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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Questions, Questions: Why Such Fear and Loathing of Trump?

Forty-two years ago, I met a woman agent from Hollywood. She was a sweet, diminutive woman originally from Boston. She was a militant leftist, and teased me good naturedly but sometimes bitterly about my work for Nixon. We worked together for decades. She retired and moved to San Diego but I still talked to her on the phone a few times per week.

She was always solicitous about the health of my family members and I was about hers. Hundreds of times we talked of old times and of mental and physical illnesses around us. She did not like Trump. In fact, she was terrified of Trump, but I never could understand why. I told her over and over that I thought Trump had no chance of winning.

Then, on election night, I told her I was wrong. Trump would surely win. Moreover, I told her, my wife and I had voted for Trump out of revulsion at the arrogance of Hillary Clinton.

That was election night. That was about two and a half months ago. That woman, who had been one of the mainstays of my life, who was probably as close to me as any woman in my world except my wife and my sister, has not spoken to me since.

I have written to her asking her to speak to me. She answered with an angry letter rehearsing various grievances she had against me — that she had never mentioned until Trump won. I sent her two large plants. No answer. I sent her another letter asking her to speak to me. No response.

Here’s the crazy part: when I tell this sad story to friends and colleagues, they all have similar stories to tell — about men and women — even brothers — who have refused to speak to the Trump voter.

It’s like the Civil War. Brother has been pitted against brother and children versus parents. I have not seen this level of bitterness before. Even in the Nixon days, I did not see such rage on the part of my leftist friends except from one nutcase (naturally, a psychologist).

Why? Why is Trump unleashing such rage? Obviously, it’s not policy. No one gets to hate a friend over tariffs. No one stops speaking to a brother over immigration rules. No one gets a mad hate over corporate tax rates.

No, it has to be about personality. There is something in Trump that frightens the haters. Or else there is some weakness in Trump that excites bullies. A brilliant shrink once told me that the reason some hated RN was that he was a “weak but dominant father figure.” Children hate that. They would fear but love a strong figure (like Stalin). But they would have anger and contempt for the dominant father figure whom they thought of as weak.

Trump is not Nixon though. He’s a tough guy. He’s a shtarker, as we say in Yiddish. So, maybe some people hate a strong and dominant father figure. Maybe we don’t know what’s going on.

We do know that the left has an astonishing capacity for hate. It organizes their thoughts, their poor jumbled up, nonsensical thoughts.

Think of Orwell’s Two Minute Hates, in 1984, which brought the people of Ingsoc together and helped them forget their misery. Think of Kristallnacht. Think of KKK lynchings. Think of the look of gleeful fury on the faces of women demanding that there be no interference with their “right” to murder their own children.

Now, think: why does this hate and rage almost always come from the left? Why are there no riots of white men demanding that hands be kept off their guns? Why are there no mass marches of people who have worked and paid taxes all of their lives demanding an end to subsidizing the willful idleness of some groups? Decent, life-loving men and women march for life. But they don’t riot for life.

So why does Trump, whose speeches are largely meaningless clich├ęs (what does “turning power back to the people today” even mean?), get people so frightened and so furious? Almost everything big in life is about fear. But I just don’t get it. Jimmy Kimmel finds Trump mostly amusing — and so do I. What are others so afraid of?

By the way, in seven days, he will have been in office nine days. Time for his Nobel Peace Prize. And what a genius Bob Dylan was to not show up for his. Meanwhile I have lost a close friend and it breaks my heart.


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