It is a rare occasion when The Donald fails to dish up a fresh outrage. In the closing weeks of his now-failed campaign — just preceding the furor created by the revelation of his deceiving the American public about the seriousness of a worldwide pandemic — was his reference to veterans wounded and killed in World War I as “suckers” and “losers.” Reported in “The Atlantic” magazine, his sickening remarks appear believable in light of his tweeted references to John McCain as a “loser” for being imprisoned in a tiger cage in Vietnam.

Only too painfully aware of Trump’s affection for slandering those who don’t share his worship of riches as “losers,” I was reminded of a book published 40 years ago by Robert S. de Ropp: The Master Game.

In this seminal work, de Ropp wrote about winners and losers and the sorts of games humans play. In his words: “Seek above all for a game worth playing. Play as if your life and sanity depended on it, because they do!”

As he surveyed the ways in which men and women spend their waking hours and the goals they pursue, he identified — in contrast to the Master Game — the Lower Games. I would have to give the nod to Trump that he has excelled in each of the three primary Lower Games.

In the “Cock on Dunghill Game,” the object was to draw the attention of everyone within reach as they bask in the spectacle of your magnificence. Remember when the Chosen One plundered $60,000 from his charity, the now-dissolved Trump Foundation, to purchase a portrait of himself at a celebrity auction? Chump change for the Donald, but it speaks volumes.

Another of the lower games is the “Moloch Game.” Here, the object was to gain what amounts to a monopoly of the powers of military force and coercion. In Trump’s ham-handed dispatch of national guardsmen, border control agents and homeland security armed personnel to wherever he sees fit — oblivious to the expressed wishes of governors and top military aides — affirms his mastery of the Moloch Game.

It is in the case of the third Lower Game, however, that Donald shows what winning in Trump world is all about.

In the “Hog in Trough Game,” the object is to shove your snout deep into the trough, and, while doing so, elbow aside every other hog who might seek a claim to the slop.

Whether it is defrauding building contractors who to this day have gone unpaid for work done on Trump’s hotel empire or waiters and maids who found themselves suddenly on the streets for the ill-advised decision to work at one of Trump’s many bankrupted enterprises, the picture of “winner” (The Donald) and “losers” (everybody else) is clear.

The Master Game? This is a game of personal spiritual development and emerging self-awareness. These are paths not chosen by those who spend the hours of their days in pursuit of wealth, power and fame. This is not the road chosen by Donald Trump. In this, the greatest of games, our would-be King is the ultimate loser.

Now that the votes have finally been counted, the presidential electors allotted and Donald Trump is forced to stare defeat in the face, he reveals — perhaps as never before — his true self.

Unlike when daddy’s cash and hundreds of millions in shady loans from even shadier sources could paper over his failed business ventures, now he knew the taste of coming up short.

But wait! Just as Hillary didn’t really receive three million more popular votes in 2016 and just as Obama’s inauguration was attended by a far smaller live audience, he never really “lost” the 2020 election. It was “stolen” from him by radical leftists and anarchists conspiring with corrupt local election officials. Dontcha see?

When I consider how deeply this charlatan and buffoon has tapped into an ugliness far inside the American psyche, I’m reminded of these final words by de Ropp.

“So warped are the standards by which men measure criminality, the players of these (lower) games are most apt to be regarded as “pillars of society” than dangerous lunatics who should be exiled to remote islands where they can do no harm to themselves or others.”

A lifelong activist, Steve McGehee settled here in 1973 and lives in Palouse with his wife Katherine. His work life has varied from bartender to university instructor to wrecking yard owner.

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