Trump’s true vocation
Screenshot of the website peddling Trump's Bibles.

I was recently struck by Trump’s announcement that he’s now selling Bibles. I felt that perhaps he’d finally found his true calling: A low-ball, old-time, snake-oil, Bible-thumping scam artist!

He’s now making it plain for us all to see that he’s a real old-time con man. For all the younger folks, Trump’s entry into the Bible market is a reason to look up and watch Burt Lancaster in one of his greatest roles, one that lives in film lore as the true picture of the lying religious con man preying on regular folk’s ignorance and fears. His portrayal of that epitome of evil came in his great 1960 award-winning film Elmer Gantry.

Of course, we’re all familiar with the damage done by real-life Bible-pushing scammers like Pat Robertson, the disgusting Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, saw the smiling Joel Osteen bar the doors to his 60,000 sq.-ft. church while victims of Hurricane Katrina suffered outside.

I’ve even had some personal brushes with this type of morally bankrupt parasite.

I once got roped into their scam, some half-century ago, when I was between real jobs. This suit-wearing guy told me what a wonderful job it was peddling encyclopedias and Bibles, that you get to wear nice clothes, eat in fancy restaurants, and enjoy other perks.

He broke me in, showing me how to pick out busy single moms who were overworked and desperate. He gave lessons on how to (literally) get your foot in the door and keep talking about the “E-Z monthly payments.”

From him, I learned how to really lay on the guilt. “Don’t you want your kids to be prepared for college and not be left behind?”

“Just sign here!”—that was the goal; close the deal as quickly as possible. And don’t back off until they sign!

Well, I eventually made my first sale. It also turned out to be my last. I’d never felt so disgusted with myself.

My “mentor” had steered us toward a somewhat depressed, working-class area of Columbus, Ohio, just south of downtown. We tried a few doors until we found a “jumbo,” as he called it. An overworked, ragged-looking woman answered the door, her kids yelling and jumping on things in the background.

I followed the script, banging on her about the importance and value of the books, really laying the guilt on thick. Finally, she gave in and signed.

She got the “Delux” edition rip-off, including both the encyclopedia set and the “Home Bible.” She couldn’t afford them, and of course, we all knew it.

My sales “mentor” wanted to celebrate, but I felt like sticking my head in a leaf grinder! As soon as we got back to the car, I quit—right there, on the spot.

My other personal brush was when my dear friend Nancy and I decided to visit my grandmother in Virginia. We figured it’d be nice to surprise her. But when we got there, she was sitting in her living room surrounded by piles of magazines and Bibles that she’d been conned into buying.

We did have the joy of actually meeting the “salesman” that sold her that crap and chasing his ass off. I have no doubt that if those sales guys are still around they’re dedicated Trumpites.

Our job between now and November, regardless of how filthy or disgusting it gets, is to keep showing the American people what he’s selling and how bad those “E-Z monthly payments” he’s shucking actually are.

The payments Trump will expect us to pay include the destruction of Social Security and Medicare, something much bigger than a bunch of overpriced and useless encyclopedias. We’ll be saddled with the destruction of our public education system, packaged in racist wrappings.

Instead of getting Home Bibles with the “Lord’s Blessing on our home,” we’ll get massive medical bills and bankruptcies when Trump privatizes Medicare and Medicaid, a key plank in the Republican platform.

Finally, any true con man knows that the best way to any rube’s pocketbook is by appealing to their racism. Trump learned his bigotry at the foot of an expert, his father, who had ties to the KKK. It is here that you find the heart of Trump’s anti-people program.

Most of us know of somebody who, unfortunately, got tied up with one of those birds and ended up losing everything.

Trump has at least given us a clear picture of what he plans for us. We’d damn well better make sure we convince people not to allow themselves to be rubes for Trump and his GOP con men.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the views of its author.

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Bruce Bostick
Bruce Bostick

Bruce Bostick is a retired steelworker and leader in Ohio Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.