With the rise of Donald Trump many on the Left, like myself, have been hoping and praying that successful business folks of our particular political bent need to try to get to get close to him, to get in his ear. But there seems to be a belief among Trump's critics, and though I am a critic I do not share this belief, that to get close to Trump is like coming into the gaze of the Medusa, turning anyone into stone, or maybe dumb as a stone, or maybe just a stone-thrower...
When Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, announced he would be departing Trump's economic advisory board the other day, under severe pressure from peers and employees, and a loss of 200,000 subscribers, it became clear the Left will simply not allow any engagement with the new President beyond opposition. This is a 'Uuuuge' mistake.
I have a little familiarity with Chinese culture. There is nothing worse that can happen to a Chinese person than to be ascribed an "outsider," to be without friends or kin. Why? Not as a matter of pride or dependence on incessant socializing, but because they understand the inter-connectivity of society, that without some connection to that network, one is helpless to accomplish anything. It is probably why communism, which has failed miserably most everywhere else, has been much better to the Chinese (not that I am personally a supporter of communism!).
When you Google "Trump Malleable" you get page after page of articles and opinions for or against an aspect of Trump's personality that seems well-known and accepted - he is not an ideologue, he is malleable. By now, this should be clear to everyone. Well, you can't form clay if you're not within distance to put your hands on it, and we're not going to influence Trump by standing at a distance and shouting at him to stop doing whatever someone else has convinced him to do.
When I was a younger man, in the NYC area, I remember hearing Trump on the Howard Stern radio show. He was pretty much a regular. He was very different from the man we think we see today. On Thursday, Stern, who knows the President well, said of Trump to CNN...
"I personally wish that he had never run, I told him that, because I actually think this is something that is gonna be detrimental to his mental health too, because, he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved," Stern said. "He wants people to cheer for him."
"I don't think it's going to be a healthy experience. And by the way, he's now on this anti-Hollywood kick. He loves Hollywood. First of all, he loves the press. He lives for it. He loves people in Hollywood. He only wants hobnob with them. All of this hatred and stuff directed towards him. It's not good for him. It's not good."
The key there is "he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved," and it's not something new said of Trump. He can see his conservative moves just anger people and fail. He will see this continue. If we are going to avert another Great Recession or Great Depression, or worse, people on the Left, people with popular heft and power, need to get in Trump's ear, and we need to trust them and support them in their efforts, not shout at them for trying.