PERRY: Wising up to Trump’s Art of the Steal


Donald Trump showed this week that when it comes to being cheap, I am a god, and he is a cunning ass.

Like most of you, maybe all of you, I’ve grown weary of wasting perfectly good synapse fire on thoughts about Trump. Like pretty much every journalist from every reputable newspaper in the country, I have and still go on ad nauseam about why Trump is a horrible candidate for president and an embarrassing American specimen. I find no comfort in pointing out that not a single newspaper has endorsed Trump. Not one. To the contrary, newspapers that haven’t endorsed a Democrat for eons — some not even JFK — have made passionate pleas to their conservative readers to vote for Hillary Clinton. Newspapers like the Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and this week, the Arizona Republic. The Republic, Goldwater’s gold-standard of right-wing publications, pointed out that in the paper’s 126-year history, it has never endorsed a Democrat for president. Ever.

karikatur Donald Trump“Trump mocked a reporter’s physical handicap. Picked a fight with a Gold Star family. Insulted POWs. Suggested a Latino judge can’t be fair because of his heritage. Proposed banning Muslim immigration. Each of those comments show a stunning lack of human decency, empathy and respect. Taken together they reveal a candidate who doesn’t grasp our national ideals.”

And those were the nicest things the Republic had to say about Trump.

I don’t know of a single American newspaper or journalist right now who isn’t actively adding to the list of Trump’s basket of deplorables. Not one. But even though I feel like I’m drowning in how bizarre and utterly contemptible Trump is as a person and a candidate, one thing he’s said has finally stood out.

During the first presidential debate on Monday, while Clinton was clobbering Trump with the fact that he refuses to reveal whatever unseemly things exist in his income tax records, she said it’s possible that Trump fears scrutiny because it would reveal that he doesn’t pay any taxes.

“That would make me smart,” Trump said reflexively.

He’s a freeloader. He’s the worst of the worst. A thief, stealing from poorer people, some of them dirt poor, who pay their taxes. He steals from the very people who admire him. And then he brags that he doesn’t have to, because he’s “smart” enough to find a way to get away with it. He’s the creepy man who sees an old woman drop a fiver while struggling to get on the bus, and keeps it. Worse, he’s the kind of man who brags about it.

Just because tax evasion makes Trump smart doesn’t mean I’m a moron who wants to give away my money to an often wasteful and inefficient government.

I’m as cheap a tightwad as they come, often to the chagrin of my family. I’m never ashamed to ask for discounts, deals, or coupons. When the airline industry came screeching to a halt after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I was first in line for $199 round-trip tickets to Europe. It was nearly an empty plane and my wife cringed when they said we would have to circle London’s Gatwick Airport for a while until someone could convince the military not to shoot us down as a potential threat, but, hey, I just love a deal. But taxes are different. Taxes paid for my kid to go to a stellar public international school in Denver for six years without tuition. Taxes paid for the bulk of the cost of a long string of extraordinary shows I’ve seen at the Aurora Fox, Boettcher Concert Hall, Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Central City Opera, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Taxes pay for pricey snowplows on expensive roads that allow me to play hooky from work on powder days and drink beer after epic sessions of steep and deep. Taxes paid for cancer research that saved my wife’s life when she had breast cancer. Taxes pay the salaries of the cops that hunted down a gunman in my neighborhood and collects the homeless people during blizzards so they don’t freeze to death. Taxes pay for the world’s most fearsome military, which allows me to worry endlessly on trivialities as if they meant something.

I don’t like paying taxes. But I don’t like paying for gas, electricity or windshield washer fluid. But I would never steal it. I’ll stupidly drive for miles to save three-cents a gallon on gas. It’s the American way. It’s Trump’s way to brag about being smart enough to not pay taxes. He’s a thief. And he appeals to like-minded thieves, people looking for something for nothing. Lazy people who want an easy way out. The Art of the Steal. And that’s why a newspaper like the Republic, who embrace conservatism like a dog embraces turkey dinner, are endorsing Clinton and rejecting Trump. His “smart” remark shows how he truly is the worst part of America. No thinking, ethical, rational person wants this embezzler to lead the country. We’re smarter than that.

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