By Susan Harper

Dear Donald Trump: Does anyone ever call you “Don”? I always thought ‘The Donald’ was an awful nickname for you, but ‘The Don’ has that macho/Mafioso sound, and you do cultivate a tough-guy image -- although sometimes you remind me of the gay man in “The Bird Cage” who tries to walk like John Wayne! I’m not sure the tough-guy thing is you. You’re more refined, more effete under that bluster: more frat-boy than cowboy, perhaps.

You’ve been having a tough time lately. When the Washington Post asked what became of the $6 million you said you’d raised for our military veterans back in January, it awakened a sleeping giant: the Media! Journalists thought they smelled blood in the water, and they came after you. Yet you had already dispensed over $3 million to vets’ groups. Besides, some of the pledged donations never came in. You had to toss in $1 million right then and there to fulfill your own pledge, just to shut them up! And it still didn’t add up to $6 million.

Then the whole Trump University class-action lawsuit got blown out of proportion. That judge was so “unfair,” to use your word. (And “Mexican,” to use your other word.) He released the testimony of people who’d enrolled in Trump U. and now say they never learned anything. I bet they just didn’t study! And you didn’t mean anything bad when you called the judge Mexican. You think very highly of Mexicans. After all, they’re going to build the wall to keep themselves out of our country, right? And they’re going to pay for the whole thing! Truly a remarkable people.

With these dust-ups happening, a lesser mortal would’ve taken a day off. Much of the country was fixated on the little boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla enclosure, so you probably could have tiptoed offstage and joined your wife for a brief rest. But you are not one to take advantage of a lucky break when you have scores to settle. The Media had been awful to you; this was no time to let yourself be upstaged by a gorilla. So you held a press conference and told those journalists what you thought of them. They were “dishonest,” “sleazy,” and among the worst human beings you’d ever met! I ask you, how many political figures are that bold? That brave? That honest?

So what happened to top off the week? Hillary Clinton took your words and quoted them back to her audience in a mocking way that made them laugh at you, and wonder about you. She called you “temperamentally unfit to be President,” said you were “thin-skinned and quick to anger” — someone who “lashes out at the smallest criticism” — and asked, “Do we want his finger anywhere near the [nuclear] button?”

Luckily, you had a major speech scheduled for just a few hours later: a perfect chance to prove her wrong. But you were in John Wayne mode and wasted no time in shooting back at “Crooked Hillary,” calling her speech “pathetic” and saying, “She has to go to jail.” I’m not sure it occurred to you that you were proving her right. But beyond that, there was something about the way you were screaming, your voice an octave higher than usual — something about your rage, and your jarringly delicate gestures — that triggered an old, dark memory for this child of World War II. It was as if a long-buried shadow had risen from its grave and now threatened to walk the world again, once more empowered to destroy. I couldn’t look — and couldn’t stop looking.

Susan Harper is a retired editor, lecturer, and local library director who currently serves on the Jackson County and Piedmont Regional library boards.

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