“Listening is an act of love.” I don’t recall where I picked up this tidbit of wisdom. A simple thought, perhaps even simplistic. Somehow it has the ring of truth, however. Is there anyone more infuriating than a person who has wronged you or thinks you have wronged him or her and then acts on that belief, shuts down and refuses to listen to reason or at least to your version? That’s pride, arrogance, but never love.
One thing that can be said about our current commander-in-chief is that he rarely listens. Not to anyone, or almost. Can such a person love his nation, his fellow citizens, the people of the nations of the world that are so strongly affected by the policies of this country? I don’t think so.
Donald Trump won’t listen to anyone or to anything he doesn’t want to hear. And, since much of what he says is factually false, wrong in almost every way, most people tell him truths he doesn’t want to hear and won’t listen to. He doesn’t listen to the heads of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies when they tell him, yes, the Russians did in fact try to meddle in the election, and no, there isn’t a shred of evidence that former president Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
He doesn’t listen to the Republican chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees when they tell him the same thing. He didn’t listen when a whole phalanx of generals wrote to tell him that cutting the State Department to the bone would hurt national security and instead took an axe to State’s budget.
Foreign leaders, forget about listening to them. Not to the Germany’s Angela Merkel, who told him that cheering for the dismantlement of the European Union is a bad idea.
He refuses to hear the Mexican president when he says, over and over, hell no, we won’t pay for your wall.
He refuses to take the Swedes seriously when they deny any upsurge of crime or terrorism because that country has taken in many more refugees than the United States, significantly more in absolute numbers, astronomically more per capita.
He hung up on the Australian Prime Minister when he was unable to slither his way out of a commitment by the U.S. government to receive a modest number of refugees. He accuses British intelligence of colluding with Obama to wiretap him and then blows off the furious denial of the UK intelligence service and government.
On the infrequent occasions when he does listen, he takes his information from the least credible sources. His accusation against British intelligence came from a commentator on Fox News. For a man who has at his command the finest intelligence services in the world, this is astonishing. It’s like a patient who needs cardiac surgery and can call on the best heart surgeon in the world but opts for his barber to perform the operation instead.
Trump continues to slander Obama over wiretapping even after a Fox News journalist, obviously speaking for the network, said in an authoritative tone that Fox News “has no evidence” that Obama wiretapped Trump. “Full stop.”
This country has had other presidents who have lied frequently and were afflicted with neuroses—Nixon comes immediately to mind. But even Nixon could listen, as he did when the leaders of Congress told him he must resign.
Donald Trump is on an entirely different plane on what can only be described as psychopathology. From the “birther” lie about where Obama was born to the wild charges about British intelligence, not to mention the phantom millions of people that voted illegally or the falsehood about skyrocketing homicide rates in the United States, Trump has been consistently delusional. In addition, his many smears about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama border on an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I am not a psychiatrist, but a person who seems out of touch with reality, utters nonsense constantly, and won’t listen to others, is close to a layman’s definition of insanity. And lying all the time without shame or guilt is one of the hallmarks of the sociopath.
His latest lie at the time of this writing is the claim that Germany owes the United States many billions of dollars for its defense. The Germans, citing facts and logic, elements foreign to Trump, quickly shot down the claim.
By the time this goes online, Trump will probably have trotted out any number of new untruths. Can anyone keep up with so much baloney? No, but it’s important to try for the record.
Late night comedians are having a great time with a nut in the White House they can skewer every night. On the other hand, Trump’s professional apologists are sweating bullets to try to square the circle. Their contortions have themselves become an object of mockery. Kelly Ann Conway suggestion that microwave ovens might be turned into surveillance cameras is hilarious, if pathetic. The pugnacious White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has turned the daily news briefing, previously the most boring program on television, into a rating hit by dint of his mixture of obfuscation and aggression. Conway is pitiful. Spicer is a vicious pit bull who deserves only execration.
All this would be great fun if it weren’t for the consequences for the nation’s security and credibility. Worse still is the hit that the 24 million people who will lose their health insurance will take so that the wealthy can have the biggest tax cut ever.
Republicans call it repeal and replace. Enabled by Trump, their actual goal is to repeal Obamacare and to replace it with nothing but a lavish gift to their real base, the rich.
They can call it what they want. A crime is what it is.