I don't consider myself a very political person. Over the decades, while I always vote, I've never attended a political rally, I don't like to discuss politics, and I typically don't share my thoughts and opinions on politics. But there are just some things I can't keep to myself.
A couple weeks ago, I was watching Meet the Press. Chuck Todd was speaking with several of the candidates, including the 'undisputed Republican front runner', Donald Trump. During his interview with Trump, Todd played a clip from a 2002 episode of the Howard Stern radio show. After the clip, he asked Trump what he'd meant by one of his statements. I'm not even going to get into the details of what Trump said in 2002, because that's not my concern, it's not my point. My concern revolves around what Trump said in 2016.
When Todd asked Trump what he'd meant by that statement, Trump replied
"Well, what I meant by that is that it almost shouldn't have been done..... and you know, I don't even really know what I meant, that was a long time ago, and who knows what was in my head."
Oh sure, people may argue that I'm twisting his words. In fact, as I sat here at my desk composing this post, I began to worry that I had done just that -- so I found the broadcast - the entire, unedited broadcast - and played it back several times. Those are the real words. I've added nothing; I've left nothing out.
Others may argue that I'm taking things out of context, which is precisely why I haven't even shared the subject of the 2002 statement... because it doesn't matter.
Here's my concern. 2002 was 14 years ago. True, it's not 4 years... but it's also not 40 years. I'm not sure I'd consider 14 years "a long time ago"... but let's leave that point alone for the moment. I don't have a problem with people - politicians or otherwise - changing their positions over time. I certainly don't have the same positions and opinions that I did 14 years ago. But that's not what Trump said happened.
And - depending on the importance of the issue - I'm even kind of ok with someone forgetting what they said 14 years ago. While I remember saying "I do" -- far more than 14 years ago -- I certainly don't remember what I ate for breakfast 14 years ago, and I might not remember where I went on vacation 14 years ago, and I might have to take a moment to figure out which car I was driving 14 years ago. But the audio clip was played for Trump. Todd wasn't asking him to remember what he said -- he was providing a clear and unequivocal reminder of what he said.
Donald Trump didn't say that the audio clip was unfair, or was taking things out of context. And he didn't deny making the statement. He said "who knows what was in my head". Well, Mr. Trump, if you don't know what was in your head, you certainly can't expect the rest of us to know.
But it's even worse that that. Any time that someone establishes a time frame, you have to wonder exactly where the line is drawn. As I already pointed out, 14 years is not 4 years, but it's also not 40. But what about 12 years, or 10 years, or even 8 years? Does Mr. Trump know what was in his head 8 years ago? While it's true that less than 1/3 of US presidents are re-elected to a second term... it's certainly possible. And while I have no problem with a president changing his/her mind or changing his/her strategy.. especially if other relevant factors come to light, or available information changes... I do have a problem with the notion of a president who doesn't even know what was in his head, 8 -- or even 14 -- years ago.
Yes, this country has problems. Yes, I would like to see changes. But Mr. Trump -- if you don't know what was in your head a mere 14 years ago... then I most certainly do not want you as head of this country..... ever.
All of this political nonsense has left a bad taste in my mouth. I need a good cup of tea.