Like so many others who supported Hillary Clinton and were appalled at Donald Trump, I have spent the last couple of weeks nurturing hope. “Hope” is not a casual word, although it gets tossed around casually. As I learned from my theology professors, hope is the opposite of expectation, the opposite of what can be detected as already imminent. Rather, it is the yearning for what is deeply desired but cannot be seen, cannot be predicted, cannot be assured—that for which no evidence can currently be ascertained.
And so I went into a receptive mode, seeking to understand why this deeply troubled man was chosen to be our President. I have sought out and listened carefully to Trump voters, I have read the words of his supporters, I have noted his abstaining from pursuit of wild campaign promises (“Lock her up!”), I have considered the actions he has taken to create a team on whom he will depend (more than most) to educate and guide him in the political realm he now occupies. And on the occasions when I have read the profound laments of those who predict the worst, I have mentally offered counter-arguments to offset what might be unthinking, knee-jerk bias. I may actually have been making a little bit of progress in hopefulness.
Then Donald Trump blew my well-meaning program of hope to smithereens with his truly insane Twitter storm this weekend in which he wildly claimed that “millions” of fraudulent votes deprived him of a popular-vote majority.
And then he continued his demented rant by claiming a proposed recount of the vote was irrelevant because Hillary Clinton had already conceded—as though her concession had anything whatsoever to do with the process of determining who is duly elected as President of the United States. Did he really think her concession speech was a coronation rather than a routine social gesture? And if he really thought that his ego—his “brand”, if you will—had been damaged by fraudulent votes that denied him a popular majority, why wouldn’t he himself be clamoring for a recount?
During the past year, Donald Trump has revealed himself as a profoundly damaged person—a man sick with narcissism. Every negative thing his Republican primary opponents said about him was true, even if they have now abandoned the truths they spoke. This is fitting, of course, since Donald Trump is sociopathic in his contempt for truth. Every citizen of the United States should be terrified that their president-elect is willing to speak monstrous lies and make totally unfounded claims whenever he gets the urge. “Millions of fraudulent votes”???? How can we possibly tolerate a President who is certifiably fraudulent in his own speaking, who cannot be trusted to speak the truth or to respect facts? How can the Republican party offer such a person either credibility or support?
Oh, dear God, how I wish I did not have to write what I am writing. I really was making a good-faith effort to give him the benefit of doubt, to trust that he somehow was not going to still be the campaigner who disgusted not only a majority of Americans but thoughtful people all around the globe. Alas, no. All I see and hear is a dangerously warped man whose every utterance is some version of “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.”