PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP RESIGNED LAST WEEK.
That’s not a Pollyanna dream. It’s not the blind hope of a defeated electorate.
It’s the truth.
President Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, abdicated his leather throne when, faced with a nation divided, he joined the breach with a hand grenade of historical indifference. He opened the wounds deeper and drew the lines darker.
He let the moral authority of his office drain away in supercilious succession – with silence and then with tweets, with falsehoods and with rancor.
But of all the things Trump is and does, one thing is certain: He doesn’t hate.
Trump may express hate, yes; and he will say hateful things. But a man like Trump doesn’t truly hate because he can’t – he simply doesn’t possess that universal human capacity.
Hate requires nuance and a semblance of rationale – it can be a stupid and baseless rationale, but it’s a rationale nonetheless. And that’s why what Trump does is far worse than anything mere hate could ever hope to achieve.
Only two kinds of people exist in Trump’s world: Donald Trump, and those who love Donald Trump. There’s no thinking beyond that. There is nothing anyone can say or do to make Trump take a side for anything other than his need to be loved. Every decision he makes runs through that narcissism filter.
The Nazis who protested in the streets of Charlottesville praised his name, so he had to let them love him. He doesn’t know how to act any other way.
The need to be loved is stronger, more dangerous, and as we learned last week, more divisive than hate. Without love from his family, from Fox & Friends, from his supporters and, yes, even from those who wear the swastika, Trump can’t function.
He needs it all, every last drop. He feeds on it like a cancer cell devours a healthy body. His yawning hunger for love will consume the republic until all that’s left is skin and bone.
So that’s where are in 2017. When people looked to the White House for leadership, they found only vanity. When they turned to the President to reset the nation’s moral compass, he instead tossed it into the pyre of our basest fears, letting it burn our eyes like so much tear gas.
President Donald Trump resigned not his office, but his role as steward of America’s conscience. He resigned his obligation to be the light that shines moral certitude over a fragile country that often needs to be reminded how, and why, it came into existence.
We will get through this; Americans always do. But now, at least for the foreseeable future, we will have to get through it alone.