A note to Trump: That wasn’t nice

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Politics is not my thing. Listening to candidates bash each other and rant about stuff is not something I enjoy. I think it doesn’t do much to advance society, either.

Yes, at times I comment on something on social media or share a post I like related to politics. However, I try to be quiet in public because most of the time discussing politics or religion is not a great idea.

That said — Donald Trump is hard to ignore. I’ve tried to keep an open mind where he is concerned, but seriously, what is his deal? Is he for real or is he playing us in service of advancing his own agenda, which is probably about getting more money?

Most of what I’ve heard or read about him, I’ve let pass because, well, it’s politics and that is usually not a nice game. Then came the story about him making fun of a handicapped reporter.

Oh, I know he says he didn’t do it, doesn’t know what the man looks like, and would never do something so awful. Yet, other people, including the reporter, say Mr. Trump does know him, and has met him in person. Again, more political jabbering.

Still, it seems an odd coincidence this presidential candidate chose gestures and facial expressions that seem to exactly mimic how this reporter moves because of his disability. Could that be an accident?

And, if it wasn’t an accident or an unhappy coincidence, then Mr. Trump is not being truthful in his denial. That doesn’t seem like a good thing coming from a person running for president.

Of course, this hits close to home because I have a child with a disability and sometimes her actions in public make that disability very obvious. I know the looks and on a few occasions, I’ve heard the whispered comments.

Navigating life when you are not like everyone else because of a disability is not easy. The world in general is not always kind to those who appear to be different.

So, even if Mr. Trump did not intentionally make fun of this reporter, he had an opportunity to do something positive when the story hit the news. He could have chosen to apologize for actions that might have hinted at being unkind. He had a chance to speak out about the importance of understanding, tolerance and kindness. He blew a perfect opportunity to be an advocate for the disabled.

That was not what he chose. Instead, he went on the attack accusing the reporter of using his disability to “grandstand” and demanding an apology for himself. He did his best to make himself the victim, which seems to be his go-to reaction.

Today, I watched a video that talked about the ripples we create in the world with our words and actions. It compared them to how the ripples move from the center when you drop a pebble into a still pond.

All of us make ripples every day. Most of them are small and don’t draw a lot of attention. Still, even small ripples create and touch and perhaps change lives.

People like Donald Trump toss boulders into still waters because of the attention they get from the media. Their ripples move with force and reach many more shores.

For that reason, he should be mindful of what he creates and how a seemingly cruel taunt of someone with a disability might do a great deal of harm. Again, even if it was unintentional, he had a chance to turn those ripples from negative to positive. He did not take it.

As I said, I don’t like politics because I don’t feel great after listening to or discussing anything political. Mr. Trump cemented those feelings with his over-the-top, ego-driven campaigning.

If I could say one thing to him about his latest antics, I’d quote what I read a young boy with autism said when he saw the “Donald’s” gestures and comments about the reporter.

“That wasn’t nice.”

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.