We really shouldn’t laugh at Donald Trump’s recent lie that, if facing the dangers that school officers faced in the Parkland, Florida shooting, he would have rushed toward danger, even if unarmed. It’s as obvious a lie as his hairdo, but Trump likely believes it, and that makes him a danger. Not because he’d ever actually take a risk (unlike, say, a 3 year old who believes he can fly and so jumps off the balcony) but because his overestimation of himself puts us all in danger.
A few years ago, blogger Chris Lavorie argued that every New Yorker caption contest could be won with the caption, “Christ, what an asshole!” That’s about all you need to know about Trump’s tweets, public speeches, and political leadership. We risk real danger of getting shoddy with our political commentary because he makes it just too easy.
I mentioned previously that we’ve been reading Aesop’s Fables. We hit upon one this week that spoke to the embarrassing accuracy of Trump’s self-assessment: The Boasting Traveler.
A man travels the world and returns to his hometown, where he brags about his adventures and accomplishments. A highlight is that, while in Rhodes, he made a leap farther than anyone could imagine. “If only you had been there to see it!” he tells his audience. Yes, in far-off Rhodes, he was quite an athlete.
Finally, a spectator interrupts his bragging: “Now, my good man, if this is true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be Rhodes, and leap for us.”
Deeds, not words, Aesop tells us. [Image of a man, flanked by a rooster, hand son his hip and head thrown back, bragging about his deeds while three other people look on.]
A man who considers himself a business success despite all evidence is not going to “leap for us.” A man with Jewish grandchildren who eggs on anti-Semites is not going to defend children against anyone. And a man who so clearly needs to be liked is never going to take a deliberate risk to improve our nation.