On March 17 David Brooks wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times called “Let Bannon Be Bannon”. I want to put aside for a moment how frightening that sentiment is. I will also, at least for the moment, pick my jaw off the floor, which is where it landed after reading Brooks’ conceit that Steve Bannon, of all people, should be counted on to ride to America’s rescue. Instead, I want to focus on one short paragraph in the piece which reads “The Trump health care and budget plans will be harsh on the poor, which we expected. But they’ll also be harsh on the working class, which we didn’t”. Really? I did.
During the presidential campaign I was consistently astonished by how attendees at Trump’s rallies seemed to be totally oblivious as to the level of contempt with which Trump holds people like them. People with little money or clout. “Losers” to Trump, who lacked his innate brilliance to have been born to fabulously wealthy parents. To David Brooks, and the millions of working people who were so easily fooled into supporting this conman I ask: Who do you think were the victims of Trump University? It wasn’t the poor; they couldn’t afford the tuition. It wasn’t the rich; what would a rich person need with a get-rich-quick scheme? It was working and middle class people, striving for a better life, who were taken in by the Trump U. scam.
Nothing that Trump and his administration have done so far has surprised me. Donald Trump has made a lot of money ripping off the working class. Trump U. not enough evidence for you? How about the fact that Trump is notorious for stiffing the contractors who work on his projects? His formula is simple. Just keep a stable of lawyers on retainer, then claim that the work done for Trump Enterprises was shoddy, even if it was first-rate. Then have your lawyers stall the suit. Eventually the small businessperson will suffer cash-flow problems from the lack of payment and will be so desperate to be paid something for their work that they’ll settle for way less than the agreed-upon price. Everyone knows that this is how the man operates. It was always there for any sentient being to see. No matter what my wife thinks (and I love her for it), I’m not that special, and yet I knew. So did she, by the way, as well as millions of other people. Why didn’t David Brooks know? Why didn’t Trump’s working class supporters know? I’ve cited this line by Paul Simon in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating here again: “All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”. And when he does, eventually he pays the price for his willful ignorance.