A Preference for Authenticity Or A Question Of Character
This morning (11/12/20) on KIT's Morning News radio show I shared some of the frustration and disappointment I felt about a Facebook exchange I had with a former co-worker/employee of mine from 20 years ago.
He's smart, talented, successful and a good guy...but he hates Trump and by extension, most of those who support the President. I tried to explain how it was that fellow great Americans--looking for positive results for all Americans-- could support Trump despite his many obvious flaws and non-traditional/ non-presidential behaviors.
Those traditions and "presidential" posturing are part of Americana and have their place but in the wrong hands they also trapping of the the swamp and so the Trump supporters willing tradeoff was to exchange politeness and political polish for some Make America Great Again outcomes. In other words, we'll take authenticity, that's substance over style.
To many never-Trumpers and anti-Triumper, it seems style is most important.
Here's the Facebook exchange, we'll call my friend "RP" and my responses will be in Bold Type.
"RP" -But let's pack all of that away. In 1998, at the start of the Clinton impeachment, I distinctly remember a newsroom conversation after a Nightly News report on Clinton's grand jury testimony admitting he lied about the Lewinsky affair. Dave said something to effect of, "If he could lie about that, what does that say about his character and what else he may lie about that's more important?" ***exactly...now, what's the difference between then and now? Clinton was trying to portray himself as something he was not. He deceived us as to who he really was, he lied to our face wrapped in his lip biting "I-fee-your-pain" sincerity. Trump walked in the door lying and exaggerating. He was a NY playboy, Tv star, billionaire builder, only the left took him literally. People such as myself disregard half of what he says out of the box and we wait ...to see what he does, what are his results for America. He had no question of character going in. . What he does and what Clinton tried to do are totally different...Clinton played the "I'm Presidential" game and wasn't...Trump never tried cuz he wasn't and we all knew it!
"RP"- I agreed with Dave then and I still do. I supported Clinton's impeachment. Even if we give Trump a pass for "time with" a pornstar while infant Barron was at home, paying for said pornstar's silence and Trump denying he even knows who she is -- even if we do that -- he has lied with impunity throughout his Presidency. Sometimes multiple times a day, often multiple times in the same damn sentence. His lies, half-truths and distortions are without compare to any other President in the country's history. What about his character and the more important things he may be lying about? ****he doesn't have a Character position to disappoint. He lies all the time...Hillary did too...I'll take his lies and his results for America over hers...those were the two choices at the time for us Never Hillary Voters. I don't care how big his crowd is or if he thinks he's the next Abe Lincoln...that means nothing except to him...(to supporters the concerns are) are we working, are we safe, are my rights upheld...sadly that's all that matters is results. I used to want a really "presidential" president, strong, brave, true ... but they lie too, and they cheat and they deceive...so let's not pretend that it matters so much anymore...if it did we would see a lot of different behaviors out of a lot people wouldn't we?
His next response is what upset me.
"RP" - Thanks, that's helpful. Understanding your current position on character and integrity illuminates why you were so triggered by the joke that started this thread and everything you've written since.
I interpret that to mean he believes I have sold out my integrity and given up my character by giving a pass to Trump's behavior. Does it sound that way to you?
I guess my response to that would be this. My preferred presidential style doesn't work in today's political environment. Nice guys finish last when they climb into the ring to fight with Democrats who don't seem to have a problem with a "whatever-it-takes" to win approach.
Bush, McCain, Romney, the 2016 line-up of challengers, they all are the kind of folks who would take a knife to a gunfight. and we can't afford to lose. So, as an anybody-but- Hillary voter in 2016 I voted for a gunfighter and for much of his term, against tremendous opposition, he still managed to shoot out the lights on results.
So, yes, In my heart, I still want a "presidential" president...but I will no longer trade style -which can be faked- over substance -which speaks for itself. Because of what I consider to be integrity and character, I will acknowledge this is a compromise, I will still wish and push for higher standards of style and behavior - but- when push comes to shove, the outcome is what counts most in the dirty world of politics. Time for conservative idealists to get real. Too much is at stake.
In conclusion, I would say our nation's different approaches to dealing with Trump's character has done one thing for sure. It has revealed the character of millions of our fellow Americans.