#3 of 3, in series on "Feeling the Pain in Our Divisions" - June 8, 2019
When words hurt more than sticks and stones
By Andrew L. Pate
When future historians write about the Trump presidency, there's an excellent chance their focus will be more on what he has said than on what he has actually proposed or accomplished.
No president has massacred the English language to a more disastrous degree than has Donald Trump. In his poor word-choices, his childish mannerisms and pouting when speaking and, most glaringly, in the derogatory language he has slung out against his critics—all stand alone as uniqueness in the worst possible sense.
Sadly, and oddly, Trump supporters both condone and enjoy their president's immature word-speak. In their minds, they are getting their revenge, for many evidently have felt inferior when well-educated, articulate men have been elected to the presidency, especially those who were linguistic and oratorical masters, like Barack Obama, who, to make it worse for the racist Trumpers, was a Black man.
In their glee Trump backers dismiss quickly any attacks upon the words their idol uses. To them, Trump is telling it like it is, proper English be damned.
In the meantime scholars and other devotees of advanced English usage are fit to be tied. Every time Trump says he's "very" thrilled for this or that or when "great" or "big league" are the only adjectives he can come up with to describe outstanding performance--the language enthusiasts cringe, much to the delight of Trump's most ardent supporters.
What's going on?
The eradication of high standards by which to judge the president of the United States, that's what! Americans have fallen deeply into the habit of "going low" instead of "going high" when facing crises.
Historically, there's little doubt that Donald Trump will be cited as the prime initiator of America's decline in the eyes of the world. For when high standards go, so goes esteem, respect, and the desire to emulate the highest officeholder in what was once the most powerful nation in the free world. President Trump himself is sinking in his self-created trash heap of infantile wordage, more accurately described perhaps as an ugly swamp permeated with profane malapropisms.
To illustrate, consider:
How many times Trump has called a female "nasty," or suggested that a woman is a person to be shunned when sexually unavailable, beginning with the veiled reference he made to *Megyan Kelly's menstrual period during the 2016 campaign. "There was blood coming out of her eyes"?
On the point, Trump has called "nasty" Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Megan Markle and most recently, Nancy Pelosi, concerning whom he was expansive, describing the Speaker as "a nasty, vindictive, horrible person" (June 7, 2019).
To be sure, Trump has been inclusive in his misogyny. Elizabeth Warren, whom he early on labeled Pocahontas for her claim to have native American Blood—he has more recently called "Goofy."
Mika Brzezinski is "crazy." Katy Tur is a "third rate journalist" and Gail Collins has "the face of a pig."
Then, when questioned in a press interview by Cecilia Vego, he said to her, "I know you're not thinking. You never do."
And let's not leave out the president's obnoxious comment about cancer-survivor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "What does she weigh? 60 lbs?"
Trump is almost as low-life in the words he employs for demeaning the men he despises. Most notable was his embarrassing downer about the late Senator John McCain: "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Too, in the video of his response to investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski, Trump appeared to be mocking Serge, imitating the reporter's crippled arm by waving wildly.
Trump's defenders say Trump was just "throwing his hands around," like he frequently does. That defense does not explain, however, why any president should ever be throwing his hands around wildly in a public setting; for at best, the flaying away sends out a message of ridicule intentionally aimed at hurting those for whom the message is intended.
Oh, how painful are Trump's words! Beyond belief! And it is way beyond the belief of most rational lovers of English that Trumpers think their man is fit to be in the White house.
Trump's constant Tweeting adds fuel to his word-malpractice. The tweets are replete with misspellings and words wrongly employed, like "unpresidented for unprecedented," "attaker for attacker." "Tapp for tap" and "council for consel."
The pain inflicted by these errors lies not in the fact that the president is neither a good speller nor an efficient keyboard artist. No, the pain arises because he has not had his worked checked thoroughly in advance by an expert. Concerning that, Trump has no excuse. For as president, he has access to all the help he may need at any hour of the day or night
Can we correct the mess Trump has placed us in?
I don't know. But I pray we can, and soon.
*without the "h"
Second, in series on "Feeling the Pain in Our Divisions"—June 7, 2019
Two despicable and dishonest political tactics are causing us great national heartache
By Andrew L. Pate
In the current political arena, "hate" and "fake" are words usually spoken or written specifically to inflict pain upon Donald Trump's opponents, while strengthening his support.
Most of the respected political pundits in the age of Trump use "hate and fake" rarely, and when they do, it is mainly to point out their devious purposes in Trumpian usage, through which both are frequently applied in tandem to categorize falsely but permanently the opposition; and this is done without any expression of apology or personal regrets.
The chief purveyor of hate is Fox News and, in particular, its best known reporter, Sean Hannity.
Fox News asserts repeatedly that Trump's opponents hate him, that those opponents are haters, or hate-mongers, as though the label defines exactly how unreasonable is the opposition to Trump.
Let us here call this deceit what it is: a bald-faced lie.
In reality, there are few, if any "person-haters" among Trump opponents. For the most part, they are exceptionally well-informed, experienced reporters and knowledgeable citizens who are easily identified by the logic of their compositions and the validity of the facts they submit in support of their opinions.
While anti-Trumpers do not hate the man, it is entirely fitting to point out that they do hate Trumpian methods, which are Machiavellian (unscrupulous) to the extreme.
And because Trumpians methods are extremely unscrupulous, they are also blatantly false—read "fake" to those who are vigorously opposing him.
Anti-Trumpers are more appropriately described as "disappointed" or "dejected" individuals who perceive Donald J. Trump to be totally unfit for the office to which he was elected, evidently by hook and by crook.
As is well known, the president himself is the chief purveyor of "fake," which he uses perhaps most often to reference news that's unfavorable to him, and also as though to dismiss permanently any idea that runs counter to his.
Fox News uses "fake" in a similar fashion.
Have we so grossly abandoned standards of decency in our public discourse that we think it legitimate to label our opponents as "haters" and promoters of "fake news?"
Those among us who believe that excellence in discourse means to show respect through your words for the individuals you are vigorously opposing and to do so in a manner consistent with the rules of good grammar and sound literary composition. This does not mean it is necessary to cow-tail to Fox News and Trump. No, it means the opposite. (One can oppose staunchly without hating.)
As I am wont to say, we can do better, much better.
The most effective counter to "hate" and "fake" are "care" and "true,"
So, let us take care and hold true to the grand democracy through which we and our world have been so richly blessed. May it continue forever!
First, in a series on "Feeling the Pain in Our Divided Nation"
The Fear in the Fear Itself
By Andrew L. Pate
Deep in the depths of our common psyche lies the agonizing pain inflicted by our divisions, neither felt nor admitted by vast numbers among us.
And not admitted for a simple reason: We are enjoying the fight too much. It's as though it's Us vs Them, with Democracy hanging in the balance, and we're having the time of our lives engaged in our intra-national version of a "Thriller in Trump-villa"
But as most always is the outcome of the battle between Good and Evil, when the last punch is thrown no one will be left standing. Rather, every survivor will be crippled, and, in one way or another,unable to press forward in holistic fashion.
Is it that serious?
Yes, we think so. No, we know so. For it is our common "heart" that's hurting. And if our "heart" does not survive healthy and whole, our beloved country will be permanently damaged.
Beyond any reasonable doubt, now is the time for us to feel the pain, attend to it, and begin the
necessary healing process—before it's too late.
A first step is obvious, which is for us to acknowledge that our pain has a root cause: the fear that we just may not survive this fight.
All of us live in this fear to some degree and some among us are aware of it. But unaware and deepest in fear are the Trumpians. Are they really?
Yes, manifestly so. Trumpians are afraid of a black man, Barack Obama, afraid of people of color—black, brown, yellow, red and off-white. Trumpians are afraid of the Truth. In short, they are afraid they may be wrong.
And they are, although they (most) have yet to accept or acknowledge they are trembling in uncertainty. But in time, they will. They must. For they are on the wrong side of history, traveling on the dark side of humanity's unending quest to be set free.
Trumpian fear is the fear about which FDR spoke. It is "fear itself."
Which should bring tears to the eyes of every one of us.
The first step in wiping away our tears is, we believe, for Trumpians to confront in themselves the"fear itself" and cease letting it control their thoughts and actions.
What a day of rejoicing that will be! For every American!