Let’s be clear on one thing. A guy who is now forbidden by law to establish a charity in the State of New York because he stole money from a children’s cancer fund doesn’t give a flying crap if Americans get a $2,000 stimulus check or not. Donald Trump’s hint that he will veto a bill giving Americans a one-time stimulus payment of $600 because “it’s not enough” is nothing more than lame duck grandstanding by a child raping, murdering criminal on his way out the door. He’s playing politics with the lives of people. At Christmas.
This is what you get when Ebenezer Scrooge is also a game show host. This is the cynical game a man like Trump can and will play, a man who was born into a family worth $200 million and has never known what hunger or poverty feels like. Trump is playing games with the lives of ordinary Americans and you can bet that some of them still think he’s “working hard” for ordinary Americans. He is in fact back at Mar-a-Lago for yet another round of golf. To Trump, Christmas is just an excuse to play golf.
Republicans are no better. Mitch McConnell and the gang want one thing and one thing only: liability protection for corporations. In short, they want to protect major corporations who have abused their positions of power during the pandemic from being sued by Americans who have been screwed by their heartless, greedy policies. That this boon to corporate America will somehow trickle down to Americans who have lost their jobs and are struggling at Christmas is the fantasy Republicans are trying to sell. And they’re trying to sell it at Christmas.
This is why compassion matters. In 2016 many people thought that by voting for Donald Trump they would finally make America successful by hiring a businessman. Instead, they got a heartless psychopath, a conscience-free game show host. But as Jacob Marley said to Ebenezer Scrooge, “Mankind was my business!” The message Dickens was sending to the England of the 1840s is as true today as it was then, a person’s worth is measured not by the size of their wallet but by the quality of their compassion.
Trump is so cluelessly tone deaf to compassion he doesn’t even know what it is. If forced to guess he’d probably conclude it has something to do with money. Soon he will be gone, and he will finally be de facto what he always has been de jure: an irrelevant little man of no talent and less consequence who was, for one brief horrible moment, given power he didn’t deserve.
In the meantime I hope your Christmas, brothers and sisters, has been as good as it possibly could have been, under these tragic circumstances. May everything for you and yours be better in the coming new year. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.