Unless you are silly enough to subscribe to the idea that the five stages of grief are golf, golf, golf, golf and hate-tweeting, I suspect, like me, you think that whatever tears are being shed by Donald Trump and his claque of knuckle-dragging acolytes over the death of Trump’s brother Robert Trump, they are entirely crocodile ones. The last time Trump had a chance to mourn the death of a sibling was 1981, and that time instead of playing golf he characteristically went to a movie. So there, you aren’t alone in your suffering for the worldwide pandemic. No movies for Trump.
But I’m not running for political office — or anything else — and I can afford to be cynical. Joe Biden must cut a less skeptical figure and, as they say, give the man the benefit of the doubt. Biden therefore tweeted the following, not just for Trump, but also for you and for me, reminding us that part of being president means being presidential, it means being the larger man, the less petty man. Joe Biden was correct to tweet:
“Mr. President, Jill and I are sad to learn of your younger brother Robert’s passing. I know the tremendous pain of losing a loved one — and I know how important family is in moments like these. I hope you know that our prayers are with you all.”
Anything less would have been a dereliction of the ideal we need to see in our next president, one of wisdom, kindness, generosity and a forgiving willingness to rise above the political fray. (I am told by the British newspaper The Independent that Trump responded to the Vice President’s largess with a retweet ridiculing Biden’s stutter. I am unable to find that retweet, but would not be surprised if it were true.)
As you may be aware, in December of 1972, Biden’s wife Neilia and their one-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in an automobile accident while Christmas shopping. Biden is familiar with tragedy and is a mature, functioning adult human being. He can draw on the wells of common human tragedy, like the loss of his wife and infant daughter, and find empathy for others. That is a quality of human emotional wholeness that we who are healthy and compassionate share. That is a quality that is essential to being president of the United States — or the leader of any nation.
Donald Trump shares none of these qualities. Trump is not a fully integrated human being. He is severely broken. He is so handicapped by his lack of empathy as to render him entirely unfit to continue to serve as president of the United States.
I am not here in my usual capacity, to pass savage judgment on Donald Trump. Today (and perhaps today only) I come neither to praise nor bury Donald Trump, but to dispassionately pass judgment on the incontrovertible fact of his unfitness to continue to serve as president — for whatever reason. I know Trump’s father, Fred, was an unregenerate monster. I know Trump’s mother was too weak to be anything other than Fred’s codependent. It makes no difference to me whether Trump is what he is through choice or through no fault of his own. The presidency is not a halfway house for broken spirits. We need a wholly integrated woman or a wholly integrated man at the helm. The United States government was not constituted to serve as Donald Trump’s security blanket, and will entirely perish should it continue.
Joe Biden’s compassion and ability to govern the country are proven beyond doubt. He has an aplomb, a maturity, a capacity for leadership that is obvious. It cannot be faked, he is the authentic thing. Trump’s assault on the post office and his false narrative of mail-in voter fraud is an obvious attempt to disenfranchise those of us who would vote him out of office.
We must unite in a single voice and vote for Joe Biden on November 3rd. I know this hyperbole has been used before but this time it’s true: America cannot survive another four years under this president. Let’s not just get him out, let’s do so in a single voice too loud and too massive to be questioned. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.