“Why did you write that?”

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I don’t often get emails or messages here about what I write, but I got one today regarding the Trump piece from this morning. This was the question:

Craig–a sincere question re: your Donald Trump post. Why did you write it? I’m asking as someone who 100% agrees with it (and with most things you write). But, as a public figure, even writing that on your private blog, you have to know that it’s going to convince no one who isn’t already convinced. But, it *will* piss some people off. I 100% do not mean this as a criticism, but as a serious, respectful question. What led you to post this piece? I’d love to hear–

I left off the person’s name, and I responded to them privately, but I liked what I rattled off in a couple of seconds, so I reproduce it here:

Thanks for your question. I wish I had a deeper answer than “I am in the habit of saying what comes into my head, in writing, as often as possible.” But that’s a large part of it. When I write things here and, often, on my baseball website, I don’t think of whether it will make people happy or angry or if it will change many minds. I advocate, yes, but I realize that with lots of things, people are loathe to see things differently than they already do. 

With this particular piece, I think what inspired it was the notion that, for all of the political back and forth in which people engage, they very rarely say plain basic things like “this person is literally incompetent and is actually ignorant.” They talk about the horse race. They talk about whether someone is getting “their message” out or how they’re polling with some subgroup or whether they “appeared presidential.” But for whatever reason, the press, and increasingly, the public, talk around basic questions of competence and intelligence in politicians, thinking that it’s a rude topic to broach. “Many millions will vote for him!” they say, “so how can you say they’re wrong?” That kind of thinking leads to pulled punches and the acceptance of a ridiculous amount of nonsense in the name of false balance and relativism. 

The fact is, Trump doesn’t have the basic knowledge, intelligence or temperament that the leader of the United States of America needs to have to do his job effectively. It’s something that, for as obvious as it is, is not said that much. I sense that most of us are all too tribal and rah-rah in favor of our chosen factions to accept this, but it’s a pretty basic and objective fact that, today, even some of Trump’s supporters are admitting. 

Will it make me friends to say it? Not likely. But it’s the truth. And I find a certain value in speaking plain truths whenever I can and, especially, when so few people seem eager to. If it costs me some baseball readers, well, so be it. 

In reality, however, if I had made a habit of saying things that were aimed at pissing off the fewest people possible, I never would’ve gotten my job with NBC in the first place. 

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Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the national baseball writer for NBCSports.com. He writes about things other than sports at Craigcalcaterra.com. He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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