Donald Trump despises Intelligence. Not the lower-case kind. We already knew that. But he also despises the upper-case type as im, our Intelligence Agencies.
As Talking Points Memo reported:
During an interview with Fox News, Trump was asked about his upcoming intelligence briefing and whether he does "trust intelligence."
"Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. Look what's happened over the last ten years. Look what's happened over the years. It's been catastrophic," he said in response. "And in fact, I won't use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them. Very easy to use them, but I won't use them because they've made such bad decisions."
Here are few stories from real-life non-political scenarios to put just how assinine this attitude is into perspective.
When I was a kid, I came home from school one day and settled down to watch TV. Much to my surprise, the TV was broken.
My younger brother had "fixed" it. In his eight-year-old wisdom, he'd determined that the obvious problem with the TV getting a snowy picture was a dirty tube. (This was a long time ago.) So, how do you fix a dirty tube? You wash it. And the easiest way to wash it was to pour a pitcher of water down the back.
With it on.
No more T.V.
Back in the early 90s, I lived in Rochester, Minnesota and worked at IBM testing hard drives. The job consisted of plugging them into "testers" (computers that did all the work) and waiting for them to finish. It was not complicated.
There were several stations a hard drive had to go through before it passed, and we would have two people on a station. Since it was otherwise slow work, we'd spend a lot of time chatting with whomever we were assigned to work with on a given shift.
There was one guy we called "Readers Digest." That's because he was a self-proclaimed expert on everything, even if he only had a cursory knowledge on the subject. One night he was telling another of our co-workers what he'd learned from this Readers Digest article he'd read.
I don't recall the details, but I do recall it was about psychology, and it was what the girl he was "teaching" had done her Masters dissertation at the University of Minnesota on. When she tried subtly correcting him on some of the details, he'd get bothered and say, "That's not what the article said!"
In his mind, he was the equal of the person who'd done a Master's dissertation on a topic he'd read a Readers Digest article about.
I have a big dog. She's an Anatolian Shephard mix, and she's very protective.
When I watch TV, she likes to lay down in front of me and chew a bone or take a nap. But every once in a while, a doorbell will ring on the TV.
And immediately, Honey Bears will spring into action, racing for the door woofing her deep-bass woof that would scare away any "burglar" that deigned come around, even if it was just on the TV.
One night, for kicks, I would wait until she calmed down, then I'd rewind it to the doorbell ring and watch her repeat the whole display. After about four or five times, she glared at me like, "Daddy! Stop that!"
So what does any of this have to do with Donald Trump?
Donald Trump wants to fix our metaphorical national TV by dumping water down the back of it. He has the same "thirst" for knowledge and "confidence" in what he knows as "Readers Digest" did. And he is just as eager to rescue us from threats--real or fake--as my dog.
When these tendencies are an eight-year-old kid or a dog, they're cute. When it's just "that guy" you used to work with (or still do), it's comically annoying.
When it's a man who might have the nuclear football, it's downright terrifying. These three things: willful ignorance, a despising of knowledge or desire to learn, and an eagerness to act on that ignorance have no business being near the White House.
And while this time of the election cycle, such rhetoric might seem like typical hyperbole; in Trump's case, it's not.
The Donald has decided that the US Intelligence agencies can't be trusted, that they don't know what they're doing, and if he's elected President, he'll ignore them.
When I heard this, it really, genuinely pissed me off. I honestly can't think of a thing more offensive I've ever heard a politician say.
When I was in the military, I was stationed at an Air Force Base that collected intelligence. My father, who retired with the State Department, worked with and reviewed that intelligence. I know someone who missed his daughter's birth while he was literally in the Middle East covertly gathering intelligence.
I don't mean "sacrifice by supplying jobs" like Trump. I mean, say the wrong thing and your head is getting sawed off in an online video.
But Trump knows better. People are walking on the brink of death, night and day, to save American lives, and Trump is ready to cavalierly dismiss it with an arbitrary wave of his tiny hand.
This "intelligence" is real. It's actual people with real lives--not just the things that fill up our days but actual physical lives--put at risk to gather that intelligence. Now we have this self-aggrandizing, extremity-challenged, self-indulgent, narcissistic orange man who is going to determine that he just happens to know better.
As though whatever random, hate-filled drivel trickles through his oxygen-challenged brain is on par with actual reality.
Without any substance or the slightest clue what he's talking about, he's ready to set aside every sacrifice those men and women have made because somehow, he knows better.
As if that's not bad enough, he has this insatiable curiosity about nuclear weapons--but only using them. He doesn't even have the curiosity to Google nuclear triad to actually learn.
How long before he does use them on some imagined threat? How much voice will the intelligence community get? And what is the greater hazard, his reaction to fake dangers or his unwillingness to entertain the real ones?
Donald Trump is the "Readers Digest" of American politics, and he has no more business being President of the United States than an eight-year-old TV repairman or my overly excitable dog.
Trump, though, won't acknowledge that. But sure has heck should.