Why Trump Makes Me Happy


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If you have been following this blog at all in the past 9 months, you will know that when I retired last June, it was with a great deal of sadness and a fair amount of regret.

I loved teaching. I loved spending my days with children, helping them to grow and to think and to learn about themselves.  As I moved into the fall with no classroom full of children around me, I found myself somewhat adrift.

But then Donald Trump happened and I was able to view my new life, sans classroom, with more relief than regret.

And here’s why.

Because this country has focused so intently in the past few years on ending the epidemic of bullying in our schools, that’s why.

And if I was still teaching, I would have to find a way to explain to my group of tender young children why it is suddenly acceptable and even admirable for an adult to be a bully, while they are expected to show more restraint, kindness and humanity.

If I was still taking care of 25 ten year old children, I would have to answer questions about why so many Americans choose to elect a man who publicly curses as he talks about his plans to kill others. (“I’d bomb the shit out of them.”)  I would have to somehow find a way to explain, if not excuse, the adoration that so many adults in our country are showing to a man who announces his desire to “punch that protestor in the face”.  I would have to find a way to explain lies, name calling, insults, racism, sexism……

I don’t know what I would do.  I don’t how I would respond.

So for the first time since my sudden decision to retire, I am truly relieved NOT to be in a classroom any longer.

I was listening to my XM radio tonight as I drove through the rain to go grocery shopping. I was listening to the POTUS radio station, which features “Politics of the United States for the People of the United States.”  The show that was on was called “Steele and Ungar”, and its usually one that I truly enjoy.  It features a man who once served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee (Michael Steele) and man who came through Hollywood and entered the world of progressive political talk (Rick Ungar). I love the show because the two men clearly enjoy each other’s company and respect and understand each other as they debate the day’s politics through their very different viewpoints.

Tonight the topic of the Donald was the featured discussion on the show.  Michael Steele, while not a supporter of Trump, kept repeating that he knows the man personally, and doesn’t think that he will be as terrifying or as inept as so many of seem to fear.  Rick Ungar, on the other hand, repeatedly stated his own discomfort with the idea of Trump as President.  Here was his main concern: he stated his firm belief that no matter whether or not Americans agree with their President, they must respect him/her out of respect for the office. “But what do I tell my Grandchildren if Trump becomes President?”, he asked. “What do I tell them when the most powerful man in the world says things that I tell them they must never say?  What do I tell them when he behaves in ways that I tell them are wrong?”

I understand Mr. Ungar’s discomfort and confusion.  I don’t know what I would tell my students if I had to try to explain all this to them.  But I do know this:

I would NOT tell my children that they need to respect the person who holds the office of President.  I would do my best to make it clear that differences of opinion are not enough to warrant a lack of respect.  But I would make it very clear to them, as I did so often when I was raising my own children and teaching the children of other parents, that respect must be earned.

Respect. Must. Be. Earned.

We do not merit respect because of our wealth, or our position of power, or our fame or our ability to out shout or out insult those around us.  We earn respect by showing ourselves to be thoughtful, kind, caring and respectful of others.

If Mr. Trump is elected, I will not respect him.  I don’t respect bullies.   I won’t respect them.

I would never ever ever ask children to respect someone who fails to behave as well as they do.

Sorry, Rick Ungar.  But Respect. Must. Be. Earned.

 

I have a theory


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Here’s my highly informed, incredibly insightful theory about what is motivating the irascible bloviator who leads the polls for the Republican party.  You ready?

The Donald has NO desire to become President of the United States.  None. I’m not kidding.

Have you seen the President’s salary? A measly $400,000 a year.  Donald probably spends more than that on hair care products!

If he were to become President, Trump would have to get up early every day and actually work.  He would have to be on call 24/7, and would be expected to take phone calls in the middle of the night.

Not only that, if he became President, Trump would be put into the difficult position of having to compromise with other leaders in order to keep the country running.  All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, this is not a stupid man. He knows that Presidential power is limited.  He knows that if he had the job he wouldn’t be able to just bully his way through the four years putting up walls and bombing the shit out of people.

He knows full well that it just doesn’t work that way.

So why is he marching around on the campaign trail you ask?

For the free publicity, that’s why.  The man is a fame whore.  He had a book coming out, he wanted to boost sales, he wanted to see his face on the news.  He did not intend to actually become President! He knows its a totally thankless job!

What is my evidence for this theory, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.  When this “campaign” began, Trump sounded like himself.  Bombastic, egocentric, arrogant. Yucky but not completely insane.

However, with each successive week, his comments have become more and more offensive.  It began with his snarky statements about John McCain, remember?  “He got captured; I prefer people who don’t get captured.”  All the pundits had a nutty, and predicted that this was the “end” for Trump.

But his poll numbers rose.

Next he turned his giant mouth on Mexican immigrants.  It wasn’t enough to be merely snarky now; he had to go for fully offensive. All those immigrants, rapists and drug lords being sent up here by the Mexican government.  Awful! People were outraged, and some protested.

Everyone predicted the end of his campaign again….and again the numbers went up.

No matter how ugly, rude, offensive, dishonest, cruel or despicable his behavior has been, his poll numbers have gone up. What that says about our countrymen is a question that is beyond my feeble efforts at understanding.

But I truly believe, and sincerely hope, that it is driving Trump himself crazy.  I can just imagine him, after promising to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS. I can see him checking the polls, and telling his wife, “This should do it. We outta be able to go on vacation by next week.”  Then I can see the blood rushing to his head as he sees that he has gained even more ground.

“What the hell do I have to do to get these people to see that I can’t be President?  Jesus! I’ve insulted McCain, called immigrants a bunch of rapists, made fun of women’s faces, talked about a woman having her period on national TV! I’ve threatened war! I stood up and challenged a guy to stab me in the gut!  They think that’s the behavior of a world leader? Give me a break!”

“I’ve talked about building a giant wall across the continent without one word about who’d pay for it!  My God, what do I have to do? I said it was OK to beat up black protestors! I even made fun of a guy with a physical disability!  And STILL, they wanna vote for me? What the hell is wrong with these people?”

I can just imagine him, wagging a finger at his advisors.  “This was never supposed to go this far, believe me! This was supposed to be free publicity for a couple of months, that’s it! Now do something! Get me out of this mess! I need to get to one of my private islands to recharge as soon as possible.  What do I need to do to get these idiots to stop supporting me?”

I can imagine it. They’d all look at each other, helpless.  Then maybe one of them would cautiously clear his throat, fidget for a moment, and say slowly.  “Maybe if you pull out a gun at the next debate………..”