H. BRUCE RINKER: At First, I Tried to Like Him

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H. Bruce Rinker

At first, I tried to like Donald John Trump, a game show host who ended each episode with a grotty acridity: “You’re fired!”

After all, our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, was an actor. Though I disagreed with much of his politics, but I think he remained focused, for better or for worse, on stimulating economic growth, ending the Cold War, fighting international drug trafficking, reducing government spending, cutting taxes, strengthening the military, and signing more wilderness bills than any other president since the Wilderness Act was decreed in 1964.

Reagan was a charming communicator. So let’s afford another television actor a run to the top.

Yes, at first I truly tried to like Donald Trump. “Let’s give him a chance. This is America where any fairly elected citizen can occupy that great Office, the highest in the Republic.”

At first, I tried to like Donald Trump.

Then in 2018, Trump began the construction of a pricey border fence to seal off our Southern boundary from México.

Then in 2016, on the campaign trail, Trump called Mexicans “rapists.”

And he did it again in 2018. Why such witless knavery? I’ve been fortunate to have visited México dozens of time over the years, living and working closely with countless Mexicans. I have rarely experienced such hospitality and cultural beauty anywhere else in the world. What he said was bigoted fear-mongering! To be sure, his disparaging remarks could even apply to places here in America!

At first, I tried to like Donald Trump.

In 2016, Trump mocked a reporter’s disability and dismissed a woman as “fat and ugly” after her harrowing account of sexual assault.

At first, I tried to like Donald Trump.

Then he launched an incestuous partnership with mega-business to dismantle our proven environmental protections.

In 2019-2020, he pulled us from the Paris Accord, mocked a teen climate activist, and rolled back pollution controls. Then in 2020, Trump started to undermine the Endangered Species Act of 1973 that serves as a global model to protect imperiled species and habitats.

In 2020, Trump abrogated Obama-era clean car rules and policies for wetlands and streams that provide us with clean water!

Trump seemed a busy-bee working in collusion with industry to forfeit our widely admired environmental stewardship.

When he was elected, we didn’t anticipate an evisceration of long-standing environmental protections, thereby invalidating work by citizens who have devoted our lives to keep America beautiful.” He even claimed we scientists had reported fake news trumped up to tarnish his presidency.

At first, I tried to like Donald Trump.

Then in 2017, a student was murdered at a peaceful rally in Charlottesville by a pro-Trump, Neo-Nazi. Trump did nothing meaningful in response.

In 2017, Trump fired his Surgeon General, who had founded Doctors for America, a nonprofit that advocates affordable health care. That abrupt dismissal illuminated Trump’s failure to reform Obamacare. Dr. Murthy might have pulled us together through a major health crisis.

In 2019, Trump argued with Pope Francis, calling the Pontiff “disgraceful.”

In 2016-2019, he mocked the mother of a US Muslim soldier killed in action.

At first I tried to like Donald Trump.

Then in 2020, Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham, split with Trump over what it called his “grossly immoral character.” Mitt Romney condemned Trump as autocratic, corrupting, and abusive of the public trust. Conservative columnist, George Will observed that Trump’s presidency is more destructive than the actions of Nixon in 1974.

At first I tried to like Donald Trump.

In 2020, Trump told the country that he intends to make deep incisions in the budget of the United States Postal Service (USPS). It’s an independent agency of the executive branch. The Postal Service is enshrined in the Constitution. It employs 600,000 workers, including 113,000 veterans, who deliver mail to every home and business in the country six days a week even to remote locations. USPS has an annual budget of $71 billion. Imagine how much $22 billion would assist our beleaguered Postal Service – that’s the estimated cost of Trump’s border fence. Trump’s proposal comes just as the USA manages and tallies its census; and just before a national election; during which time many elderly, poor, and disabled depend on the USPS to cast their ballots. The Postal Service is enshrined in the Constitution.

A first, I tried to like Donald Trump.

In 2020, Trump made false claims about the coronavirus-pandemic. Now we’re in the middle of a health crisis, Trump has saturated world news with his neurotic waffling. He vacuously threatens to pull funding to the WHO just when we need the wisdom of world leaders and medical professionals to help manage a killer virus. The plague is not coming, but it may be here already!

Yes, at first I tried to like Donald J. Trump, but not now. He’s foul and unprincipled.

Historians will have a field day with #45; viewing him as vulgar, morose, and mean – a lost opportunity to make the world a better place.

How can we defend the indefensible? We cannot!

I hope we will tell Trump after the next election with love and forgiveness in our hearts: “You’re fired!” Then, THAT will be the time to make America great again!

H. Bruce Rinker, Ph.D. is a resident of Staunton, Virginia and the author of A Pearl in the Brain: The Cancer Journey of a Scientist in His Search for the Seat of the Soul, 2019 Köehler Books, Virginia Beach, Virginia.