“Anti-intellectualism gives rise to the most extreme, the most morally deplorable, form of sloth. It is to be found in persons for whom the ultimate objectives in life are the maximization of pleasure, money, fame, or power…” —Mortimer J. Adler
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine in 1776. Yes, these Trump Times are trying a lot of men and women’s souls. Being a writer, I can no longer be silent—for as professional football player Michael Bennett has said, “There’s a point where silence is becoming dishonest.” The three essays in this book show why Donald Trump is truly a menace to America’s institutions and ideals.
Respect. That’s what you bring to the nation’s attention when you talk about African American football players who don’t stand for the national anthem. You want those players who kneel, who you think don’t respect our country, the military or the flag, the ones you call “son-of-a-bitches,” suspended or fired.
Well, Mr. President, let’s talk about respect. Those players are kneeling because they want to live in a country that respects black people. They are kneeling for justice. They are kneeling to erase police brutality and racial inequality. It’s no secret how black people are treated in America. “They get no respect,” as Rodney Dangerfield would have said if he were alive today. Mr. President, you’re only making it worse for African Americans when you so vehemently oppose freedom of peaceful expression.
Respect. Mr. President, did you show any respect to the Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria devastated their island? No. You were jovially shooting paper towels into a crowd of suffering people like a basketball player would shoot a free throw. That’s not respecting the Puerto Ricans. You said to them that Hurricane Katrina was much worse than Maria. Was that the correct thing to say to people who barely survived the worst hurricane of their lives? As lawyer Joseph Welch told Senator Joseph McCarthy in the Army-McCarthy Hearings in 1954, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Respect. Mr. President, did you show any respect for women when you were recorded saying you kissed, groped and touched their genitalia, only because you were the one and only Donald Trump? Sir, you are a misogynist.
Respect. You have no respect for the office you hold when you are caught lying to the American people on a daily basis? Every time the mainstream or established press calls you on your lies, you say it’s “fake news.” You said if you had your way you’d shut down any news organization that doesn’t agree with you. Mr. President, “freedom of the press” is written into the first amendment of the Constitution.
Respect. You have no respect for 99% of Americans when you lie about lowering our taxes. We all know that the tax on the middle class will rise and the tax on the wealthy will be lowered.
Respect. You’re a perpetual liar, Mr. President. You just signed an executive order that will raise our medical premiums when you said we’d have better and more efficient care for less money than Obamacare. You lie, Mr. Trump, just like you lied about President Obama not being born in the United States. You are rescinding anything that had to do with his time in office. That, to me, means you’re a racist.
Respect. Mr. President, you do not respect your fellow Americans, or even the world’s population, when you deny that climate change is taking place. Ninety-five percent of climate researchers say climate change is occurring. So what do you go and do? You give the green light to the coal and oil industries (who, by the way, supported your run for the presidency) to pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink instead of backing the environmentally clean solar and wind industries like Obama did.
Respect. Everything you do, Mr. President, goes against what is good for this country. You want to build a totally useless and expensive wall along our southern border. You break treaties that the Obama administration worked hard to implement. You are now the darling of the neo-Nazis and the KKK when you stood up for them after their Charlottesville protest by saying there were “some very fine people” among those racists and anti-Semites. You have no respect for the 58 people who were killed and the 851 people who were injured in the Las Vegas shooting, or any other mass shooting in the past when you refuse to work with Congress to pass reasonable gun laws like banning rapid-fire assault weapons and having universal background checks. You shut your mouth and wait for the next mass shooting so you can send your “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ families. No one in this country should ever own an assault weapon or a cache of weapons. No one!
Respect. You have no respect for African Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, women, the LGBTQ community, dreamer children or even the laws of this land. You are going against every good that this country stands for.
Mr. President, you’re wearing no clothes.