Monday, December 5, 2016

Aasif Mandvi: What Trump is not likely to tweet

Assif Mandvi, you might recall, was a regular on the cast of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Here, in a NY Times op-ed The Trump Tweets I Want to Read, he asks Trump to tweet for good causes. What are the chances of that? (h/t Sherry Moreau) Read on.

White nationalists have been captured on video raising their hands in a Nazi salute while shouting “Hail Trump.” Hate crimes have surged across the country — the Southern Poverty Law Center gathered reports of 867 in just the 10 days after the election. Yet, unlike his predecessors, our president-elect has been mostly silent in condemning the hate talk and violence being done in his name.

In an interview with this paper, Donald J. Trump said that the alt-right is “not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why,” seemingly unable to fathom that the reason they are “energized” is because of him and the thing he needs to “look into” are his own words.

When asked by “60 Minutes” whether he had anything to say about the reports of racial slurs and threats by his supporters against African-Americans, Latinos and gays, he replied, “Stop it.” He might as well have preceded that with, “O.K., fine … if I have to.”

Mr. Trump’s supporters and staff say he has disavowed and condemned these acts and organizations and that should be the end of it. But to many of us, this isn’t enough. It feels disingenuous and forced because we all know that when Mr. Trump has something he really wants to say, he does one thing and one thing only: He spews forth on Twitter.

When the president-elect wants to unleash his disapproval, or his thin skin has been ever so slightly bruised, the people responsible can be sure to find themselves on the receiving end of a Twitter barrage like none other. That’s what I want to see now, and I won’t settle for less. The American people deserve to see Mr. Trump attack these hate groups and the people perpetrating hate crimes in his name the way he attacked the cast of the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” the television personality Rosie O’Donnell, Gold Star families, The New York Times, Miss USA, the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, women accusing him of sexual misconduct, protesters and the I.R.S.

We don’t want a pro forma apology extracted out of him reluctantly by a reporter. We want him to feel so hurt and angry about Nazis using his name that he is up tweeting at 3 a.m.

So let me ask you, Mr. Trump — the cast of “Hamilton” are worth a tweet storm, but you can’t muster even one tweet against neo-Nazis yelling “Hail Trump”? Nothing? Come on, I’ll write you a couple of options:

“Neo-Nazis are haters and losers. Nasty people. #smallhands #lowenergy.”

“White supremacists are a threat to our nation #bigleague. Worse than the #NYTimes. Only I can stop them.”

“Time to retire the boring and unfunny Hitler salute, highly overrated.”

“Steve Bannon. You’re fired!”

I don’t know when or if we will ever see tweets like this, for one of two reasons. Either Mr. Trump actually sympathizes with these hate groups and what they stand for or, what is more likely, he neither agrees nor disagrees with them.

Mr. Trump is not driven by any particular ideology; he is driven by the need to be praised and adored. He cannot repudiate any kind of praise, even if it comes from the most despicable people or places. His thin skin works both ways. He lashes out at the smallest perceived slight with ferocity, while praise of any kind is so intoxicating to him that he is blind to where that praise comes from. Whether it’s Vladimir V. Putin or the alt-right darling and future White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, the way to get to Mr. Trump is clearly to flatter him and massage his fragile ego.

This should make us all incredibly nervous, because this is how dangerous people will enter the halls of power and use our president as their puppet. We will find ourselves living in a kakistocracy — a word that recently only spelling bee nerds knew, a word the rest of us will soon become very familiar with. It means a country that is run by the most unqualified and unprincipled among us.

If you have any doubt now of where the Trump kakistocratic administration is headed, let me inform you of his pick for HUD Secretary - Dr. Ben Carson. See Trump Chooses Ben Carson to Lead HUD. It can, and I predict, will, get worse.

Here is a terrifying thought: If Islamic State militants booked rooms at the Trump International Hotel in Dubai and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi openly flattered Mr. Trump’s “very good brain” on social media, how long would it take before our future president changed his mind about defeating them?

For now we are waiting for Mr. Trump to do what only he can do best: call out the racists and the bigots in 140-character hyperventilating temper tantrums. For once, we look forward to the barrage.

Mandvi gets it, I think. Trump’s 90% gut-level elephant, to pursue Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor, is Trump’s need to be adored. Mandvi is sarcastically appealing to Trump’s 10% cognitive rider. If Trump uses twitter to attack Bannonism, I will concede that civil discourse has some hope of reaching the elephant. If I were you, I would not put money on it.

Aasif Mandvi (@aasif) is an actor, comedian and the author of the memoir “No Land’s Man.”

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