Donald Trump scares me. He scares me for what he’s done — like fire the FBI director — what he says he wants to do and what he hasn’t done.
His incompetence, ignorance, arrogance and the people surrounding him frightens me to my very bones, frightens me more than when I stood watch on an ammunition ship during the Vietnam War; frightens me more than when I was hijacked at gunpoint (12-gauge sawed-off) in Chinatown in New York City; and frightens me more than when my oldest boy went off to the United States Marine Corps to fight for our country.
But what equally terrifies me is his behavior doesn’t matter to his supporters, even though it’s them he’s betraying.
Because Donald Trump has abandoned the people who elected him. He’s making fools of them for trusting him, voting for him and expecting him to do anything he promised.
Those folks don’t seem to care they’re being had. Or don’t recognize they’re being had. Or so disdain President Obama, Democrats, poor people, people of color, sick children and sick seniors that no matter what he does they are rock solid behind him.
His people (who I’m quoting here) are people who believe government should stay out of everything. They say things like, “I can’t think of a single service that the private sector would not do a better job,” or “Government has no business in health care. None, they should stay the heck out of it.”
These are people so against everything President Obama did that anything President Trump does is just fine. They say things like, “One hundred and seven days in and people are freaking out. I guess the eight years of Obama were better, or forgotten.”
And, of course, if the Democrats or the “fake news” media, or anyone except Fox News is for it, they’re a’gin it. “If Democraps are having a hissy fit, and if they are that upset, it just might be worthwhile.”
Finally, they are so beset by nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror and so distraught their tax money goes to the “undeserving” they say things like, “I don’t give a s**t about illegal aliens, criminals, welfare freeloaders, people that make poor decisions and those that don’t pay their own way. I want the government to be less of a nanny and take less of people’s money.”
So how has Trump delivered on his great, really great campaign promises?
Well, his conservative Supreme Court pick was confirmed and the House passed Trumpcare.
And … that’s about it. Nothing more substantial except two immigration orders rejected by the courts and a bunch of directives asking for “studies.”
After that, mostly nada. Except for the Comey debacle.
Candidate Trump got elected selling his “Contract for the American Voters,” promising, among other things, to, “work with Congress to introduce the following (10) broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration.”
So, let’s see how he measures up:
Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, not introduced;
End the Offshoring Act, not introduced;
American Energy and Infrastructure Act, not introduced;
School Choice and Education Opportunity Act, not introduced;
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act, not introduced;
End Illegal Immigration Act, not introduced;
Restoring Community Safety Act, not introduced;
Restoring National Security Act, not introduced;
Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act, not introduced;
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act, introduced, passed by the House and now in the Senate.
(And about Trumpcare, his biggest victory and biggest betrayal, it medically disenfranchises his core constituency, nixes coverage of preexisting conditions, skyrockets premiums, crashes hospitals and explodes insurance rates for seniors, so those who need it most will get it least.)
I attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. Our motto was, “Acta non Verba.” It means, “Deeds not words.”
President Trump adopted that motto saying, “Words are less important to me than deeds.” (Really. He said that!)
But he seems to be actually living, “Verba non Acta” (Words, not deeds).
However, “Quia non aliquid adsistit” meaning, “I don’t stand by anything” (another direct Trump quote) seems closer to his personal philosophy.
So we have a president who stands by nothing he says; who tweets madness in the morning; and who the former director of the FBI reportedly called “crazy.”
Which makes me wonder if Trump’s “Make America Great Again” uber-patriots will remember two of the principles our greatest real patriot, George Washington, lived by: “Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise,” and, “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
Of all the things missing in this President’s administration, conscience seems to be the most conspicuous. And that’s more frightening than anything.
Tom Burke’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.