I had crossed the street and was looking for a chalk drawing. “It’s a creative piece of sidewalk art,” a man on the opposite sidewalk called to me. Instead, I found human poop with a little white “TrumpDump” flag on it. About five feet away was a flat stool, a bright shoe print, and a small white flag that read “Dr. Oz.” The message: Donald Trump is a lump [I can’t use that word here]: the useless, dirty, toxic, disease-spreading substance that remains when everything good and useful is removed.
Some normal people despise and wash out of human society as fast as possible. He is not. Neither did Oz. Neither did his followers. None are completely poisonous and impure and only fit for disposal.
Every man is a man, no matter how bad a man he is. This is the truth, too many people, haters on the right and left, are in denial. It just makes the world angrier. Depopulating your political enemies won’t stop them from doing what you don’t want them to do.
Everyone understands how wrong it is to abandon the humanity of others. Just look at people who are dehumanized by other people and you see their humanity. Like “Criminals,” the Oz commercials are kind enough to scare you into voting against John Fetterman. Or death row inmates who might seem too monstrous to live until you learn something about their lives. For example, many were victims of horrific childhood abuse or mental struggles or lives that pushed them into violent crime the way a child might be pushed down a slide.
You see they are people. They deserve mercy, compassion, and care. Moreover, they are decidedly us. As they say, there, but by God’s grace (or luck). They must not be washed away by human society. If this is true of people whose humanity you see when others do not, then it is also true of those whose humanity you do not see but others do. As one of our greatest writers and cultural observers said, “I am convinced that I am a child of God.
It is wonderful, exhilarating, liberating, full of promise. But the burden that comes with it is that I am convinced that all are children of God. Explosives and fanatics. Criminals and thugs are also children of God.” Not a pleasant belief. He continued: “And this is my heavy burden as a practicing Christian, to try to remember that and not grind my teeth until they break into little stumps.”
This was Maya Angelou, the author of “I Know Why the Kaged Bird Sings” among many other deeply human and humanistic works, she suffered much more from the evil of people than me or many of you.
Yet he stood still to remember—as hard as he could—that even a stupid grumbling, hateful little racist, the kind of person called the scum or [scum] of society, was just as much a god as he was. As human as he was. Observant Christians and Jews have divine reason to believe in the humanity of every human being. Their creation story – God created man in his own image and declared the first humans good – tells them that.
Other religions say the same thing. But even a general belief in humanism presupposes a belief in the basic humanity of all other people. I am not (I must say past experience has shown) a fan of Trump. By normal human standards, he is a terrible person. But he is not what the sidewalk art claimed him to be. Neither did Oz. Neither did his followers.
The disturbing truth is that you and I are more like Donald Trump than anyone would like to believe: too concerned with ourselves and what we can get, too limited in the people we care about, too likely to treat others as tools and objects , and too careless of the truth.
As a kind of cultural beacon, he makes universal human flaws disturbingly obvious. And one of its obvious flaws is talking about people as if they weren’t people. The best and most useful response to Trump is to try to be less like him.
By caring more about others and less about yourself, expanding the number of people to whom you give special friendship, trying to see others more as fellow human beings than as objects, and telling the truth when you lie, you will get what you get. better. want and say the truth will cost you. And refuse to dehumanize others.
Fight him with all available political means. But don’t treat him like poop on the sidewalk. We have too little faith in humanity as it is.
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