I had plans for this evening’s post, and they did not involve Donald Trump. However, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men … I am neither a mouse nor a man, but yet my plans for this post have gone awry. Why? Because everywhere I turn, every news story, pertains to Trump, his ‘shithole’ comment, and the reactions to it. Still, I was giving those stories merely a passing glance, having said, I thought, everything I had to say on that topic in my two morning posts. Until I came across a response that, even inured to the drama as I am, made my jaw drop all the way to the floor. I will tell you about it in a moment, but first, let me set the stage …
Two children, pre-school age, are playing together, one gets angry over some minor squabble, and says, “I hate you and I’m never gonna play with you again!” We might tell the child that wasn’t very nice, might have a talk with him and ask him to apologize, but even left unchecked, the two will likely be happily playing again in an hour, right? Because … they are children and they have yet to develop the filters that we, as adults, have. Now, if I say those exact same words to my co-worker because she did something I didn’t like, do we overlook my outburst? I think not. I think it earns me a trip to Human Resources, a lecture, and at the very least a written warning. Why? Because we are judged, not only on our actions, but also on our speech, on what we say. Our words, what we say, reflect our thoughts, and our thoughts define the sort of person we are.
Jim Renacci from Ohio is a member of the House of Representatives, who is seeking a senate seat in November. Let’s hear how Mr. Renacci responded to Trump’s ignorant, racist remark about ‘shithole countries’ …
“It’s difficult, and I know it’s difficult for the president, because many times you want to say what you’re thinking, But in the end, I know a lot of times he’s saying what people are thinking. Look, I always say judge the president after four years. Let’s judge the president after what we’ve done. Let’s not judge the president on what he says.”
Mr. Renacci is a fool. We should never judge people on their looks, their religion, skin colour, ethnicity, gender or gender identification, or other such criteria that have nothing to do with what kind of person he/she is. But words and actions are a different story. What you say and what you do define what kind of person you are. There is an old expression I used to hear all the time as a child: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” You know what? That’s not true … words can hurt more than broken bones, and for a much longer time. Several months ago, a friend said something very hurtful to me, and I still feel the hurt every time I remember his words.
We have two criteria by which we can legitimately judge Donald Trump: his words and his actions. To date, after nearly a year in office, his words and actions have been indicative of intolerance, of a vengeful nature, of vast unkindness, and of bigotry in every imaginable form. Not only can we judge him by his words, but we must do so.
Frankly, if we wait, as Mr. Renacci suggests, until the end of Trump’s four years to judge him, it will be too late, for he will have likely destroyed this nation. One doesn’t hire an employee and leave them unsupervised, unjudged, for four years before deciding whether he is capable of doing the job for which we hired him. This is why most workplaces have a 90-day probationary period for newly-hired employees, and periodic performance reviews. Now that I think about it, perhaps performance reviews for members of Congress, as well as the president, would be a good idea.
More and more in the past few days I have heard that various candidates who will be running for congressional offices in November are ‘vowing’ or ‘pledging’ to support Mr. Trump and his policies. This, people, is not why we elect our senators and representatives. We elect them to represent We The People, to hold the chief executive accountable for his words and actions, not to make excuses and gloss over them!
It is past time for a re-boot of our elected officials, especially the one who holds the highest office in the land. Yes, we must judge Trump by his words and actions, and by any scale of grading, Trump has earned a failing grade. Those who gloss over his hateful rhetoric have earned the same.