After a couple months of fussing and fuming, I’ve figured out what bothers me most about Donald Trump, the most likely Republican nominee for president.
He hasn’t learned the lessons we senior citizens have over the years about living a life of conscience, character and courage (or at least trying to).
It’s not his bluster, bravado, bullying or bawdiness that rise to the top of my concerns — nor his rather outrageous notions of deporting 11 million immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the U.S., building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico or water boarding terrorist suspects.
He loves himself
Nope. Most worrisome is his narcissism. Donald Trump is totally, hopelessly, alarmingly and maddeningly narcissistic. He illustrates the Webster Dictionary definition: “Inordinate fascination with one’s self, excessive self love. Gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes.”
He fits it to a T.
We seniors have learned the hard way that the world does not revolve around us, nor do we have a corner on truth, beauty and justice; we know there are people smarter than we are, so we seek other opinions, gather some facts and proceed with a little caution.
We find it hard to be narcissists when we stare at our naked image in the mirror as we brush our teeth in the morning.
This is not the case with The Donald.
He is at the epicenter of his galaxy and everything is all about him, from poll numbers to foreign policy. Think about it: The only foreign leader to have anything remotely kind to say about Trump is Russia’s Vladimir Putin. It takes one to know one.
Getting away with murder
Before any of the primaries, Trump was bragging about his growing popularity as shown in those poll numbers he references hourly.
This past January, he boasted that he could shoot someone in the middle of Manhattan and not lose voters, simply because of the power of his popularity.
Who thinks like that? I could get away with murder because I’m Donald Trump.
At a town meeting in South Carolina, Anderson Cooper asked Trump a softball question about the music he liked.
Donald cited the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Michael Jackson. And then he turned the answer to himself.
Trump knew the real Michael Jackson, the one no else knew and the one who rented an apartment in one of his buildings.
Trump couldn’t help himself; he had to make a world icon his second fiddle.
It’s time for a reality check
Maybe that helps explain why Trump never feels compelled to offer details, facts, specifics about the HOW:
How would he get Mexico to pay for the wall?
How would he avoid starting a trade war with China?
How would he round up and deport millions of people?
How would he destroy ISIL?
Trump behaves as though he’s offended by the questions. After all, he’s Donald Trump, billionaire, TV celebrity, savior of the Republic.
All of this played better when I was a young man, chasing a career, seeking attention, enhancing a resume. I’m wiser now, not as self-centered or self important.
The answers aren’t as easy as they used to be now that the questions are more nuanced. Quite simply, I’ve grown up.
That hasn’t happened to Donald Trump. I see no evidence that Trump values or seeks wisdom, the kind of knowledge that’s filtered through decades, tempered by decency and mellowed with empathy.
Rising to the occasion?
Maybe the enormity and reality of the proposed challenge — and the gravitas of the office — would sink in for Trump if he were to be elected.
Maybe he would become toned down by the complexities of the task and the qualities of those who came before him:
Harry Truman was a haberdasher from Missouri, but he managed the end of a war and the beginning of a recovery in Europe and Japan.
Ronald Reagan busted a union, but he also raised taxes.
I hope Donald Trump begins to realize that the game show is over. It’s time for the celebrity host to disappear and the public man to come forward.
It’s not just about him now. It’s about all of us.
Dave Nimmer has had a long career as a reporter, editor and professor. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.