by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 16 August 2015
"Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty." Ronald Reagan (40th President of the United States)
Last evening post dinner, after a long week of writing and publishing more than planned (and painting even more that offered the solitude to think for writing), and with no intention to publish anything today, I decided to sit quietly and relax and catch up on email and news and ongoing projects - on iPad. A tall glass of chilled sparkling water with a lemon wedge my choice for after dinner drink. No cigar. But one peppermint.
In mere moments an email grabbed my interest because THE WALL STREET JOURNAL stretched across the screen.
The article next under, published three days ago, 'The Three Presidential Primaries' was written by Peggy Noonan. Ms. Noonan usually has something worthwhile and entertaining to say so I read.
She opened with President Obama but Mr. Trump was in focus. Her tone struck me odd - not hardly neutral but not cutting though she included analogy about Mr. Trump walking the knife's blade offered to her by one who knew him. Kindly critical is the best I can come up with. She is entitled to opinion.
But, too, are we all entitled to opinion and with a thought of Ms. Noonan's I take exception. Her first sentence of the closing paragraph struck a nerve.
Ms. Noonan wrote...
"I don't know what happens with Mr. Trump, but Trumpism? That's here now--outlandish candidates backed by indignant, enraptured people who've lost their judgment."
I read it again.
And thought about it and read it again.
Then went back and reread the article.
Could I be misinterpreting? No. She is a professional writer - once a speech writer for President Reagan. She well knows the craft of words.
I confirmed the definition of "outlandish." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary atop my desk defines as - of foreign appearance or manner; bizarre; remote from civilization. Understanding confirmed.
How and why Mr. Trump merited the label "outlandish" - candidate for president or not - escapes me.
But that's not her most disturbing thought in the sentence. That distinction belongs to "backed by indignant, enraptured people who've lost their judgment."
I read that again, too. Several times.
Fair, I guess, "backed by indignant, enraptured."
But "people who've lost their judgment"? That's a big problem for me. And it should be a big problem for the tens of millions flocking to Mr. Trump. And tens and tens of millions more.
Why? Two points.
First, because Ms. Noonan generalized making a false conclusion about a huge cohort of Americans. In five words she dismissed each man and each woman (as thinking beings) of whom she knows nothing about.
Second, her thought is contradictory to what I was taught in youth, and little Donald, Ben, and Carly were taught (and hopefully what children are taught today), from parents and teachers - that anyone in America can grow up to be president. Anyone.
So are we, and grownups Donald, Ben, and Carly, the "indignant, enraptured people," supposed, at some point in adulthood, to no longer believe anyone can be president? And in turn explain to children and students that, like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus, the possibility of being president does not exist? Is there expectation for all but a choice club of Americans that once an adult you must bow to christened pols and media and fall into political lock step? That's not our heritage. That's not liberty.
I aim not to pick an argument with Ms. Noonan but she has it all wrong.
She has it completely wrong.
And somebody has to correct. Why not me - one of the "indignant, enraptured" and a blogger without journalism degree or experience but a brain?
Mr. Trump did not invent Trumpism.
Mr. Obama, with Obamania, invented Trumpism.
Mr. Trump is just following the Obama lead. But at least to this point he has had the good sense to dazzle crowds only with plainspeak, contempt for stupid people in government, and his helicopter - not yet breaking out Greek columns. Though if he wins a national toga party would be fun.
So, actually, branding Mr. Trump with 'ism' vice 'ania' is a slight to the great creator (lowercase c not a typo) Mr. Obama.
It's Trumpania, Ms. Noonan, a refreshing and polar opposite brand of Obamania because its namesake is a true patriot who loves America and vows not to settle for mediocrity but restore greatness.
News flash Ms. Noonan, the Trumpanians are not indignant nor enraptured. Not at all. Nor have they lost their judgment. Bluntly, they are pissed. And they recognize and want leadership.
It's Sunday so let's thank God we still have so many full-brained citizens with mental clarity. Hallelujah, Hallelujah - Amen!
One can only extrapolate that Dr. Carson and Mrs. Fiorina, not of the political flavor and somewhat wealthy (though "dead broke" compared to Mr. Trump - to borrow a disclaimer from another for-the-moment candidate for president) from hard work and successful careers, too, are outlandish and their supporters indignant and enraptured and judgment lost.
Perhaps more time spent amongst the rank and file, to get a pulse of those inaccurately and unfairly disparaged, helpful.
In closing, in my opinion, with decades of observation (nearly three of which required dutiful silence) and ample proof now before us, our model for selecting and electing leadership is all wrong.
Leadership is an art. Leadership is not political science.
Not all politicians are leaders. And not all leaders are politicians. But leaders, unlike politicians, can lead anything and they all have "political" savvy otherwise they could not lead. Give us the leader any day. And relegate the political science "experts" - the elected under the current model - where they belong (in an overhauled model) to an advisory role (to the leaders).
Without pause, Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson, and Mrs. Fiorina, as different as any people could possibly be, are the three strongest leaders in the GOP field. Talented and exceptional, not outlandish, they are more than holding their own among the 14 others - of which at least half should gracefully bow out. Holding three of the top five places, so say polls, is a statement. Their supporters smart people who recognize sincerity, talent and skill, and know a winner when they see one.
My hope and prayer is this breath-of-fresh-air trio is the spark for shaping a new model (or rather a return to our roots) for finding and electing leaders. I do not disagree there are capable leaders amongst the 14 "insiders." But for the sake of America I hope after the chaos sorts itself out one of three "outsiders" wins the presidency.
There's a lot of talk from the candidates these days about the "American Dream." Well part of that dream must be in our children and believing they, too, can be anything they want when they grow up - including President of the United States. Whatever those children become, that dream must continue to burn into adulthood for the sake of inspiring children and grandchildren. Otherwise, life in America will not be the momentary nightmare of today but one never ending.
Each evening before slumber I still quietly say prayers for family, struggling friends, Marines and Sailors, and all who voluntarily serve our country. And the rhythm of our Pledge of Allegiance and melody of the Marines' Hymn calms to rest. Why, though hanging up my uniform nearly a decade ago, do I care? The answer simple. Duty. The brand Marine endures. Spectating nor quitting options. I love this country and will not rest until what I know America can be is once again. Some call it patriotism. It's more.
Watching any of the GOP candidates appear before crowds, but especially the three "outsiders," heart-swelling it is to again see rabid enthusiasm and proud waving of our colors - a sign of faith and hope.
Finally, and to that point, what presidential candidate and people best fits Ms. Noonan's "...outlandish candidates backed by indignant, enraptured people who've lost their judgment."?
Barack Obama. And his. Twice.
And Mr. Obama's rise to the presidency only possible in America. Yet he set about to destroy that which made him possible. I can't bring myself to use the "i" word. It falls well short.
Only deep, steadfast public faith, no matter how disheartened and beat up, that no man nor woman can prevail over America and our founded way of life has allowed this president to continue. Not so anywhere else in the world.
There is so much more to say but enough.
I rest my opinion with...
With President Reagan, a leader (with political savvy), I agree.
Keep the faith!