Last Thursday morning, the New York Times ran an editorial by Nicholas Kristof, titled “Gritting Our Teeth and Giving President Trump a Chance,” the premise of which is one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve ever seen in that publication.
Firstly, giving Trump anything is a ridiculous notion. He’s just been given the White House. He’s been given everything he’s ever had, earned almost none of it, and lost most of it. Giving him even more, especially when the gift is something as valuable as what remains of our hopes for the future, seems asinine in the face of that.
That it’s the New York Times asking for such generosity is even more ridiculous. The NY Times was there in the early ’70s as Trump and his father wasted their chance to not be racist slumlords. The NY Times was there in the ’80s as Trump used junk bonds to inflate his wealth at the expense of the poor, spending said wealth on harmful frivolities like full-page ads calling for the execution of innocent black teenagers. The NY Times was there in the ’90s, watching closely as his businesses and marriages failed, and the stories of his ignorant, ugly nature kept bobbing to the surface of the ruinous sewage left in his wake.
Donald Trump is a 70-year-old man who has very publicly squandered the multitude of chances dropped in his lap by virtue of his privilege. His persona and behavior remain unchanged. He has learned nothing from any failure he’s suffered. This is documented fact. The NY Times is one of the organizations that’s helped document it. They were right fucking there watching it as it was happening! In real time! We know who he is as a person, and why he behaves that way partially due to the NY Times’ reporting.
When Barack Obama took office in 2009, and “give him a chance” was requested of unhappy citizens, there was an accounting of change within the man and his decision-making processes that could be pointed to. There were examples of personal growth, instances where work done for the benefit of other people could be readily seen. Many could (and did) disagree with the degree of the arc, but you couldn’t deny there was one. Certainly nothing at all like the flat line of selfish debauchery Trump has been slouching along for more than 40 years.
Giving Obama a chance wasn’t just a blind act of goodwill automatically extended without regard for past history. There was meaning behind it, as there should be meaning behind all extensions of something so valuable as personal trust, a thing that we teach our youngest must be earned if it’s to have any worth at all. If extending Donald Trump that trust is made mandatory, it becomes meaningless.
That’s not to say I don’t have some trust in President Trump. (The act of typing that out is still extremely disorienting, and likely will be for some time.) I trust that all the vindictive, hurtful intentions he announced while campaigning are things he will be pursuing. His personal history strongly suggests this. He and his administration will come for the press, for Planned Parenthood, for your Muslim sisters, your queer brothers, and any and all Mexican relatives in between. I trust that he will immediately test the checks and balances built into our government to see how best to abuse the powers of his office, as many a predecessor (including the most direct one) has done.
I trust that a Republican-led government—the members of which have been party to the greatest prolonged act of obstruction in congressional history—will finally remember the levers of government as something other than a place to lay their pouting bodies, and begin manipulating them. I trust that they will, in cooperation with the judiciary, find ways to enable their President’s abuse in exchange for his rubber stamp on whatever pork best serves their own self-interests.
I trust that for the first two years of his term he and our Congress will essentially regard us not as constituents, but currency. They will spend us. He will come for our most vulnerable, and Congress will let him, so long as they are assured his signature on whatever bill they want passed in return. We will be spent as part of a chain of deals with one of the most spectacularly awful businessmen of the modern age, a man most people have regretted ever dealing with almost immediately upon entering into business with him.
I trust in the steep decline of our economy, as people—who decided to go along with this failed casino operator and his sexist, racist, xenophobic, and homophobic nature for the sake of getting a little extra money in their bank accounts—watch him install in key cabinet positions the predatory financial elites and political lobbyists who are largely responsible for their prolonged economic hardships.
I trust that the above will be the story of our first two years under President Trump.
So no, I will not be giving him any of my hope, trust, or any chances I have in my back pocket. I will reserve those chances for the political opponents, and to the veteran congresspeople whose seats are vulnerable to flipping in two years. I will give them a chance to stop making terrible business deals with President Trump and to exemplify their titles as representatives of the people—not just “congressmen and women” or faceless/nameless “government officials and lawmakers,” but our representatives as citizens—and fight against his destructive ideals and his utterly inept business sense.
I will be reserving any and all political chances I have to give for those who are on the midterm ballots, and challenging useless incumbents because those chances are the best chances at ensuring a viable future for this democracy.
He’s had 40-plus years to make good on undeserved chances, to prove he’s worth a single shit in any aspect of his tacky gold-plated existence, and he has failed to make good even once. I will not give him another. I’m giving those chances to the people who will fight him.