This blog will, of course, sound like partisan bellyaching. That is all we can see these days. But there are some underlying realities that transcend political realities. Ignoring these moral values is done at great risk to our nation and our sanity, not to mention the risk to future generations.
Politics has become its own rationale, something that has been driven home time and time again. We all have come to accept some slippage in our moral compass to make our system work. But the advent of Donald Trump as a candidate has changed the game for the worse. By way of explanation, I will point out that what necessitated this blog was one in a long line of CNN recaps featuring Kayleigh McEnany as a Trump surrogate. This particular evening the talking heads got into the inevitable Trump fall from grace on the moral front. Ms. McEnany took issue with the way “the media played up Trump’s bad behavior”; implying that the perception that his behavior as disgusting is an invention of the fourth estate.
With no shame, I will invoke the gold standard to validate my opinions: Would we tolerate our children acting the way that Trump, a 69 year old man, feels it is appropriate to act? It’s important to specify why we spend so much time on evaluating our children’s behavior; it’s based on what we fear they will become. Becoming an ugly human being stunts a child’s ability to form decent relationships and makes them into someone to avoid. More to the point, we hope that our children will bring our values into the the next generation so we don’t have to consider a morally bankrupt future for our nation. It’s been easy to ignore this possibility in the face of political pragmatism.
I take issue with Ms. McEnany’s attack on the media. Trump’s behavior is legendary and certainly on the outer edge of the spectrum. Regardless of whether Mitch McConnel is a lousy republican and Hillary is seen as dishonest, having a president that might piss off foreign foreign dignitaries, alienate us from our aliies, teach our children that thoughless aggression is useful and resides on the moral high ground or ignore the constitution is not something that isn’t equally dangerous, perhaps more. Again, imagine the horror you would experience if your children went to school and acted like Donald Trump, something that his parents obviously had to experience, necessitating his entry into Military academy. There are repeated allegations of violence with his first wife and some clear business improprieties that Trump doesn’t even bother to deny. By themselves, those two issues imply that Trump is less likely to deliver on his promises than most people would like to admit. In fact, considering his lack of morals and his privileged status, I’d say that he has almost NO motivation to deliver on anything. Why would he bother?
Donald Trump, in my opinion, has issues that are serious; if he was in any other position than industrial celebrity people would questions his fitness for any position of responsibility. His childhood is full of nastiness and discipline problems and it seems he’s learned very little since then. Many will attribute this to “New York Values” which I have reason to object to. I grew up with values I consider positive and I grew up perhaps seven miles from where Donald Trump did. His values may have spring-boarded from things he learned from his parents but it’s clear that he has developed his own set of what I would like to call anti-values that aren’t based on thoughtful consideration or any respectable standard we’d use to evaluate our children’s behavior.
This has been deemed ignorable by many for some questionable reasons. I am not a Republican but I can easily understand the frustration with Washington; the two party system, both sides, has been a dismal failure for years. And it is certainly true that Trump has tapped a valid vein of frustration in the GOP; if that wasn’t true he wouldn’t have been so successful in the primaries and caucuses. And my experience with partisan politics makes me understand the need to block Hillary from becoming president from a GOP point of view (though I don’t support this assertion).
And that leaves us with the big question: is it okay to ignore important standards for political fitness for the sake of winning an election. It is clear that Donald Trump’s connection with the constitution is disturbingly tenuous. Ignoring this for the sake of getting elected is like saying that it is no longer important that we be Americans, something that has taken on unfortunate currency lately. In my opinion, it is not acceptable under any circumstances. We pass on the constitution at our own peril. And, if I have to explain that you, you need to go back to school and read foreign history.
What surprises me about Kayleigh McEnany is that, until recently, she has been the most honest and civilized of Trump’s surrogates. She has openly criticized some of his worse behavior and admitted that his choices have not always been correct. In the end, I fear that the pressure of ambition and expectations eventually wears downs one’s wisdom and, more important, judgement. While I can see that the possible failure of the work you’ve been doing for a year would be devastating, you can’t just throw up your hands and say that things that are important are not important, especially when the lives of millions of people are affected.
I suppose that getting Kayleigh McEnany to consider this would be much like getting Donald Trump to consider morality and constitutional law, something that is unlikely. But that just suggests to me that both these people are beyond the realm of self-reflection and thoughtful consideration. These are not the type of people I want babysitting my grandchildren and I don’t want them running my country.