Some folks looked at Donald Trump and saw what he and they wanted to see: A striking swashbuckling billionaire who made it on his own, despite his family’s great wealth and influence. A bodacious, straight-talking, stand-up-to-power man of the people who represented success at any cost, especially if it was someone else’s cost.
He didn’t discriminate in stiffing wealthy bankers and hard-working craftsmen, poor laborers and over-stretched suppliers, knowledge-seeking students and well-heeled investors.
All were treated equally by this hard-edged, swaggering and smiling man of great confidence.
He took them all in.
His business plan was simple: Make a good deal, then pay half of what you agreed. Isn’t that greed? “Don’t like it? Sue me.”
Many of those who took that route often died of short pockets on a very long line.
And if it seemed that things were about to collapse, there was always Plan “B.” Yes, “B” was for Bankruptcy. No, our hero didn’t go belly up, but companies that paid him so generously for his leadership did.
The banks and the creditors, large and small, took the painful actual hit, and our hero gets to claim the benefit of the huuuge tax loss. “Who better knows the system?” he brags.
He is just a smart businessman who gives bigly to both sides, and wakes up with a loophole under his pillow.
Believe me. Believe me.
The road to his many successes is paved with the broken bodies and spilt blood of his suppliers, contractors, investors and believers, mixed with your tax dollars. So in their memory, upon those monuments he slaps his own name.
And if wealth and glory were not enough, his ability and drive rewarded him with fame via a popular reality TV show.
And lest we forget his greatness, he constantly reminds us with the talent of a blowfish. He should be our leader!
And we should be like him. Filled with confidence, knowledge, strength. Willing to take on the establishment and world and all who would deny us what is rightfully ours. Able to say what you want without consequence. Damn the details and the truth. To hell with whatever stands in the way. If he can do it, we can do it! He knows how to win. Win, win, win at everything.
Defeat the others, brand them as the liars, the lazy, the little, the losers. Disrespect women, the disabled, those who are different. Show disdain for captured authentic heroes. Demean an opponent as the son of a conspirator in JFK’s assassination. Claim any absurd thing to win!
And now, we are at a moment of national crisis, a time we cry out for a president’s strong moral leadership. He must unite our beloved country, and bring us all together as did our first Republican president, lest he become the last.
Instead the president struts across the world stage, as if seductively and boldly shedding his every veneer, he stands before us completely exposed. Except for the mask.
And if we tug at that mask, it reveals that the man over-sufficiently endowed with ego, pride, power, great riches, and fame, able to acquire whatever property or company or comforts he craves — is actually a sad man who remains dangerously needy and unfulfilled.
We appeal to the grown-up Republican leaders: Be the patriots we know you to be. You have, at least for the moment, a monopoly on all the pieces. And as it is only you that can, we beg of you to intervene.
Send him to his room.
Lest someone overturns the game board.
Gary Ackerman is a former Democratic congressman.