‘He is that he is’
By Pastor Rasheed Baaith
“For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.” (Deut. 32:28)
There appears to be a growing consternation regarding President-elect Trump having little or no regard about conflict of interest issues. I cannot understand why. This is not new behavior from him.
Trump is the quintessential American businessman. He never hid that fact. As a matter of fact, his being a “successful businessman” was the major motivation for his popularity as a Presidential candidate.
The primary purpose of a businessman is to make money. His concern a-bout anything is what is the profit margin and is it legal. He is not and has never been concerned about conflicts of issue or the morality of a transaction. He views the Presidency in the same way. And if anyone in America believes he is not thinking that way, calling that person foolish is too mild a term.
I believe that Trump wants to have “legacy” wealth. Legacy wealth is wealth like the Waltons or the Koch or Mars families. Money that will never run out. Occupying the White House is an opportunity for the Trump family to grow that kind of money. And we know that if Trump is nothing else, he is an opportunist.
The belief that he has turned over his financial empire into the hands of his sons with a cart Blanche mandate for them is spurious at best. He couples that announcement with saying he won’t be active in any role in his business empire. Let me get this straight: so no discussions at dinner together, no phone calls about what decision to make regarding this deal or that; no notes left anywhere? He’s going to take a chance that the children may lose or down value what he has taken a lifetime to build? Do people really believe that?
They well might. If it is one thing Trump has demonstrated over and over again, it’s that his people don’t care if he lies or warps any reality to his perspective. He has whether we want to admit it or not, completely redefined the qualifications of being an American President. While doing so he has made the news media irrelevant and pointless. He has made fanaticism acceptable, even admired and extremism is welcomed in his world.
What kind of President will he be? I think one whose primary concern will be himself and his brand. That’s probably the reason for this intense romance between him and Putin. Russia is a land of opportunity for Trump to exploit, not an adversary for him to be wary of. The incoming President is all about the money. He always was and always will be. People knew that when they voted for him.
Nor am I just talking about just poor or working class whites; a whole number of “educated” white people and a great number of black folks voted for Donald Trump. Whatever indignation they’re feeling about Trump’s disdain regarding propriety, they need to keep it to themselves. I don’t want to hear it.
But much of America has no problem fooling itself. It will rationalize and justify whatever Trump does that many will find unethical and disreputable, not only for the incoming President but for the country. His supporters have demonstrated that they only believe what Trump tells them to believe not what the facts are. And whatever those facts are can be called “fake news” if that’s what Trump says it is.
If this sounds like a fixed fight, that’s because it is. But that doesn’t matter. When have we not been in a fixed fight? We are still compelled to voice actuality, still compelled to speak truth to power and still compelled to not surrender to these new forces of demagoguery.
No matter what anybody else does.