When I was in high school I had one of those friends who claimed to never hate anyone. If he harboured anything like antipathy for someone at all he would claim that, instead of hating them, he preferred, as he put it, “to intensely dislike them.” If you weren’t among the kids who split that particular hair (or infinitive) then I’ll bet you knew someone who did. I eschewed such weasel words but I was, nevertheless, careful about whom I cultivated any hatred. Like love, I believed, hatred should be reserved for that special someone.
It was around the same time that the late Andy Rooney, the guy with the amusing anecdotes at the denouement of “60 Minutes,” said that he had only ever hated one president of the United States in his lifetime. He wouldn’t name which one it was but it was easy to guess. I think he meant Richard Nixon, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Rooney wanted us to know who he meant. I never hated Nixon. At most I entertained a certain belligerent contempt tinged with pity for Nixon. But truthfully, I’ve never hated any president of the United States. Until now.
As I write this, the American death toll due to coronavirus has just surpassed 100,000. What did Donald Trump have to say about it? He tweeted this:
For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn’t done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number. That’s 15 to 20 times more than we will lose. I shut down entry from China very early!
He’s banging that China drum again, of course. He’s been dining out on that one for months. What bothers me most about that is, it’s not just that he’s conning us, it’s that he’s doing it with so little effort, so little imagination, so little originality. Well, this particular political hack is thoroughly tired of Donald Trump. Trump is like a huckster who artificially raises prices so he can lower them to what they were originally and then call it a discount. Care to take a guess what Trump will say when we pass the two million deaths milestone?
This overt, incessant gaslighting by changing provable history wouldn’t be so galling — or perhaps it wouldn’t even be galling at all — if so many people didn’t believe in him. It’s a miracle of wilful ignorance that people can watch Trump tweet all day long about television shows he’s watching and let him get away with pretending that he’s “working night and day for us.” The fact that the only thing he’s done at all to help with the coronavirus pandemic was to announce his impotent partial travel ban to Europe and his full but conditional travel ban to China is a disgrace all by itself. It’s a prodigy of indolence. How much effort does it take to order a travel ban, or a travel restriction? About the same time and effort it takes to write this sentence.
Those of you who know me know that I seldom miss an opportunity to remind people that Donald Trump is both a child rapist and a murderer. As egregious as those crimes are they are not the reason I hate Donald Trump. I know of plenty of child rapists and murderers, and while I despise their crimes I can’t summon personal hatred for them. At best I hate them in the abstract. They don’t merit anything beyond that. But I hate Donald Trump viscerally, with my whole being, and I think I know the reason why. I hate him because of who and what he represents. I hate him because it’s personal.
For one thing, Trump is a type that I have despised all my life. Trump is the bully with the ducktail haircut, a product of the thick, swaggering, cruel, unfunny, stupid underbelly of the human species. Trump is the specimen that menaces and disrupts and mocks and belittles. Trump is the asshole at work who gets away with everything because he’s the son of the boss’ kid sister. He’s the hamfisted bonehead with a little too much power. He’s every clown who ever ruined a perfect sunset or a gorgeous piece of music with a belch or a fart. He’s the classic vulgarian, the quintessential lout, the one kid on the block that you used to know for a fact would never, ever become president of the United States.
Trump has validated every slope-shouldered, mallotheaded Quasimodo in America. He’s a role model for every Neanderthal ruffian, every philistine, every barstool bonehead who’s single-handedly solved all the world’s problems — if only he could be in charge for a day! Trump doesn’t merely comfort them in their ignorance, he’s catered to them, lifted them up, legitimised their ignorance, made them think their ignorance is in fact wisdom after all. Trump is their ignorance. Trump is their hero because he’s just like they are, even though he hates them.
Trump doesn’t wear a mask during a global pandemic because he doesn’t want to appear weak. He’s too much of a tough guy. At least, that’s the official White House reason, as near as I can tell. So he retweets a comment mocking Joe Biden and his wife for wearing a mask at a public event. I think the real reason Trump won’t wear a mask in public is because Trump doesn’t want to smear his makeup. Trump wears makeup because he’s a coward, and he won’t wear a mask because, even though he will save lives by setting a good example, he’s more worried about how he looks than about saving lives. He really is that small, that arrogant, that callous.
Donald Trump is the only person I can think of who has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Even Charles Manson had musical talent. Even Hitler had courage on the battlefield. So did Joseph McCarthy, for that matter. But Trump? Trump is a coward, a draft dodger, a talent-free know-nothing. Trump is the guy who would say something rude and offensive at the end of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. He’s the spirit of the guy who insists we never landed on the moon. He lounges around like the lazy asshole that he is and attacks people who do great things because he can’t. He diminishes the great so he can appear greater.
Trump is a little man, a petty man, a revengeful, unsmiling, humorless man, a man who holds a grudge forever. Not only does he lack the courage and grace to laugh and admit it when he’s been proven wrong, he will pursue anyone who beats him with a vindictive relentlessness that is beyond rational belief. He’s hated Barack Obama ever since the night, in 2011, when Obama produced his birth certificate at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and laid to rest forever Trump’s “birther” conspiracy theory. Since then Trump has vowed revenge, a revenge he will never claim. Because no matter how hard he tries to destroy President Barack Obama’s legacy and credibility, Trump can never be Obama. Obama will always be a great man. Donald Trump will always be a little man.
And then there are his tweets. The endless, whining, cringing, self-pitying tweets. The self-congratulating, mocking, hateful, belligerent, divisive, bottomless tweets. All day long. When he finally fell silent this last Saturday I thought that maybe even he had had enough. But no, he was doing something more important, finally. He was playing golf.
So yes, I hate Donald Trump, and I hate the people who follow him, and I want you to hate Donald Trump and his followers too. You will not be a better person, or a better Christian, or a better Muslim, or whatever standard or measure you hold yourself to, by loving pure evil. Some hatreds are righteous. This is one of them. Use that hatred and help us to defeat Donald Trump in November. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.