I didn’t jump on the “Trump Told Us To Inject Ourselves With Bleach” train this week because none of the call-outs seem to be hitting me right. Like, I know what he said, but I also kinda know what he meant. Which was not for us to go around injecting cleaners into our veins. But then I saw FB post going around written by a respiratory medical professional who kinda took the “But I know what he meant…” angle and I realized I didn’t like that one any better because it went WAAAAY too easy on him for what he said.
I think it’s okay to focus on his words when he’s ridiculous. I’m not faulting that because he says some crazy shit. My problem is there are much bigger problems that aren’t as Headline Grabbing that make him the type of President who constantly says crazy shit. And I can’t always figure out how to spotlight that, but today I’m going to try.
Here’s the bigger problem that I think gets lost in the much more inflammatory wording: He is a narcissist with a dangerously fragile ego who only surrounds himself with “Yes Men” who never call him out on anything and who know they have to feed his ego to keep their power. If he said the exact same thing in a meeting, everyone around him says, “Yes! That’s exactly what we’re hoping to do! Just a little different!” because they give him WAAAAAY too much Benefit Of The Doubt and not enough Hard Truth Telling. The problem is not that he said it a the press conference, it’s the fact that he feels comfortable just talking nonsense out of his ass because no one ever tells him NOT to. They feed his ego when he does it so they can keep their jobs.
This is why over the lat 4 years I’ve really grabbed onto the phrase “Speak Truth To Power” because I am constantly reminded of times where people don’t do it. Not enough people around Trump do it because when they do, they no longer have their own power. I don’t blame them, honestly. I mean…I’m sure I can find places in their career path where they could have maybe made different choices that didn’t end them up on the Trump team…BUT…being on a Presidential team is something you’re supposed to be proud of. Obviously they don’t want to jeopardize that by being anything other than a person who nurtures his very fragile ego so he doesn’t add their names to the very long list of names of people not long for his administration.
We get a lot of “Off the record” comments to journalists and we get people who save their voice for when they can make money on a book deal…but not enough people have ever spoken enough Truth to his Power to stop him from being the man he is today. And if they did it today? They’d be fired because there are plenty of people waiting to nurture his fragile ego in their wake if he sends them packing.
But then the even BIGGER problem that is REALLY not Headline Producing enough is that this is simply another sign of the systemic problems around misogyny, racism, and unchecked capitalism that feed power and money and starve everyone else. It’s like when the news broke that all of these publicly traded company got small business loans. They didn’t think anything about it until the spotlight was shone on them. Because in their circle, everyone encourages every action that keeps them in the money and the power they have. Big businesses pay accountants to find every tax loophole they can and they pay lobbyists to get them tax credits so they can keep all of the money and power while my friend who makes 27K a year and who claims herself as a dependent still owed taxes this year. When she told me that I thought, “I really wish she could afford a real CPA to do her taxes because I feel like she probably did something wrong. That doesn’t sound right.” But she has no money and no power and so the system does not favor her in any way.
Make fun of his words. I know how cathartic it is. But remember how important it is that we Speak Truth To Power in the greater systemic issues we have that continue to uphold the millionaires while working class and the less fortunate get trampled beneath them.