by Dorothy Dobbie 

On the news, in my Facebook feed, on the street, all I hear is hate and vitriol against Donald Trump.

Interestingly, I also heard it during the election period when he won in 2016 but had no track record to rail against. I was shocked that when I tried to correct in his favour an erroneous comment made online about something he was reported as saying – but didn’t say (I re-watched the speech it was pulled from) – I got my fingers soundly slapped by my counterpart on the opposite side of the page.

It was an ominous warning, telling me to be careful about posting anything nice about this obviously “evil” man and how it could get me into trouble. I thought it was funny at the time and made some offhand comment, but what Shauna was saying from Toronto seemed to have already solidified into a Canada-wide assessment of a man who had not yet even served in office.

To set the record straight, Mr. Trump is not someone I would like relish as a bosom buddy, indeed, I would probably find him tedious. He displays a narcissistic personality that is unpleasant and no doubt very difficult to deal with. He craves attention. He is bombastic. He is capricious. He often gets things wrong because he boils them down to their simplest denominator. He is entitled. He thinks the presidency is more powerful than it is and that this power is his to deploy. I get all that.

But I do not get the visceral reactions to him. Recently I asked a gardening friend who apparently detests the man, what triggers his dislike. He retorted with a long litany of Trump evils, among them that he wants to create a fascist state in the US because he admires dictators (Hmmm. Seems to me so does our own Prime Minister . . .), that he will get rid of social security and Medicare, and that he hid a whole bunch of top-secret documents. He adds that Trump will assist Putin in attacking those who don’t pay their 2% of defense spending as agreed to be part of NATO (another friend believes he will leave NATO), and he adds more predictions about those documents and what Trump meant to do with them.

Now I respect my garden friend. He is smart and experienced. So, I must conclude that he sincerely believes these things. He did not note the number of charges laid against the man, none of which have so far stuck. And then there is that horrendous, wealth shattering fine against his business in New York – that just smacks of a vendetta judgement. But the evolution of Trump’s sins is quite interesting, moving from the building of a wall to keep illegals out of the country to this new litany of offences.

There were 91 criminal charges laid against him. Really?

I mean, doesn’t it seem just a little over the top?

If Mr. Trump were as evil as charged, I am very surprised that this did not show in his first term in office, where many calmer heads feel he did some things very right, especially as regards to managing the economy, reforming the Tax Act (and cutting worker’s taxes, increasing their take home pay), passing several bills in support of Indigenous Americans, made cruelty to animals a federal felony, actually beefed up Obamacare, supported Israel, tried to establish a kind of detente with Russia, tried to reach some sort of accord with North Korea, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and so on.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream, but when you try to research the direct policy harms, you end up with a bunch of “coulda’s”. So where does he really stand? Law and order? Not gun control. He is clearly for the death penalty and against abortion and, perhaps not surprisingly, wanted tighter defamation laws. But he voted to support medical marijuana and believes that legalizing drugs would take the crime out of the criminal acts because he says we are losing the war on drugs. He is right.

What about insurrection? I watched what happened when those idiots stormed the White House. Most of them seemed to think it was a big joke that got out of hand. It was stupid and irresponsible, and Trump should have told them to step before they started. Instead, he watched and chortled, childishly, on the sidelines. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! But a full-on insurrection? No.

Trump is complex person who is certainly not the Hollywood hero President, but I cannot see evidence to support the visceral hate for him in some quarters or that he is a deadly menace to the United States and the world. And it appears that many Americans feel the same way.

Shortly after Trump became president, I attended a speech by our friend Shannon Sampert, who had been a media observer in the US during the election. Her assessment was one not just of shock and horror but disbelief that the man had been elected in view of “public opinion”. That surprised me because, from what I could see, he was being widely supported. So here we go again. He appears to be very widely supported but the press is in deep denial.

Just to make it clear, I have a similar set of views about Mr. Biden. He is not the incompetent, senile man they make him out to be, He is a healthy 80+ year old who may lose a word or two or have the wrong one come to the tip of his tongue, but I saw him speak in Ottawa to the House of Commons and I saw a relaxed, warm, friendly guy who had some interesting things to say. He may be a little too down-home and left-of-centre for my taste, but that does not make him an idiot as characterized on the other side.

What does bother me is the narrative surrounding and polarizing public opinion about these two men. It is harmful to the United States and by association to Canada. The vitriol is undermining the country, eroding its democracy, and undermining America’s important stabilizing force in the world.

That the traditional media is counselling Americans to hate one of the contenders for president is astonishing. Their fervor is even greater in Canada. This is not healthy, people! A bit more balance is warranted for all sorts of reasons.

So, do I hate Donald Trump? No. Do I hate what is going on around him? Very, very much.


Read Shauna's article:

Trump for President?


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