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Happy birthday to me. And to trump


Today is the monster’s birthday—the catastrophe in the White House. He was born in New York City on Friday, June 14, 1946, which makes him 74 years old. Many other New Yorkers were born on that same day, but one in particular interests me: Me. Yes, Steve Heimoff was born in The Bronx, at 6:10 a.m., on June 14, 1946; trump was born a few hours later, at 10:54 a.m. While trump (I no longer capitalize his name) was born across the East River, in Queens, I think we probably share pretty much the same horoscope.

I am not a believer in astrology. I used to be, back in the day; in fact, when I was an undergraduate at Clark University, in the mid-1960s, I wrote an astrology column for the university paper called Swami Heimy Predicts. But a long time ago I decided that all these pseudo-sciences are ridiculous.

At the same time, I feel I have an insight into trump’s thinking process. I can tell you a few things: Both of us are smart; we think a lot; that’s the nature of Geminis. We both have rather schizoid personalities—Gemini is the sign of the Twins, so we tend to see things from multiple points of view. We both are easily hurt and insulted; we tend to take things personally. We both have an exquisite ability to rationalize, which can make it hard for us to deal with truth. We both tend to be paranoid, tending to divide people into our friends and our enemies. And we both are very good with words.

In my case, my double personality makes me indecisive. I find it hard to take a position: whenever I try, I’m immediately aware of the opposite. This makes life difficult, but I appreciate this tendency, since it keeps me from being a rigid ideologue. In 1968, that year of explosive political developments in America, when the students at Clark University took over the campus (following the lead of the students at Columbia), my best friend and I bought black and white tubes of theatrical paint, colored our faces right down the middle, and tried to tell the students that both sides had facts on their side, and the best way to get through this was to reason together, as the Prophet Isaiah urged.

This dualistic vision has always kept me from being an extremist. While my politics, influenced by my mother, tend towards Democratic liberalism and European-style social justice, I’ve never been an ardent leftist. I’d describe my current politics as Obama-esque.

trump has gone another way. I can feel the inside of his brain. That sounds scary, but it’s useful. I see the Gemini influence in him, but I also see the worst parts. For some reason I can’t explain, trump has decided not to listen to the side of him that seeks balance and equilibrium, the way I do. Not for him “on the one hand…on the other.” Instead, he’s gone full-bore rightwing infantryman. The ideology he has chosen is the neo-fascist, Christian extremist version of authoritarian theocracy. I could never accept a theocracy; it’s too unthinking, too unintellectual, and doesn’t allow for the full expression of human nature. Regarding the tendency towards paranoia, I have it, but at the same time, I understand that not everyone who disagrees with me is against me personally. trump doesn’t have that ability; if you’re not 100% with him, you’re 100% against him, and thus his enemy.

It may be that the main difference between us—besides the economic disparity, of course—is that I’m Jewish. Jews like me were raised to value “Justice rolling down like waters, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” This is why we have always sided with the oppressed minorities, since we, ourselves, were oppressed minorities. Trump, born into a rich, Protestant family, was never oppressed, never a minority. I can’t imagine what that feels like, but I like to think that even if I had been born rich, I would have had a feeling for minorities. JFK was born to an immensely rich family, as was his brother Bobby, but both had extraordinary sympathy for the under-privileged. For whatever reason, trump doesn’t. Maybe it was his father’s Ku Klux Klan membership; maybe trump was fed racist, white supremacist messages since babyhood. I don’t know, but of all presidents in my lifetime—13 and counting—trump is the least caring, the most selfish of the lot.

By the way, as you all know Trump is traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for his first mega-rally of the campaign season, and officials are expecting hundreds of thousands of Republicans to hear him. We can assume that few of them, if any, will be wearing face masks, and obviously, they will not be socially-distancing. Given that Oklahoma is experiencing its highest spike of COVID-19 yet, with cases soaring, one might expect, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that a lot of those Republicans will come down with the disease. I’m not saying that makes me happy, but if they do, they have only themselves to blame.

My mother was born in Oklahoma—her parents settled there before it was a state–and grew up there. I have relatives in Oklahoma. Back in the day, Oklahoma was reliably Democratic. Now it’s one of the reddest, most conservative states in the country, a phenomenon I attribute to a lack of formal education in the part of Oklahomans. Oklahoma has one of the nation’s highest school dropout rates and a correspondingly low rate of college degrees (44th out of 50 states). These statistics are related to the high numbers of born-again Christians in Oklahoma: a full 47% of adult Oklahomans self-identify as evangelicals, making it #3 of the list (after Alabama and Kentucky) of the most evangelical states. Evangelicals, of course, loathe public education, which they think is satanic; they prefer home schooling, based on their Bible. When my mom was a little girl, Oklahoma wasn’t like that; my mom grew up educated and smart and willing to learn, which made her—and me–liberal. Something hideous happened to Oklahoma in the 1960s and 1970s, and one can only assume that the lack of education makes Oklahomans particularly susceptible to the superstitions and bigotries of the Christian-trump cult.

Well, happy birthday, trump. Enjoy it while you can. Your future looks bleak. You’re about to be repudiated by the American people, and when you’re out of office, the lawsuits—civil and criminal—are going to come at you like the lies you tell, bam bam, all the time. We’re going to find out how much money you really have, which you’re going to have to spend on lawyers. You may or may not be able to stay out of bankruptcy and jail. But you’ll be on T.V. a lot; like those documentaries on Hitler’s last days in the bunker, we’ll follow your slow, painful demise.

  1. Robin Renken says:

    “And we both are very good with words.”. Bwaa has haa. Thank you for the morning belly laugh. I always enjoy your writing.
    Oh and Happy Birthday

  2. Thank you!

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