Sometimes you just have to be the bad guy. It’s not that you want to be the bad guy. You don’t relish in having to deny something from someone who means so much to you, and to whom that something means so much. It’s not fun. But it’s for their own good. It’s for your own good.
No matter how many times you told him not to play with that ball in the house. “Don’t play with your ball in the house,” you tell him. “I know it may be fun. I know you like to do it. I know that some of your friends may play with their ball in their house. But you don’t play with your ball in this house. Now we don’t want to have to tell you again. We don’t want to see that ball in the house. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” he says.
No matter how many times you had to admonish him for it. “I’m being careful,” he said. “It’s not about being careful,” you tell him. “If you don’t do it in the first place, like we told you, you don’t have to worry about being careful. If you don’t do it then we don’t have to worry about you breaking anything. Even if you are are being careful. It’s not about being careful, it’s about not doing it in the first place because we told you not to do it. We shouldn’t have to wait for you to break something to understand you shouldn’t do it. We’re just looking out for you. Don’t get in trouble because you didn’t listen. Okay?”
“Okay,” he says.
No matter how many times he caused damage. “I didn’t mean to. It’s not that bad,” he said. “It’s not about how much damage you did,” you say. “You weren’t supposed to do it in the first place. We’ve told you many times not to play with your ball in the house. Because this is what can happen. Maybe you only did a little damage this time, but it could have been worse. You shouldn’t be causing any damage. Next time it could be worse. Now we don’t want to have to tell you again. Don’t play with the ball in the house. Next time there will be real consequences. Are you going to play with the ball in the house anymore?”
“No,” he says.
But of course he plays with the ball in the house. He likes playing with the ball in the house. His friends like playing with the ball in the house. It’s fun. It’s easy. And it’s not like he’s caused any real damage so far. He thinks he’s being careful. So long as he’s careful and doesn’t break anything important and he gets to play with his friends then it’s okay. Because there are no real consequences. Sure, you’ve told him not to do it. You scolded him for doing it. You told not to do it, again. But he still has that ball and it’s so tempting. You can’t really expect him to be able to exercise any impulse control so long as he has the ball and you’re not doing anything about it.
Thus Donald Trump had his ball taken away. Donald Trump has had the Twitter account which he holds so dear and with which he had such fun playing “wrested away” , according to an in-depth report from the New York Times on the final days of the Trump campaign. The Twitter account which Trump used to disparage women, rail against immigrants, personally attack his opponents, attack the media, declare the entire system is rigged against him, show supporters he is actually winning, and generally use those 140 characters or less to his advantage by being able to speak directly to his supporters multiple times a day. But his tweets frequently got him in trouble and hurt his campaign. Only he didn’t seem to care. It’s his Twitter. He wasn’t doing any real damage with it, at least not anything too big. And everybody complaining about it was just words anyway.
Until it’s the last straw and you just can’t risk him doing any more damage, anything lasting. Donald Trump does still have some control over his Twitter account, but he’s no longer allowed to tweet what he would like at any time. He must ask permission. Trump’s staff is reading and approving every word he writes, and may have even taken away his phone. No longer will they let his good time (airing grievances and desires for political vengeance) create damage which may have lasting consequences. And doesn’t just affect him. If he can’t understand why he shouldn’t tweet after numerous warnings and seeing the damage he can cause, and can’t stop himself even though he maybe knows he shouldn’t then it comes time to physically stop him. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.
This parallel between Donald Trump and a hyperactive young boy has not been lost on political pundits and commentators, of course. It has also not been lost on President Obama, who in the past few weeks of this election cycle has become the “foremost thrower of shade” at Donald Trump. The lack of pressure which comes from representing another instead of himself, and probably the tone of this presidential election, have allowed President Obama to unload on Trump. And he did not miss an opportunity here.
“Now, you may have heard that — this was just announced, I just read it, so I can’t confirm it’s true, but — this campaign has taken away his Twitter. In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self-control, they said ‘We’re just gonna take away your Twitter.’ Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes. If somebody starts tweeting at 3 in the morning because SNL made fun of you, you can’t handle the nuclear codes.”
Donald Trump’s tweets may be all bluster, bloviation and forceful rhetoric. In the end it may not really mean anything. It just makes for good political strategy. Until it doesn’t. And you have to know the line.
This is why you can’t have nice things, Donald.