Thursday’s debate reminded me of a 2017 conversation with a friend. I complained that Mr. Trump was (as James Comey would later say “untethered to truth.” My friend said, “He’s a puffer.” My puzzled look prompted her explanation: “He’s a salesman.” (With apologies to everyone in sales, including my late father, I see her point.)
Many times during the past four years, my cynical self thought Mr. Trump’s book should have been The Art of the Con. My diplomatic self would suggest instead The Art of the Sale. There’s a fine line between exaggeration and falsehood, the blurring of which Mr. Trump has developed into an art form, as, ironically, he rails against “fake news” and “hoaxes.”
I wish Mr. Trump’s statements that we are “turning the corner” on the coronavirus were truthful. We’re not there yet, in part because he has not embraced or exemplified the importance of masks and social distancing. I’m trying to move past my many selves (O’Connor), my false self (Merton) and my separate self (Rohr), so I can live into my true self (Keating).
Beyond a “deal,” or a “con,” or a “sale,” my true self wants for Mr. Trump what I want for you, for me, and for everyone–healing. I won’t try to diagnose the president. Suffice it to say that we all need healing. I wish for him healing (as my friend Joe Elmore would say) “at the point of his deepest need.” Each of us, and our country as a whole, needs the art of the heal.