In the games men play, Donald Trump has consistently defined himself as a winner. It’s what suits him most to the presidency, he has said.
But what does it mean to be a winner? In the scriptural readings for Mass this past Sunday, both the Book of Ecclesiastes and Jesus warn against those who build up material wealth with either no concern for their spiritual development or the reality that someday what is yours now will belong to someone else.
Trump, of course, would not see himself in this admonition. He says he has sacrificed much, because he employs thousands upon thousands of people.
But can such a sacrifice be compared to that of Capt. Humayun Khan, the Muslim-American soldier who was killed on June 8, 2004 in the early days of the Iraq War protecting his unit from a suicide car bomber? “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friend,” Jesus says. Khan, who taught swimming to disabled children as a high school student, saw others as “friend,” whether he knew them intimately or not. He exemplified philios, the highest form of love to the ancient Greeks. He exemplified what Jung called “the individuated ego,” “the integrated self,” the person who has integrity, a healthy ego, who is all-of-a-piece and thus can afford to put others first.
Now Trump – trailing Hillary Clinton by six points in the polls – is locked in a war of words with the late soldier’s parents, saying that Khizr Khan’s electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention was in effect a put-up job and suggesting that the reason Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the convention was because of Islam’s restrictions on women. Or so people are saying, the Donald added. (Remember: He doesn’t actually criticize. He just passes along other people’s comments.)
Never mind that the Khans emigrated from Pakistan, whose past leaders number a woman, Benazir Bhutto. What’s important to Trump is that he was “viciously attacked” by Khizr Khan, who said at the convention that Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one.”
And yet, Trump has ridiculed women and his opponents, even implicating the father of one (Ted Cruz) in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. (Or so he heard. Or so he read.) But still, he is the one who has been “viciously attacked.”
Can you be a winner when you’re putting such thin skin in the game?