Permit, if you will, a moment of personal reflection.
I have been a man in a state of rebuilding for the last year and four months. During that time, and even before my separation from my now ex-wife, my writing has suffered. My writing and tweeting have dwindled down to nothing more than a few posts, here and there. The crash-and-burn of what many (myself obviously included) once considered to be a “power couple” produced many scars in need of healing and repair.
Losing the woman I once called my One Great Love–and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder–shook me down to my core. Even still, the pain remains, and will probably never go away totally. Moving to another state and hitting the reset button on my life have caused me to question my very ability to write. Perhaps, I thought, this gift I was blessed with was nothing more than a symptom of my illness.
But on October 1st, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump, a nightmare candidate that only neo-confederates, old white racists, charlatan preachers, and his cadre of surrogates so unbelievably incompetent (or in Katrina Pierson’s case, unbelievably evil) they rival “Saturday Night Live” parodies stand with, took full advantage of a tax system tailor-made for cheats such as he. In losing nearly $916 million after the bottom fell out of his casino empire, Trump was able to avoid paying taxes for eighteen years.
I had to pick the pen up again, because at thirty-four years of age, that is over half my own life.
The Times report continues:
The $916 million loss certainly could have eliminated any federal income taxes Mr. Trump otherwise would have owed on the $50,000 to $100,000 he was paid for each episode of “The Apprentice,” or the roughly $45 million he was paid between 1995 and 2009 when he was chairman or chief executive of the publicly traded company he created to assume ownership of his troubled Atlantic City casinos. Ordinary investors in the new company, meanwhile, saw the value of their shares plunge to 17 cents from $35.50, while scores of contractors went unpaid for work on Mr. Trump’s casinos and casino bondholders received pennies on the dollar.
As Donald Trump’s antics continue to pile up in public view, a manure pile made larger and larger on a near-daily basis, including having his foundation shut down by the New York Attorney General’s office for not having the necessary certification to solicit money from the public, it stands to wonder: How was this man even remotely allowed to pursue the office of the President of the United States? With so much evidence of his destructive business practices, his racist and misogynistic rants, and the glaring proof that he, as the late George Carlin coined, is a business criminal of the highest order, how can any one person ever consider this man to run a lemonade stand, much less our Nation?
The answer is simple.
Because America loves a good dumpster fire story.
As we sit and watch this train wreck of a campaign continue to alienate itself from decent, even-minded people everywhere (yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s former prosecutor and well-known conservative Michael Chertoff announced he was crossing party lines to vote for her), it goes without saying that we as a nation cannot look away from what inspires us to ask, “What’s next?”
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote this, which perfectly captures the danger Trump truly is, and why he’s just that:
Trump benefits from the expectation of phoniness. Pop-culture critic Jen Chaney wrote in The Post that “having a reality-TV celebrity running for commander in chief may subconsciously signal our brains to participate in this election the same way we’ve grown accustomed to consuming reality shows . . . believing that none of it is genuine, that none of it has any actual consequences.” It doesn’t matter, therefore, if two out of three claims Trump makes are false, or if he proposes dangerous ideas: It’s only entertainment.
Whatever reasons one might have to distrust or outright hate the former Secretary of State cannot overshadow the fact that Donald J. Trump is not just unqualified for the position he seeks; he is the very antithesis of what a President should be. I, for one, do not want a man who will reach for his phone to hatefully bluster at someone who he feels wronged him, or complains about a “biased media” who rightfully calls out his many indiscretions. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton is soberly aware of the gravity and seriousness of the position she seeks to attain.
Deal in reality this November, folks.