“Grief is the price of love.” Let's stop wondering why Trump feels nothing.
In the "Modern Love" section of today's New York Times, there's a piece by Jared Misner, a writer in Charlotte, N.C. It's called "My Best Friend Is Gone, and Nothing Feels Right," and though it's a lament that has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times since March (and of course for all time) its poignancy rests upon the almost granular detail that constituted the friendship. Like our friendships. And our losses.
"Grief is the price of love" his husband tells Misner him by way of consolation. It helps.
As I read the piece, I kept harking back to a common complaint: the inability of the president to feel anything of depth for all those who have perished under his watch. It's foolish to believe that he doesn't know the numbers, but it's just as foolish to believe that he, in any way but the most mathematical, grasps their significance. How could he? He doesn't read, he watches only those who coddle him, and he corresponds by tweet where the only filter is the speed of his fingers; and the only rebuttals can be summarily ignored. He wouldn't "get" Misner's piece. He lacks the emotional depth to understand what loss really means. Remember his comment on the death of Herman Cain who likely contracted Covid-19 at the Tulsa Trump rally?
"Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend."
A greeting-card sentiment for someone who died, whom he considered a friend, but about whom he didn't know a damn thing. If that's all Trump could say about "a very special man," how can we expect him to feel anything for 210,000 names on a list, all of whom went to early graves because he was worried about the economy and its effect on his re-election? He bartered their lives for money—grief is not part of the equation.
There can't be empathy without a genuine love for other people, and that love cannot exist in a heart ruled by hatred, vindictiveness, and an insatiable and interminable desire for revenge. While close to a thousand Americans a day die from the pandemic, he continues to stalk past foes, past presidents, and enemies as if there is nothing more pressing.
Ask most Americans what occupies their waking hours these days, and the answers will run the gamut from enough money to clothe and feed their kids, to a worry that the place where they work can no longer sustain itself, to the fear that we'll all be spending our holidays alone. Most don't give a damn about the Clintons, Obama, Wray, or Whitmer. They've spent their so-called tax breaks and they're fearful that health insurance will disappear. Covid-19 dominates our lives—decides where we go, how we get there, and when. It even judges whom we can see.
Donald Trump's little offhand remark about not letting it dominate our lives makes perfect sense coming from someone who cannot feel, cannot weep, cannot mourn.
Grief is the price of love. We get that. We know Joe Biden gets that. Herman Cain's wife of 52 years, Gloria, gets that, as I would think do the Cain children Melanie and Vincent and his four grandchildren. Trump didn't mention any of them in his half-baked remembrance. He feels no grief because he feels no love. At this point we are foolish to expect anything more.