On television the other day I viewed a clip with the awe and incredulity that some people feel as they watch boas swallow pigs whole. I was viewing Donald Trump’s announcement delivered authoritatively and with finality; “President Barack Obama was born in the Untied States, period.”
It was the “period” that got me. I felt I was being informed that the world was round and that I would be surprised to learn of it, but could be assured of its authenticity since, after all, Trump said it. The proclamation was delivered with the solemnity of a pontifical encyclical. It was as though Trump had, after years of discernment, discovered the answer to one of life’s ultimate concerns, like life after death, or the nature of justice. He had wrestled with the angels and gained some timeless truths about existence. Trump reached a profound conclusion about our president, which the world, until he spoke it, remained wholly unaware.
He did add, which for me took some of the solemnity from the disclosure, that years ago Hillary Clinton started the whole thing by stating her doubts about our president’s citizenship.
If you are one of the American electorate who would like to see in your president a capacity to discern reality from fantasy, to be thoughtful and deliberate in dealing with the complex political and economic issues of the future that await us, and who would treat the American people respectfully and not as if we were mindless, I want to go on record as saying emphatically, “Trump is not your man.”
I’d prefer that his announcement was a joke, but it was not and this proclamation only underscores how, in my opinion, Trump would not serve the country well as a president. He is dangerous because he exhibits no capacity to discern between what is the truth of a matter and what happens to be on in his mind at any given moment. To make that distinction requires some ability to discern.
What was equally frightening to me was to watch his admirers around him while he made the announcement; they nodded and smiled agreeably with approbation. It terrifies me to think that the day might soon come when there would be no one left in the crowd who is savvy or aware… or worse still, no one who would care enough to say, “Look, the Emperor has no clothes.”
In my book, Trump is one scary guy, period.
Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist. A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.