The Trump Watch: Mid-October 2016 (part 2)

It’s about respect.

Or, more precisely, about the lack thereof.

Donald Trump doesn’t respect any one or any thing: not people, not processes, not institutions, not – when you think about it – the American way of life.

And The Curmudgeon isn’t referring now to women who are beautiful or not, thin or not, white or not.

And he isn’t referring to those who come from places with which this country has uncomfortable relationships.

Nor to people whose physical capabilities may not match his own or those of most of the rest of us.

And not to people whose religion differs from his own.

Nor to those who served their country and bear physical and/or mental scars from that experience.

When Trump describes his daughter’s figure and joins in a conversation about her being a “piece of ass,” that’s not a proud papa bragging about his young’un. It’s a man who doesn’t respect his daughter.

When he incites his supporters to violence or profanity, that’s not a sign of respect for those supporters, it’s a signal that he doesn’t respect them and sees them only as pawns to manipulate to his own ends.

When he calls people names, he is showing disrespect for them.

trumpWhen he automatically declares those who dare disagree with him to be his enemy he shows his lack of respect for anyone who does not think exactly as he does.

When he talks to and about elected officials as if they have never accomplished anything, he’s showing a lack of respect for people who have devoted their lives, or parts of their lives, to improving the lives of others. All this from a man whose only goal in life has been to make money. Let us accept, for the sake of discussion, that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with deciding that the only thing worth doing in life is making money – although we certainly know better, don’t we? – but there IS something wrong with expressing contempt for anyone who doesn’t share that objective.

When he interrupts his political opponents when they are talking it shows lack of respect for those opponents.

And lack of respect for the people who invited him to speak.

And lack of respect for those who chose to watch him and his opponents so they could learn more about the choice they must make at the polls.

When he tells us he knows more about some matter than the generals or the experts or anyone who has ever run for president or served in public office or walked the face of the earth, he’s showing his lack of respect for the people who came before him and for those who have devoted their lives to something in which he has only recently decided to dabble recreationally.

When he talks about prosecuting or jailing his political opponents he shows his lack of respect not only for those individuals but also for the very nature of the government, of the very people, he aspires to lead.

When, as he did during the town hall debate last week, he stalks his opponent while she talked, repeatedly interrupted her, badgered the moderators, insulted his hosts, repeated his lies and denied they were lies despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, insulted his opponent’s family, diminished her lifetime body of work even though he has not a single comparable accomplishment of his own, he showed his lack of respect for every single resident of this country. He is telling us that someone who has never shown any interest in public affairs, has never done anything for anyone other than himself, believes he can just flick a switch in his own brain and automatically know more than anyone – including those generals – about everything he’s spent the past 70 years ignoring.

And when, as he did last week, he tells an audience that “If I don’t win, as good as you say I have done, if I don’t win, I will consider it a total and complete waste of time, energy and money,” he is declaring his lack of respect – his compete and utter contempt, really – for all of us, the people who make this decision at the polls, and for the American form of democracy. He is telling us that his own success is more important than the will of the other 300 million people who live in this country.

And when, as he did this past weekend, he throws around allegations about his opponent’s alleged drug use without offering a single shred of evidence to support his accusation, he also is telling us that he thinks each and every one of us is just plain stupid.

To Trump, it’s all entertainment. You saw it when he talked about how television ratings are better when he participates in debates and in how he judges news people based on their popularity rather than the quality of their work. To him, debating people who are running for president is like appearing on the old Crossfire show or with that idiot Bill Maher or other programs of that ilk: the person who shouts the loudest and longest and makes the most outrageous statements is the one who gets all of the attention. His role models are Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and Robert Novak, all entertainers, and not Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and George H.W. Bush, all serious people.

The Crossfires and Mahers and others like them show their lack of respect for their audiences when they encourage their panelists to act in this manner and reward them for doing so, but Trump needs no such encouragement: when it comes to showing his lack of respect the talent just comes to him naturally and the man is in a class by himself.

We can only hope that come November 8, the American people will declare “Class dismissed.”

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