Respect

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/opinion/biden-trump-respect.html

         On July 1, Thomas L. Friedman had the lead editorial in The New York Times. It was advice for Joe Biden with regard to his bumper sticker. It was suggested to him by an environmental innovator named Hal Harvey. It reads:

         “Respect science, respect nature, respect each other.”

         I think that’s pretty good and Biden would be wise to adopt such a slogan as soon as possible because it would frame him as being the exact opposite of Donald Trump who respects none of those things.

         To be perfectly blunt, when it comes to science, Trump is a know-nothing who likes to pass himself off as smart. He’s neither smart nor educated although he is a gifted huckster and TV game show host. He won’t wear a mask. He speaks at indoor gatherings of thousands despite the risk of such events to those gathered. He knows nothing about drug development, the NIH, the FDA or the CDC and wants to slow testing in order to make the coronavirus go away. This is a combination of ignorance and denial or, as my friend Dan Longo might say when describing Longo’s Syndrome—microcephaly with arrogance.

         Trump is also a denier of climate change and removed the United States from the mainstream of world opinion and activity against climate degradation by withdrawing the country from the Paris Accords. This also was foolish, but we have kind of gotten used to Trump doing foolish things and denying that they were foolish. Trump really believes in magical thinking. If he says it, it must be so. He hasn’t quite grasped the fact that he can no more make climate change recede than he can make the coronavirus vanish.

         As for the respecting of others, we know that Trump respects no one other than himself, those he deems sycophantic allies, and some of his family as long as they are playing along with his nonsense as Ivanka and Jared clearly do. You know deep down in your heart that these two well-educated young people must know what a horse’s ass the president really is, but they are compliant, playing along with the charade that they have knowledge or power that others do not have to mold world events. Mr. Kushner has amply demonstrated that he has no insight into any of the problems he has been tasked to solve by his father-in-law and he must be a running joke in the halls of the West Wing.

         Tom Friedman and his friend Mr. Harvey have this one perfectly right. Trump respects nothing and no one besides Trump. I think he envies dictators like Putin, Xi and Erdogan, but he respects them only in the sense that they can command what he only dreams of commanding.

         Mr. Biden is starting to sound presidential. He is starting to call Trump out and make it clear that a Biden presidency would look a lot different than the one run by the guy in office now. This bumper sticker is a great idea. It summarizes everything from Black Lives Matter to conservative values all in a few words. What more could you want from a bumper sticker?

Leonard Zwelling