Thursday, August 02, 2018

Life with Trump

How should social conservatives position themselves in relation to Pres. Trump? There are roughly three options:

i) Defend everything he says and does

ii) Constantly tear him down for his latest juvenile tweet

iii) Withhold comment

1. I don't take Trump's statements seriously. What I take seriously is what the Trump administration does. That's the focus of my assessment. That's my priority.

2. Trump's character flaws are conspicuous, well-documented, and deeply engrained. Since he's unlikely to change, it's unnecessary to comment on every juvenile tweet. Since Trump is a known-quantity, there's no point in constantly remarking on what we already know about him. That doesn't advance understanding. It's mechanical repetition. 

And it's not a good stewardship of time. I have better things to do with my time than stay up-to-date on his latest twitter wars or offhand comments at a press conference. 

It's like atheists who freak out over the latest natural disaster that kills a lot of people. "Where was your god?" Every time that happens, they press the rewind button and play the same prerecorded accusation. 

But if we already have theodicies in place to account for moral and natural evil, the latest natural disaster doesn't affect our rationale. It's unnecessary to readjudicate the existence of God every time another natural disaster strikes, or some atrocity, because we've already got that covered. Our theology makes allowance for that. It's not surprising. To the contrary, it's to be expected.

3. It's like pouncing on every impolitic statement Gen. Patton makes, or brewing over the possibility that Ike had an extramarital affair with Kay Summersby. If your priority is surviving WWII or the Cold War, it's counterproductive to constantly tear down your best generals. 

It's not a choice between supporting whatever they say and do or opposing everything they say wrong. Sometimes you don't have to say anything. Withholding comment isn't the same thing as defending them. 

Fact is, criticism is more effective if you reserve it for important things. Otherwise, if you're a chronic faultfinder, people tune you out even when you have something worthwhile to say.  

1 comment:

  1. Fair assessment.

    Trump is absolutely unique to politics. Yes, there are parallels in history, but nothing as unique as Trump. In Britain, you either loved or hated Thatcher (interestingly, Thatcher's critics were *almost* as swivel-eyed and deranged as Trump's); there was no inbetween. Trump has an inbetween, certainly in Britain, and no doubt across the West. I, like many of my friends, was and am indifferent to Trump (though I like him more and more). My liberal-leftist 'friends' (mostly Facebook associates) hate him (naturally), most of my 'right'/'alt-right' (cringing at 'alt-right') friends bloody love him, and then there's us down-to-earth, practically extinct traditional conservatives among my circle.

    The Don brings us much joy. His maverick nature makes us leap in the air and recoil at the same time. I confess that he simultaneously grows on me and makes me wince. His 'juvenile tweet[s]' are in the same instance marvellous yet mortifying. His refusal to answer CNN questions because CNN is 'fake news' is delightful and at the same time deeply troubling for a world leader.

    Yet, the liberal-left have brought this on themselves. And they thought they knew what they were getting with Trump, but they were *not* prepared for his adolescent-like rages at them. Yes, we would all like a President/Prime Minister of unwavering decorum, but where the hell has that got us?

    I'll admit, I would love Trump to be my Prime Minister. If only to shake things up and restore the days of the traditional parliamentarian, the heavyweight politician. Politics is dead in Britain.

    My two penneth.