Listen Up! This political junky thought he had seen it all until Donald Trump came on scene – Opinion

Hugh Mackenzie Huntsville Doppler

Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

A Political Observation

True Confession. I am a junkie. Have been since I was about 13 years old. It just kind of happened. I got on the wrong bus one day coming home from U.T.S. in downtown Toronto, where I had just started school. So I jumped off and began to walk home and there in front of me was the political campaign headquarters for a guy named Donald Fleming. I didn’t know him from Adam and I am pretty sure I didn’t know conservative from liberal. But the place was teeming with people and there was red and blue bunting all around and it just looked exciting to this young kid, who wasn’t in a hurry to go home anyway, and so in I went! Soon I was stuffing envelopes, running errands and doing odd jobs. I spent every afternoon after school and weekends there, until election day. I soon found out I was working for a conservative and on election night, when the Conservatives won the election, there I was on the front page of the Toronto Star right beside Donald Fleming, who became Minister of Finance in the Diefenbaker government. I was hooked.

Since then, I have seen it all, or thought I had, until this last year or so. I have been to countless political conventions, watched or attended every political leadership race in the past 50 years of all political stripes, and helped run provincial and federal election campaigns as well as leadership races for two premiers of Ontario. I have worked the back rooms and the front rooms and have seen my fair share of failures and victories. I have come to know people in all major political parties, some of them good friends and very few who were there for the wrong reasons. I am not a total ideologue. I have voted Liberal on occasion. On balance however, I am a Progressive Conservative, although I sometimes wonder if there are many of us left.

All of this is to say I know something about politics through a lifetime of interest both here in Canada and the United States and indeed around the world. And so it was through these eyes that the political junkie part of me watched almost every minute of the Republican and Democratic conventions during the past two weeks. And, no, I have never seen anything like them.

I must admit, during the Republican Convention there were moments when I was pulled toward Donald Trump. I was impressed by his children. They appeared to be well brought up, intelligent, well spoken, and they clearly loved their father. Trump himself pulled at the strings of some issues that are important to me. In many ways his convention was a masterful piece of persuasive showmanship. But then I realized that I was coming close to drinking the Kool-Aid as so many others appear to have done. That was the scary thing.

As I have since sat back and thought about it, I have realized how important it is to remember who Donald Trump really is. I could not think of one positive thing that he stood for, other than his assertion that he and he alone could make America great again. It is all about him. He doesn’t need anyone else and I am sure he looks at having to run with a vice-presidential candidate as a necessary inconvenience.

During the Democratic convention, Michael Bloomberg, himself a media mogul billionaire and a former Mayor of New York, made an oblique reference to Donald Trump’s sanity. That may well be an overstatement, but to me it was a red light blinking. Trump is a man who says one thing one week and the complete opposite the next. He can barely complete a paragraph without saying how great he is or how awful someone else is. He is a bully and he mocks you if you dare criticize him, as he did the reporter with a physical disability or the women he said had blood coming out of her “whatever”. Donald Trump has insulted almost every element of people who exist, with the possible exception of middle-aged white men. He has embraced support from white supremacists, he has insulted women, he has bundled Muslims together in a single radical cult and he has debased Latinos. He has done this most likely because he thinks it gets him votes and sadly, really sadly, he may be right.

Donald Trump invites the Russians to spy on Americans and then says he was just being sarcastic. At the same time he reportedly suggested we would have better relations with the Russians if we accepted their annexation of the Crimea, effectively encouraging them to invade another country. Wasn’t there a guy much like that back in the 1930s? Is this really the type of person we want with his fingers on the nuclear code?

To paraphrase Julius Caesar, I did not write this column to praise Hillary Clinton but rather to bury (politically) Donald Trump. I know that many Americans believe that government in their country is broken and in many aspects they are right. But never has the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’ been more applicable. Donald Trump shows all the signs of a demagogue, if not a despot. He should not become President of the United States. It would be bad for America. It would be bad for Canada, and it would be bad for much of the world. And for the record, this opinion is coming from a Conservative.

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  1. Dale Peacock on

    Good article Hugh! Hopefully many more U.S. conservatives will see right through his bombastic bluster and his cutesy coiffure to the dangerous demagogue he really is.

    It might happen given that some respected sources are now questioning his mental state. Take the example of Trump’s interview with the Washington Post editorial board in March. During that exchange one of the editors asked Trump if he would consider using a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS:

    TRUMP: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…

    RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?

    TRUMP: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?

    He’s said so many baffling things but after this exchange, which has potentially deadly consequences for the world, more people started to ask, “What if he’s not ‘crazy like a fox’ and just mentally unwell”?

    I admire what I see of his children too; one of them needs to commit dad for an evaluation.

  2. Hugh you said it all in your opening line. The political junky thought he had seen it all. Trump isn’t a political junky that is Hilary. Trump Isn’t politically correct and Trump isn’t crazy. “The old saying of walk softly and carry a big stick” still works in the world today. Trump talks about how weak the world sees the U.S. Under Obama and Hilary is merely an inferior clone of him trying for a third term. A greater percentage of Americans feel unsafe under Clinton than Trump. The entire purpose of having nuclear weapons is to show the world we have a big stick, if like the Democrats you continually capitulate with anyone who shows resistance to them the stick shrinks to a twig which is easily broken. Are Trump’s belief in better education, NATO members paying their fair share, health care for all not the chosen ones, employment outside of government jobs paying a good wage and not building a socialist government on the back of small business not what many Americans want? Combine that with feeling safe in your own country and around the world and you have perhaps a winning combination. Will Democratic corruption and deceit rule the day? Time alone will tell.

    • Valerie Corbett on

      John, you scare me!!! I, like Hugh, have watched every second of both conventions, every talking head`s comments and I am still glued to the TV all my waking hours!!! I had come to the conclusion that Trump followers were mostly red necks, driving around in their trucks, with their firearms in their back window. When I see you willing to think this sociopathic, narcissist is suitable to become the President of the USA I wonder how many US citizens agree with you, and that is what scares the hell out of me!!!!

  3. Hugh,
    A truly well written and articulate commentary! It comes out on the same morning as Senator McCain’s attack on Mr Trump for Mr Trump’s small minded response to the Khan family’s denunciation, in view of their Gold Star parent status after a young Muslim American marine (the gold star family’s son) gave his life abroad!
    Hugh Segal

  4. John – you state that a greater percentage of Americans feel unsafe under Clinton than Trump. There is no under yet, John. The proof will be in the pudding as they say and Trump is just too volatile to consider him having the nuclear codes.
    There was a great article in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago that I believe everyone should read. It was written by Trump’s ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal”, Tony Schwartz. It chronicles the effort it took to get any sensible information out of his subject and ends with Trump threatening him.
    Get a hold of that one John!

    • Valerie Corbett on

      Tim, I saw Tony Schwartz interviewed and it was a real eye opener! Problem is Trump`s supporters are not likely to know anything more about him than what he rants about in his speeches. If you saw today`s news there is a rumour that the RNC may be looking into a way to dump him !!!!!

  5. jean bagshaw on

    We must take a serious look at why Mr. “T” has been so successful and has reached so many people. A friend sent me a link to : It was very insightful, saying that he is talking about “trade…destructive free trade, deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands and how he is going to threaten these companies with steep tariffs unless they move back to the U.S.” The author of the article, Thomas Frank, says that, “Trump speaks for the working class millions, for their blighted cities, their downward spiralling lives.”
    It is ironic because I don’t think that Mr. “T” has been known for his benevolence or kindness, to those who are economically challenged, from what I have read.
    Yet the mainstream media does not seem to highlight his contradictions or point out his miss-speaks, to any great extent.
    Rather, they have given him hours and hours of seemingly free coverage and allowed him to stay in the spotlight, no matter what he says or how he behaves.
    Our media should be clearing away the mist of obfuscation, giving the people an unvarnished look at their “hero” and what his past actions tell us.

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