The Presidential Campaign is moving with the speed of light through one dust-up then another. It is impossible to cogently blog every twist and turn, but there are some big issues emerging that send me once again to the PC, even in the sweltering heat of a late summer day when you could bake a cake on our roof.
Let us clear away the rhetoric both sides are spewing today, the fact that every tweet of The Donald’s makes headlines, that both sides are in a state of reaction and counter-reaction.
Let us take a clear-eyed look at the candidates, at the glaringly obvious uh-oh facing us: that we have two Americas, each pointing the finger at the other, as embodied in Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Neither is perfect; neither comes without baggage or criticism. However, the candidate who best represents me, an aging liberal poet living on Social Security, somewhat housebound due to compromised mobility, is Hillary Clinton. For she manifests stability and statesmanship. The person who appears to be able to keep her cool, and not become every five minutes, a gyrating mass of human reaction when put to the test, is also Clinton.
I don’t feel that I knew her or had a sense of her as a person before her speech last Thursday night closing out the DNC. I feel differently now. And I trust her to know how to be a president.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is beyond a wild card. He cannot seem to be dissuaded to shut his pie hole; he yammers away complaining that he got a boo-boo from Mr. Khan, the Muslim lawyer whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, that he was attacked. He, Trump, took to Twitter for his tantrum, contending that he was ambushed. Vilified. Then he vilified back.
Can anyone, at this juncture, imagine Barack Obama doing this? Or Hillary Clinton? \
Donald Trump should not be president because he is too much like me in a certain respect. It is the sole reason in my view that he should be viewed as unelectable, as a loose cannon whose people run after him with a butterfly net ere he open his trap again and insert both feet.
Like The Donald, my biggest problem in human relations is that I tend to take things personally and to feel that if anyone says anything negative about me, I must defend myself. For many years, I have been the wounded bird, the tattered little dove taking a load of buckshot and falling out of the peach tree, the one who, if someone says or does something completely oblivious to how I might feel about it or how it might make me feel, makes it about herself anyway.
Another way to describe this pathetic state in which one is at the mercy of Everyone, is that people who take everything personally and who do not know how to deflect insults and criticism, have no way of modulating or regulating the big infringement on personal boundaries and the small. So they blow up at nothing and then at everything, which makes them scary and dangerous.
As noted, on Thursday night a Muslim couple took the stage. They spoke of their hero son who gave his life in defending his country. The bereaved father who is also a Muslim lawyer versed in Sharia law–his right– yet by all accounts abiding by the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, brought the house down by asking Trump if he had ever read it.
This was an emotional kneecapping of Mr. Blabbermouth– a musket ball to the groin. It was not unlike the musketballs to Barack Obama’s groin launched by Donald Trump who champtioned the Birther movement in 2008, alleging he had sent his “people” to Hawaii to verify Obama’s birth certificate.
Obama did not take to Twitter and rage at Trump. He made no statement at all. He didn’t acknowledge those conspiring to bring him down. He went about the business of being president as if it was beneath him to him to put a dog in that fight.
What a concept. He was wise enough to know that certain people wanted to see him lose it, wanted him to take their bait. Above all, he manifested with his bearing and his detachment that acknowledging the “madding crowd” at all was a waste of time.
This would be tantamount to how I’ve had various people speak fighting words to me, calling me a charlatan poet, someone who imitates others, someone who isn’t a grown up; you’ve raised my hackles, but it is beneath me to say anything at all to you. I know who I am/ I know what is true and what is not; I have nothing to defend.
Of all the times when Donald Trump should have kept his mouth shut, this was one. Instead, he defamed Mrs. Khan on Fox News, insinuating that her husband under Islam kept her quiet.
Most of us do not have a window on a Muslim marriage. Therefore we don’t know what we’re talking about when we opine about one. And for the Republican Nominee to insinuate that a Gold Star mother is her husband’s whipping girl– we know now that she had none other than the Washington Post as her forum for a response to Mr. Tact and Decency.
Yes, Donald Trump reminds me of me. For a number of years, when I perceived myself to be attacked and in some cases when I was attacked online, offline, here and there, I would go on the barricades and attack back. Often, I quickly learned, the people I worked over were stunned. They didn’t perceive themselves to have done anything at all to have hurt me. An example; someone I knew organized a panel and stated she would be reading and discussing one of my books. I had reviewed her book a few years earlier. She didn’t contact me and invite me to be on the panel when it seemed to me I should have been the first person contacted.
I tried to keep my own counsel, to say that they were just caught up and used to calling on each other. After all, I was all the way away, in Colorado, while they were in Minnesota, the site of the 2015 AWP convention. I wasn’t any good at it, and I came down on them.
One day a momentous thing happened. I saw what I had been doing to myself. That I was taking real and perceived slights and gouging myself with them, tormenting myself with them or allowing them to torment me.
People who do this are in real trouble with themselves. They stop trusting anyone. They have a very negative view of humanity. They become the loneliest people in the world.
Somehow, a curtain parted and I saw that I had been living in a state of reaction, exhausting myself daily by writing long defenses of myself. I used to do this when my mother came down on me when I was a teenager. I did this in a nursing home where I was for five months–that nurses aides’ saw me negatively and constantly charted about me made me ballistic. I let their smallness get to me and I lashed out, which in turn made me small. It revealed me as having the thinnest of skin.
Seeing what you’re doing is only part of the battle. Changing it is the real juggernaut. I am changing it, this business of living in a state of chronic overreaction, one day at a time. That is the best way to change anything.
You an make yourself a suit of armor called your grace and your dignity. You can look at the perpetrator or the offender, the one saying hurtful things and say to yourself–that poor person must be tired. How sad that he or she feels that she has to write a book about me when she has twenty other patients. Perhaps I can help her with something.
Some of us, it is theorized, had our emotional skin flayed off when we were young, by cruel parents. We didn’t know what to do, how to protect ourselves, so in the beginning, we hurt back, retaliated back. Then, as we grew, we raged back.
Rage is not the solution. Then you’re being as bad as the guy that hurt you, as the mother who drunk, embarrassed you in front of your friends.
But circumspection and detachment are the solutions. Not to put on a show of superiority, but to withhold a response to those who are unkind, unfair, cruel. Conserve yourself. Stow up your energy; you need it to survive, to run the country–and God help us if we elect this idiot.. This is how to run for office and it is how to stay alive.
Best of luck to HRC. May she be next president of the United States.