Letter to the editor: Who is harming whom?

Ivo Soljan

Editor’s note: Ivo Soljan is a professor in Grand Valley State University’s Department of English. The opinions expressed in this piece are Soljan’s own. 

This is my comment on the Lanthorn’s March 26 column “We’re harming more than just the president,” written by Shae Slaughter. I find her column very confusing, and I intend to take issue with a number of her opinions and claims expressed in it. 

First, speaking stylistically, it is one of those awkward and inconsistent compositions, “drowning” in constant and repetitive controversies that can be described, with a measure of irony, as “Yes … but …” and “Of course … However …” Such a style makes the reader giddy and unsure of the ultimate ideological and moral position of the author, unless one is quite skillful in reading between the lines. Thus, in no less than seven or eight instances in her short column, Shae uses, and is the victim of, this unfortunate style, which results in an unsavory mix of moral and political criticism and the repetitive “justification” of Trump’s, more than constantly reprehensible, behavior.

I would also totally disagree with the word “harming” (the president), in Shae’s column, for it is absolutely clear that the only person who has been, and is, gravely harming himself, and his family, is Donald Trump himself, a foulmouthed, disrespectful, lying bully, who has been harming himself and numerous other people, Americans and the globally distributed ones, by his overall arrogant and offensive behavior, not only against his ideological opponents (“Crooked Hilary,” “Lock her up!” etc.), but also against his own GOP colleagues in the primaries, calling them all sorts of ugly names and wildly offending their families, wives and children. To all this wild and uncivilized behavior, his “loyal” and gladiatorial base was howling with blood-thirsty satisfaction and glee. Thus, in contrast with Shae’s central and, in fact, only argument, Donald Trump does not deserve any “mercy,” and his shamefully exploitative family (Ivanka, Donald Jr., poor Eric, his son-in-law, Kushner), who are all a sick example of the unprecedented nepotism, a politically criminal activity, in the entire USA history, deserve nothing better. Instead of following in the muddy footsteps of their father, father-in-law and husband, these creatures, who are, justifiably, filling the pages of the U.S. serious, and gossip, magazines and are making the vast majority of Americans sick and tired of the never-ending White House and Russian scandals, fed to us on TV screens, should have apologized to the American people for the totally uncontrollable behavior of their beloved “patriarch” and their collusion with him.

This current, sad and tragi-comic White House and U.S. Government (the Congress) story will reach its logical conclusion and end, but, unfortunately, not before a great harm, caused by Trump and his collaborators, has been done to this beautiful and once much greater country than it is today. We have to be patient and, as Voltaire has put it, “to cultivate our own garden.” This lovely land cannot be as much destroyed, by the selfish and destructive forces, as much as it can be renewed and made truly great by the huge, preponderant masses of good and constructive Americans, those already full citizens and those who will join us, as productive and happy immigrants, our sisters and brothers. In spe!