America Needed a Trump. Now It Needs to Let Him Go

For all his lumbering bluster, Donald Trump has done all of this for all of us. His work is done now. We can take it from here.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016.
Carolyn Kaster, AP

A Muslim-American woman walks into a bookstore. She has brought her two daughters for a children's' event at a Boston-area Barnes and Noble.

A man about to turn 90 walks up to them, remarks how beautiful the children are, and conveys "a heartfelt apology for the general anti-Muslim sentiment in our society today," the woman, Leena al-Arian, recalled Saturday in a Facebook post.

Leena al-Arian Facebook post on a Jewish man who apologized for the anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S.
Screencapture

"He had tears in his eyes and told me that it must be so hard to turn on the news, that he feels awful about the bigotry my kids might one day experience, and that as a Jewish man whose parents didn't speak any English growing up, he personally understands what it feels like to be rejected and discriminated against."

In an exchange which has since gone viral, the elderly man, whose name is Lenny, "wanted to reassure me that most Americans are decent people who don't hate people like me or believe what they hear on the news."

In the peculiar spirit of the bass-ackward time we are now rubbing our eyes and living through, we have Donald Trump to thank for this story.

America sorely needed a man like Donald Trump. Only someone so literally outrageous could have ignited the long, long overdue conversation America is now having with itself.

Ask people from outside America, and they'll tell you straight: There are mountains of topics which Americans have been culturally, constitutionally loath to look at head on.

Raised to keep certain things to themselves, to avert their eyes and close their mouths with a thin, unwavering smile, Americans weren't about to tell strangers, or even many friends, about the fires burning away in their hearts.

That's where Trump came  in. That why we needed him.

Only someone as breathtakingly nasty, self-consumed,  babyish in his insecurity, deafening in his hatred, could have forced us to address crucial issues that had been long kicked down the road, out of view.

Trump's insensitivity is a slap so impossible to ignore, that it has caused an entire nation to feel for the pain of families bereaved by a loved one fallen in war - whatever their religion or ethnicity or color.

His bigotry is so overwhelming, so all-encompassing, that we have become newly sensitive to ridicule and dismissal of the disabled.

His misogyny is so locker-room pathetic, that it has helped place issues like equal pay for equal work front and center.

His concern for injury to others rings so obviously bogus, that we have come to look more broadly, more clearly, in trying to understand what families go through when their loved ones are at lethal risk merely for going out the door, whether the risk factor is the color of their skin, or the wearing of a badge.

His callous, effortless dismissal of John McCain's military record has prompted a reconsideration of how America treats and in many cases maltreats the veterans of recent and continuing wars.

His blanket slurs against immigrants and their children have prompted a new appreciation for the importance of the foreign-born in the building of America and its strength going forward.

His spluttering Islamophobia in the face of the dignity and sacrifice of the Khan family, have caused many to reexamine their own prejudices against Muslims.

His promises to Rust Belt families of a quick fix for job loss, factory relocations overseas, and a depressed economy ring hollow, but they have focused national attention on a heartland region whose needs have gone poorly addressed for years.

His comprehensive ignorance of the Constitution - in particular, his beliefs that Americans have no (First Amendment) right to criticize him, and that American-born children of non-citizens have no right to education, or, for that matter, to automatic citizenship (14th), have rekindled interest in a document that does not begin and end with the right to bear firearms.

In response to Trump, a political party which needed to look at America's pressing concerns more realistically, has begun to do so. And  a party which needed to be inspired by love of country, has found itself inspired.

Finally, the specter of a Trump presidency has opened a long-avoided discussion of a particular expression of  white privilege.

"I’m black, and I have four black sons," Pastor Ray Shawn McKinnon, a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic Convention, told  Vox.com.

"A lot of white liberals don’t understand that they have the privilege of a protest vote that will hurt the people they purport to stand for — black people, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and so many people who will be affected adversely if Trump wins."

"If they stay home or vote for a third party — particularly in swing states — these folks are gambling with real lives. Because here’s the reality: They won’t be affected by the fallout. Their privilege will inoculate them to it, but minorities won’t be. I don’t understand how they could not see that."

For all his lumbering bluster, Donald Trump has done all of this for all of us. His work is done now. We can take it from here.

We need to give him three months notice.

Come election day, November 8, we need to tell him to gather his things. We have no choice. We need to let him go.