Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value.” Plato, The Republic
Bill Russell, Hall of Fame center for the Boston Celtics, was once asked if he thought money changed people. He replied that it did; it made them more of what they were to begin with; if someone was a caring generous person, it made them even more caring and generous; and if someone was a greedy degenerate, it made them even more so.
No doubt, Bill Russell had it right; money – like success and failure –– changes people; it colors their beliefs, perceptions and actions. And those who have way too little or way too much seem to be changed the most.
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Recently, Eric Trump declared his father was not a racist and insisted that the only color that matters to his father is green – the color of money. Dim-bulb Eric sees that character flaw as praiseworthy and can’t comprehend that his words expose his old man as a greedy, soulless creep.
For the moment, let’s set aside the color of money and address the racist charge, where the evidence is overwhelming. Exhibit A is the housing discrimination suit brought against Trump properties in the 1970’s. Exhibit B is Trump’s outrageous campaign against the so-called Central Park Five even after they were cleared of all charges. Exhibit C is his disgusting role as Birther-in-Chief. Exhibits D, E, F, G and H are his Mexican trashing, Judge Curiel bashing, Khan family baiting, Muslim banning, Donald Duke demurring during his presidential campaign.
Add to that list, Trump’s hiring of Fourth-Reichers Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka (that’s one “S” more than “SS”). Then there’s his defense of torch-carrying, slur-hurling brown-shirts at the Charlottesville rally as “good people”.
When it comes to the charge of racism, the verdict ought to be unanimous: Defendant Donald J. Trump is guilty as hell.
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As for Trump’s obsession with money, it’s bitterly ironic that his attitude is pretty much the same as a ghetto thug. For Trump, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Had Trump been born in the ghetto, the evidence strongly suggests he would have ended-up a pimp or a drug-dealer. That’s not to say being born in the ghetto condemns anyone to becoming a thug; but it is to say Trump’s lack of character and obsession with all that glitters would certainly have inclined him to follow that path.
Indeed, some would say Trump is a thug, in spite of being to the manor born.
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Trump sees things quite differently, of course. He imagines himself not only a success, but a self-made man. He is living proof of a crack by Barry Switzer: “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”
The conceit of the “self-made man” is an aspect of the American Dream; and thus, it too often clouds the self-image of many who start life with considerable advantages. But an accident of birth is certainly no reason to boast about one’s place in life. A wise man understands “there but for fortune”, and is thankful for his advantages without taking credit for them.
It’s said that a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient; in the same vein, the self-made man has a fool for a maker. A fool believes he alone is responsible for his successes, but blames others for his failures.
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Surely, Eric and Donald Trump believe they’ve earned their position in life … surely they perceive themselves as self-made men … and surely their actions expose their beliefs and self-perceptions as unwarranted. That’s inevitable when in a world filled with myriad beautiful colors, one sees only the color of money.
But money doesn’t come only in green; it also comes in gold, silver, copper, and a host of other colors. And sad to say, it also comes in blood-red and black – as in blood-money and dark-money. No amount of laundering can wash away the blood or the stain from such money.
Lawyers like to say follow the money, and surely Robert Mueller and company are doing exactly that. It will be poetic justice if Trump’s love of money brings him and his spawn down.
©2018 Tom Cordle