In a rather eloquent letter to the Washington Post, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s leading goal scorer, explains to the American public why voting for Donald Trump might not be such a good idea.
In the letter, Abdul-Jabbar covers a range of issues relating to the Trump campaign and tries to explain some of the reasons why he is so popular. He says
“Your passion for Donald Trump, an outsider to governing, is proof that our political system, though sometimes infuriating, is as noble, contradictory and inspiring as America itself.
But can Trump be the champion his supporters really want? Or, once he is elected, will the status quo persist, leaving you disappointed and sheepish about having missed the signs?”
Abdul-Jabbar accurately and with incredible insight pulls apart The Donald as more a symptom of a larger issue with the American democratic process rather than the cure that he portrays himself to be. He, like any sensible person would, doubts Trump’s ability to improve the issues that the populace feel are important.
“His windshield-wiper party affiliation — in 1999 he switched from Republican to independent, then to Democrat in 2001, then to Republican in 2009 — suggests either internal conflict on the issues or blatant pandering.”
Rather than get straight into the specifics of Trump’s policies, or lack thereof, Abdul-Jabbar instead brings to light Trump’s history of flip-flopping between political parties and stances on conservative rhetoric. It’s an interesting point to make. A lot of time has been spent talking about Trump’s various outrageous policies, but Abdul-Jabbar actually makes us remember that Trump probably doesn’t believe in any of the extreme things he says. In fact, he’s more than likely saying exactly what he thinks the American people want to hear to vote for him.
Abdul-Jabbar talks about the National Review’s criticism of Trump and it’s advice to the conservatives voters not to back him. In a fitting analogy about the desire for some conservative voters to back Trump despite the criticism from conservative leaders, Abdul-Jabbar says:
“If you are a Trump supporter who likes the billionaire’s conservatism, ask yourself this question: In what ways were the most articulate and well-known conservatives wrong? To hear their critiques and pretend your candidate still advances your worldview is like being diagnosed with a deadly disease and refusing to listen to the doctors who are specialist in the field because you’re just going to walk it off.”
Abdul-Jabbar then raises the topic of religion, something that The Donald has struggled with during his campaign so far, and something that Conservative voters feel very strongly about. Abdul-Jabbar continues:
“But asked about his favorite Bible verse, Trump was unable to recall any. ‘I wouldn’t want to get into it, because to me that’s very personal,” he said. Was he an Old Testament or a New Testament guy? “Probably equal,’ he replied. An odd statement for an avowed Christian.”
It’s clear that Trump lacks an even basic knowledge of scripture, but instead of taking the bold step of perhaps admitting that religion doesn’t play a major role in his life, he does what he does best, fakes it using bluster and theatrics. Abdul-Jabbar is right when he says:
“Americans are smart, and they appear to harbor no illusions about Trump’s piety.”
Abdul-Jabbar then moves on to tackle the bluster behind the Trump campaign and just how easy it is to mistake uninformed nonsense for toughness when it’s shouted loudly and confidently.
“Trump claimed he would rid the world of the Islamic State by ‘bombing the s— out of them.’ That’s the way we like our Clint Eastwoods to solve problems. The problem is that, to be tough, you actually have to know how to win. Steeliness without strategy is just bluster.”
Leave it to a legendary basketball player to provide what is probably the most accurate and honest account of Donald Trump’s run for Presidency that we’ve seen so far. Abdul-Jabbar does not rise to the bait of mocking Trump outright, instead he very carefully and very skillfully picks apart the bluster and nonsense that The Donald is so good at dishing out.
If you’re not considering voting for Trump, or maybe you are, or even if you’re in two minds, read the rest of the letter. In fact, regardless of who you are or where you sit on the political fence, read it. It’s definitely worth your time for the insightful prose and delicate way Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is able to unravel the web Trump has been so adept at spinning.