Thursday, February 7, 2019

Donald Trump's Moccasins

The other day while I was shopping, my progress down the aisle was impeded by an extremely obese woman who was shuffling along in shoes that could barely contain her feet. I thought, how uncomfortable she must be; in fact, it may be more than discomfort—she may suffer real pain in attempting to work her way through daily life. 

A White House source has leaked President Trump's private schedules for nearly every working day since the midterms, showing that Trump has spent around 60% of the last three months in "Executive Time.”*

For most days, “Executive Time” was a three-hour block from 8:00 AM to 11 AM. And what was Trump doing during that period? We can’t account for every minute, but we do know that he regularly watched the fault-finders and mischief-makers on “Fox & Friends” and fired off streams of acerbic grievance-filled tweets.**

Trump has been criticized for being notoriously thin-skinned. He cannot pass over a slight (even the slightest slight). He is an injustice collector, who, unfortunately, cannot direct his bone-spurred feet away from a path strewn with nettles. Stung from the moment he turns on his television in the morning (or, perhaps, from bad dreams from sleeping on a bed of nettles), he spews his malcontentedness out onto the twitterverse. 

*

There is an oft-repeated faux-Indian saying that one should not criticize another person before walking a mile in his moccasins. The actual source of the saying is a poem by Mary T. Lathrap called “Judge Softly,” in which she advises us:
Just walk a mile in his moccasins  
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
Thus, we should understand that the obese woman shuffling along in her too-small shoes is experiencing more misery than we are in being obstructed. And despite the shedloads of misery that Trump has unleashed upon the world in the past two years, can we, who have not walked a mile in his moccasins, be sure that stung by the nettles that cross his chosen path daily, Trump is in less misery than we are?

*


However, as the clear-eyed Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld informs us in his Maxim 203: 
He is really wise who is nettled at nothing.

***


** “The impression we get from Trump’s leaked schedules, really, is that Trump’s day doesn’t generally start until 11 a.m. Before that, he seems to be engaged in the sort of executive time that his critics disparage: lots of watching television and tweeting about things that are on his mind.” 


***

Addendum:

Perhaps the way to understand injustice collectors is to consider this story comedian Buddy Hackett told about his army experience:

Hackett, a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, is sent by the army for basic training to a camp in an echt-goyishe part of the country like Kansas, where the diet consists of bland military food like chip-beef on toast (a cuisine very different from his mother’s spicy Jewish cooking). Very soon, Hackett is in a panic when he discovers he no longer has heartburn. He thinks his fire has gone out and he is going to die. 

Injustice collectors need to feel a fire in their stomachs, otherwise they do not feel alive.

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