By Robert David
The president-elect has trust issues. Big ones. (It is important to disclose I have trust issues too. I am convinced I know best. And it takes hard work to loosen those reins. That, or swallow a little prescription pill that fuzzes things up.) In our country, trust in institutions and in others has been declining for decades. And an internet that legitimizes all perspectives erodes confidence even more.
So now in the person of Donald Trump, we have arrived at the full blossoming of our national collective suspicions. He is the Great American Anti-Truster. He casts doubts like priests sprinkle holy water. For The Donald, life in all directions is concealing Some Big Lie. It was an election “strategy” of negative inklings and rumored underhanded dealings. Trust no one.
In addition to sowing doubt, Donald’s inclination is to dismiss educated experts. Scientists, U.S. intelligence personnel, U.S. military generals, business leaders, news reporters, public school teachers, nuclear weapons cautionaries, traditional world allies — all and more are worthy of his sudden and sharp disbelief. Trump is always Trump’s own answer.
The worries about being led by such a distrusting president are many. A decent society is built on trust: Food at the grocer is good for you, water out of the faucet is clean, a gallon of gas is measured true. Creating a thicker quagmire of suspicion eats away at societal bonds and froths up hidden tensions. That is not good for a diverse country of 324 million, especially one that is gun nuts.
Further, a president has an exceedingly complex job. To do it well, she or he must trust the opinions and leadership skills of a wide range of people. But a tendency toward paranoia leads to isolation. Governing with a group from the White House instead deteriorates to governing alone from a white room. We’ve already been through this with Nixon.
So ultimately, Trump’s visible and expressed lack of trust in facts, truth, science and experts’ opinions leads us to not trust him. We know the harm of always living through our own whims, of always going with just our own gut. It might be more fun, easier. But when we don’t listen, and we don’t take the time to consider what we’ve heard, we plow over innocents when we act. And so it scares the bejesus out of us to imagine a president spawning decisions in this makeshift manner. Who all will we have to scrape up off the pavement? Will there even be any pavement left? It appears this is the type of leadership stomping down the Pennsylvania Avenue blacktop come Jan. 20. Four years of kicking everybody to the curb. Trump knows best. No one else knows shit.
I need to go take a little white chill pill.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 213.