Dear President Trump,
I read a pretty great WP opinion column the other day but now I can’t find it. Whoever wrote it said something along the lines that you seem to be running out of new tricks to pull out of your sleeves and that your rally audiences are starting to look bored and even annoyed. What really caught my attention was the idea that con men usually skip town before the plebs have had their fill and are starting to figure out the con (or cons), but you effectively have nowhere to go because you are everywhere. Thus, you’ve stayed past the credible shelf life of your dog whistles and shams, and your shallow (corrupt, inept, amoral) offerings are becoming apparent to your former fans.
This next bit may seem somewhat at odds with the above, but I think there’s a useful connection. Recently there was an HP piece about Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to come forward about Larry Nassar, and it details her observations that many clergy have used the inherent power differentials of church hierarchy to provide cover for abuse. She said “when the leader attains the status of a celebrity preacher and becomes “untouchable” this status helps insulate the abusive person from criticism.” I know you aren’t a minister or clergy person, but the next passage really nails you and your relationship with the stalwarts in your base: “Abusers look for communities they can ingratiate themselves into, they look for dynamics to make people emotionally attached to them because that is their greatest safeguard…” You are a master at this. You’ve hooked people by whipping up racial animus and fear, setting up hate-fests, denigrating respectful language and basic decorum as so much politically correct hooey, and framing yourself as the one and only savior of the put upon.
Sadly you will probably always have some people snookered, but a growing number of your formerly enthralled folk are realizing the strain of doing mental backflips to protect their idea of you is just too much and they are starting to wake up. They likely won’t ever admit they were snookered, and that’s ok. For now it’s enough that they just aren’t into you anymore.
May we be safe from charlatans.
May we be happy to call out people who hide behind their positions of power.
May we insist that our leaders at all levels lead with integrity.
May we make peace with the reality of masked evil so as to more effectively guard against it.