking was a low blow, and unnecessary. Come on, Donald, have you ever looked in a mirror lately?  Everyone ages and beauty is fleeting. The presidency is not a beauty contest.  You have nit-picked every other running mate, in one way or another, in personal attacks that are not worthy of a presidential candidate, and definitely unbecoming and undesirable in an actual president, and nearly always in ways that have nothing at all to do with their ability to run the country.

 I cannot remember another President in my lifetime who ever publicly stooped to such personal attacks. Probably the closest thing was Ronald Reagan saying he was going to whip Jimmy Carter’s ass.  But he never again, to my knowledge, stooped to a gutter level in his interactions with, or his speaking about, Carter or others.

The fact that you continue to do so means that this is a very natural state of mind for you. It is also painfully obvious that you have no one in your inner circle (that you listen to) who tells you the great harm you are doing by this continued childish name-calling. You hurt yourself, at least it seems so. You hurt the Republican party, which to date, has been used to a campaign with at least outward civility. And you hurt the office of the presidency.

Believe me, I am no fan of Hillary in this extraordinary campaign year.  She has out-Nixoned Nixon already, and amazingly, her supporters are legion, who seem not to care about her deep character flaws.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump, don’t you understand that civility and yes, even politeness and tactfulness, are the hallmarks of a real leader?  I fear that all your money is going to your head, and you believe that  you have so much money, that you can say whatever you want.  Yes, you can, but you bring down our revered institutions each time you belittle another candidate in your childish tirades. Can’t you stick to the real issues upon which a presidency will be involved? 

Your quick and ridiculing and belittling comments are unworthy of a chief of state who will also need to interact other world leaders, whose co-operation is better than their anger.  You will not be able to “fire” other world leaders who do not see things your way.

Yes, I know there are the frustrated masses who like you because you are not politically-correct and because you “speak your mind.”  These are good things, to a point.  Being candid and honest is generally a good thing.  But your “letting it all hang out” is not a good thing.  It is the political version of the Oregon Bhagwan’s free-for-all orgies where anything could and did happen, and eventually the towns organized to eliminate the Bhagwan guru and his followers.  Some people like your style now, and I tremble to say that they like the style which has no substance, and they are swayed by the apparent free-style which has gone out of the bounds of presidential decency. 

Perhaps someone will arise who can be a real uniter, someone who Democrats and Republicans and Independents can unite behind for the good of the country. Perhaps it is time for the rise of a meaningful third party, since the available options are looking increasingly bleak. 

It would be better for the country, and the presidency, Mr. Trump, if you dropped out of the race and went back to your very entertaining Apprentice show, and your many business enterprises which you enjoy so much.  You have not demonstrated the ability to negotiate on a political level, and to bring people together in a common win-win agreement.  At least if you go back to the Apprentice and to your business enterprises, you will be able to call those under your control whatever you wish without international consequences.

1 comment:

Kim Tretheway said...

Well said Christopher.