Why I Am So Angry At Donald J. Trump
My Dad was a wonderful man who taught me many things. Looking back, one of the things that he continually focused on was being a good man. Remember that he was the product of a different time, one in which men were the head of the family. One where it was a man’s job to be the breadwinner, and to take care of his family. Today it would be more properly titled good person, rather than man, because women do the same. But for my Dad, being a good man was what he knew.
Melvin, My Dad (1929-2012)
For Dad, being a good man had nothing to do with physical prowess or things that we might consider traditional male characteristics. Rather it was all about responsibility: responsibility for the emotional health of your family; responsibility for providing a good home and food; responsibility for teaching the proper values and the differences between right and wrong; responsibility for ensuring that we had empathy for others. I could go on and on, but the bottom line was that for Dad a man takes care of his family and treats others with respect and empathy.
I hope that I have internalized my Father’s lessons and that I am teaching them to my boys. The one thing that I am sure of is that, whether I am succeeding with my boys or not at any given moment, it is a goal for which I strive. It is also the barometer by which I judge others. Regardless of how financially successful you are or what you have otherwise achieved, if you do not take care of your family you have not succeeded as a person.
I analogize it to the prime directive from Star Trek – Your primary obligation as a parent is to protect your children. To keep them safe. That same obligation applies when you own a business or are responsible for others. You have the same obligation to treat those you employ or supervise with kindness and respect and to make sure that they are safe. As a parent or employer, the buck stops with you. Or to quote another colloquialism – if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The same barometer applies to the politicians that run our government, from the city to the White House. If you have the job, you have the responsibility that goes with it; if you don’t want the responsibility, don’t take the job. This is not a tough equation to grasp. The job comes with the obligation to take care of the citizens who elected you and if you forgo the responsibility, you are making the conscious decision to harm them. It is not that you will always succeed in keeping them safe at all times or that the task will be easy. But you have to try.
This is why I am so angry at our President. His primary job as he sees it is getting himself reelected. So when the issue of why the Federal Government has been behind the curve in testing its citizens for the coronavirus is raised, his answer is that it wasn’t his responsibility. Or to quote Chico, from the situation comedy series Chico and the Man –“Not my job, man.” Then who in the hell is responsible? Others may have made the job harder and it may be a difficult job, but in the end, it is his job and responsibility.
My fury at his response comes from all that I have learned about what it means to be a good man: he fails the test on so many fronts. People are dying in the tens of thousands. Worse, they are dying terribly lonely deaths because they cannot be with their loved ones. Hordes are walking around unknowingly spreading the disease because they are non-symptomatic but are still contagious. The economy is in shambles and families' livelihoods that have taken decades to construct are being wiped out.
Donald Trump is not responsible for the coronavirus. He did not create it or cause it to come to the United States. He is, however, substantially responsible for the mayhem, death and destruction that it has created. Leaders lead and take responsibility for their failures and successes. They take the heat because they know that this is their job. It all comes back to my Dad and what he taught me. I’m sure my Dad would be disgusted by a President who so woefully failed the test of what it takes to be a good man.