The old expression, “Where Shall I Begin?” comes to mind. But I think we should not take the easy shot here. It would be helpful, and perhaps insightful, to examine what we think of the new president-elect in the context of Buddhist teachings, at least as we understand both of them. Or perhaps better to admit that we do not really understand either, but why let that stop us from engaging in comparative thinking? Note that I did not title the piece “What’s Wrong with Trump. Period.” I really think we should return to the basic question.
But even from a purely sociological or political perspective, I would submit that the trouble with Trump does not only consist in the litany of his behaviors and misbehaviors of body, mouth and mind (the “Three Actions” of Buddhism), as portrayed in the media, though there is plenty to criticize and complain about there. The problem, as I see it, is captured by a quote from the famous cartoon Zen master, Pogo the Possum: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” (Full disclosure: I started a Pogo club celebrating Walt Kelly’s creation in high school, and wrote a column about Pogo’s wisdom in the school newsletter).
In other words, the reaction of others to now-POTUS Trump’s antics is the problem, and hints at the potential solution. As soon as his competitors in the primaries began reacting to what he said and did, either in opposite of like fashion, they were doomed. As soon as Hillary began to run her campaign as a commentary on his, she had lost the battle. You don’t con a con man.