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Forum, Oct. 7: Trump doing what he’s always done


Sunday, October 06, 2019
Trump doing what he’s always done

If a sleazy deal-maker runs for president and gets elected, you get a sleazy deal-maker as president. Profound, eh? Well, this is what we’ve got, folks.

In addition to the many (accurate) labels President Donald Trump has amassed — bully, liar, philanderer — he is also ignorant of the rules and norms of the job in which the electoral college placed him. So when he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family, in his eyes he was simply doing what he has always done: maneuvering and cajoling and deal-making. I think he is honestly stunned that his old lie/cheat/threaten ways have dunked him in hot water.

The Sunday Valley News recently carried a Washington Post article by Philip Rucker (“Trump insists he’s being victimized,” Sept. 29). Believe it or not, a common trait of sociopaths is a persistent desire for pity, according to Martha Stout in her book The Sociopath Next Door. Trump’s constant bleats about being treated “unfairly” and his apparent lack of conscience fit the sociopathic pattern perfectly. As Rucker points out, “Victimization always has been core to Trump’s identity. ... It is the emotional glue that yokes Trump to the grievance politics of the right.”

An observation about the timidity of congressional Republicans: Conventional wisdom holds that they fear angering Trump’s storied “base” in their eventual quests for reelection, and that this largely accounts for their silence. I offer this, in addition: They fear the man himself — I mean literally, physically. Trump is a big white guy with money, a loud mouth and a virtual army he can mobilize with a few pecks on his Twitterbox.

We are witnessing, in our mostly male Congress, the alpha-male, “pack dog” phenomenon in living color. The GOP pack dogs dutifully stay in line, jump when he says jump, and meekly zip their lips. If this weren’t so pathetic and predictable it would be humorous.

Would this happen if women ran the show? I think not.

ARTHUR E. NORTON

Woodstock

Warm self-approval won’t be enough

How many tons of trash were produced directly and indirectly in the cause of the recent climate strike? How much fossil fuel was consumed to transport participants to and from central gathering points? (“Making a statement: Upper Valley rallies join worldwide effort,” Sept. 21.)

How many electronic devices does each participant routinely use? My cell phone dates from 2003. It ain’t smart, but it accomplishes everything I need it to and might get charged once a month or so.

How many vehicle trips does the average young protester take weekly to extracurricular activities?

This reminds me of the Women’s March as a paroxysm of rage after Donald Trump was elected president. Where were those legions after news began trickling out of the vile conditions in, and circumstances of, migrant detention facilities? A considerable number of very young children are still separated from their parents and the harm already done is irreparable.

Pantsuit Nation, where are you?

I believe in protest, and action. I believe in the coercive power of boycotts and shaming of corporate entities. I don’t admire feel-good yelling and the warm feelings of group self-congratulation and then back to all the stuff we love and enjoy and as little inconvenience in our personal lives as possible. I buy almost all my clothes from Listen, with the exception of socks, undergarments and jeans, and trust me, I love my gorgeous wardrobe. How often do the kids go to the mall?

Real change comes at least partly through self-discipline, restraint and sacrifice, and the well-aimed target that can’t help but pay attention. The warm approval of us Upper Valley folks ain’t going to cut it.

SARAH CRYSL AKHTAR

Lebanon