The Trump I Know by Robert Koppel

Imagine a 1950's Caddy limo. Sleek, black, shiny. A giant waterbug, slowly, menacingly advancing along an innocent suburban street. A cold, square-shouldered driver with pencil-thin mustache at the wheel. His assassin's eyes gaze straight ahead. In the back, a plump boy, favoring Richie Rich, peers from the window. He sticks out his tongue at children playing stickball or spud in the street. Later, he will curse at us for no reason, giving us the finger. A shrimp of a finger that never grew much larger.

I don't have to imagine this because it was something I observed often as a child, growing up in Jamaica Estates, when presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy served in office.

The Trumps seemed to be all around us. The slow steady crawl of Fred's car along Highland Avenue, where I lived, was a common sight. There he was, collecting rent, inspecting his buildings, barking orders at doormen, leaving his car in no-parking zones, transporting little Donald to and from school. We all knew him as the "slumlord from Brooklyn" (he was actually from the Bronx) who fed off the poor. During the years of civil rights legislation, neighbors whispered about his discriminatory practices; there were even rumors of a past KKK affiliation.

Little Donald was a familiar type in Queens. There were his counterparts in every playground from Long Island City to Douglaston. Braggart, bully, cheap-shot artist, con man, who cut corners and attacked weakness in whomever and wherever he perceived it. Most playground bullies outgrow this behavior. Not Donald Trump.

There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. Hillary Clinton has a lifelong record of service, a history of real governance, and an inimitable understanding of actual policy.

As secretary of state, she demonstrated leadership and competence in addressing the complex struggle against terrorism.

Hundreds of Republican foreign policy experts support her: Henry Paulson, John Negroponte, Richard Armitage, and Brent Scowcroft are but a few.

And there is something else: Hillary is a known quantity. She is fit and has stamina. Spending years in the trenches, she did the hard work. She is experienced, accomplished, fully prepared to lead our nation. History is on Hillary Clinton's side.

The bully who gave me and my buddies the finger so many years ago, is now grown. He is a wild scoundrel, who hates jurisprudence and constitutional process. He plays on fear.

Like his father, Donald Trump is an unapologetic racist, exploiting the most base instincts of xenophobia, antisemitism, and misogyny.

Celebrating the worst in all of us, he lies, insults, bullies, lacks knowledge and impulse control. He abhors intellectual curiosity and purposeful, methodical judgement.

Unequipped to analyze complex situations and policies, he is woefully unprepared.

Donald Trump's 180 degree swings on fundamental issues categorically reveal the ignoramus, conniver, and charlatan he is: incompetent yet overly confident, arrogant, contentious, dismissive, boastful. Think Eddie Haskell in the oval office! But much, much worse.

So, this is our choice: one candidate who is competent, ready to serve; and the other, a malevolent psychopath.

Chief birther who, even now, dissembles about his despicable, fervent involvement in a five-year crusade to delegitimize our president. All the lies and verbal pretzeling of big Donald's stooges, sycophants, alt-righters, and surrogates will not alter the truth, try as they might! Trump is nothing but a puny dog whistler, inciting hatred, division, and violence.

The greatest danger to our country and the world is this pathetic demagogue.

Imagine a limo. Sleek, black, shiny. A giant waterbug, slowly, menacingly creeping along a Washington street. In the back, the smug, slouching figure with clown hair looks out the window.

The choice is simple. We must do better.


September 22, 2016

Addendum. If you want to get the vision of Trump as a waterbug out of your mind, try this. Share it too.

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