Tell Him

Leonard Pitts, Jr. lets loose on Donald Trump in his most recent op-ed, and it is a thing of beauty. Addressed "Dear Mr. So-Called President," Pitts opens his missive by telling Trump, "So let me explain to you how this works." And then proceeds to do precisely that.

The entire thing is worth your time to read, but his conclusion is particularly stellar.
Just who the hell do you think you are?

Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn't notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you've heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?

Let's be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you'd still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.

And you, of course, are none of those things. I know you fetishize strength. I know your pal Vladimir would never stand still for reporters and judges yapping at him.

I know, too, that you're accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. Must be nice. Your name on the wall, the paychecks, the side of the building. You tell people to make something happen, and it does. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see how it would be hard to give that up.

But you did. You see, you're no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You're now what is called a "public servant" — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses. And let me tell you something about those bosses. They're unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That's at the core of their identity.

Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you're going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.

Hell no.
Hell no.

This, too, is one of the problems with the fantasy of a Great Businessman Running the Government Like a Business to Make America Great Again. The government is not a corporation—and the president is not a CEO.

Those sound like basically the same thing, but they're not. Not really. The former is about systems; the latter is about people.

We have this myth about how a successful CEO would axiomatically translate into a successful president, but the talents and temperaments that make successful CEOs are generally very different than those that make successful presidents.

Some of those things are nuanced differences, but one major difference is pretty damn straightforward: When you're the president, you don't get to choose how visible you are anymore.

Unlike CEOs—who, for the most part, can choose to be flashy, exhibitionist, reality-show celebs or to firmly decline to become a household name—the president is globally famous and stays famous every day as long as s/he holds the job, and pretty much for every day thereafter.

The fame part of it was no doubt of great appeal to Donald Trump. But only the adoration part of that fame. Not so much the scrutiny.

It's obvious that Trump doesn't like the relentless scrutiny. Which only makes him more crabby, erratic, indecisive, and compulsive, which in turn only invites more scrutiny. It's a vicious circle, from which there's no escape.

Except, of course, not having the job anymore.

This is what you signed up for, Trump. And if you don't like it, you're not going to solve it by telling us to STFU and go away.

The only option is for you to do that.

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