About Your Uncle

“What’s the single most important thing you think the country needs to know about your uncle?” George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump on national TV the other day.

Mary Trump, daughter of the president’s older brother Fred Jr., has recently been unmuzzled by the court.   Her tell-all book is out, she’s free to talk about the sordid life of the children and grandchildren of the famously sociopathic Frederick Christ Trump, Donald’s ruthless and demanding father [1].

“My father was a wonderful man, we were very close, he was my mentor and best friend,” our compulsively lying president has insisted, as anyone would of a man who gifted him $400,000,000 in today’s money [2].  It would be hard for Donald to say that his father was brutal, unfair, incapable of love, a sadist, a man who used the law to abuse others, a “winner” who demanded that his sons be “killers.”

But I’m not thinking of that family of psychos.  I’m thinking of my own.   If my niece or nephew was asked about me, what would they be able to honestly say?

“My uncle is smart, but very fucked up.  He’s a judgmental person who holds a grudge to the grave for no reason.   He’s a weird guy, frankly.   We haven’t seen him in years, though once in a while he reaches out with some awkwardly heartfelt letters, or sends us books, or something like that.   He’s an uncomfortable subject, really, so we don’t really talk about him.   It’s weird that he keeps trying to contact us, even when we don’t get back to him.   I guess he can’t take a hint, part of his stubbornly overbearing nature.  But we love him, I guess.  He’s the only family we have, outside of our parents.”

What other view could they have after almost a decade of not seeing them?   Never having been told any of the reasons, they see no reason for this estrangement.   It’s not as if one of their parents made detailed death threats, committed multiple crimes, defaulted on multiple promises, lied over and over, raged unrepentantly, bullied, manipulated.   And, anyway, those things are all so SUBJECTIVE. 

“What if he or she was morally justified in making the detailed death threats?  What if the “crimes” were acts of necessity?   What if the promises he defaulted on were things they were unfairly forced to promise to?   What if their lies were to protect us?  How about if they were raging against someone who deserved it?  Bullying and manipulating are such vague, subjective things, we’d need proof of each one, and we’ve never seen any examples of it in our lives.

“So who is nuts here?  Our uncle’s father was a brutal and unhappy man.   It makes sense that our uncle would be a chip off the old block.   We are not the jury or the judges.   In fact, we don’t really have a strong opinion one way or another — we haven’t even seen our uncle in a decade.   There is just something off about the guy, creepy, though it’s hard to put our finger on it directly.   And, yes, he’s our uncle and we love him, so you can take that into account and picture what we might say about him if he wasn’t related to us.” 

This, to me, is a snapshot of a central tragedy of the world.  Shameful and common things that, if addressed, are part of a nuanced understanding of life; unaddressed and kept secret, compelling (but unknowable) reasons for permanent estrangement and eventually warfare.



[1]  Check out what the president’s grandfather died of!   You can’t make this shit up:

Frederick Trump – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Frederick_Trump

Frederick Trump was a German–American businessman and the patriarch of the Trump family. … Trump and Christ married on August 26, 1902, and moved to New York City. :95. In New York, Trump found work as a barber and a restaurant …

Died‎: ‎30 May 1918 (aged 49); ‎Woodhaven, Qu…

Cause of death‎: ‎1918 influenza pandemic

Born‎: ‎Friedrich Trump; 14 March 1869; ‎Kallstadt‎, …
Parent(s)‎: ‎Christian Johannes Trump; Katharina …


[2]  lede paragraph from Town & Country article (April 5, 2017):

President Donald Trump has referred to his father Fred as his hero, role model, and best friend.  He followed in his dad’s footsteps in many respects, joining his real-estate management company right after college and expanding on Fred’s developments in New York City.   His beloved father didn’t live to see Donald’s very successful first foray into politics; Fred passed away in 1999 at the age of 93.   “I don’t think I wanted to outdo him, but maybe psychologically I did,” Donald has said. “You’re always looking to do a little better than your parents… deep down inside, maybe I did.”

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