Robert George here is right– click through because this is a great storm by
@sethamandel. Before I comment: remember I voted against and worked against Trump. And no “but TRUMP!” thinking while reading it, either. Practice some open mindedness and imagine this all from another POV.
— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) January 25, 2017
I see this now because I saw it before the election. I even argued about it with friends. There is a portion of traditional, conservative America that felt their government was no longer going to even preserve their right to have their own beliefs and values. Every time someone was forced from a job because they gave to the wrong candidate or cause, every time someone was forced to choose between making a cake for a wedding when they didn’t want to or having their business squashed by the government, and every time they were told they couldn’t engage in legal activities without the possibility of being forced into hiding by the Mob, they wondered why isn’t my government protecting me?
Instead, courts and government and popular will told them otherwise: agree or pay the cost.
So they pushed back. And they were called “a basket of deplorables,” all of them were seen to be bigots and racists and idiots. But they pushed back by voting. Not only did they push back, not only did they make a statement, but they WON. Somehow.
And what happened? Their opponents, who told them that they just absolutely had to deal with the results even if they didn’t like them, did everything they could to de-legitimize the election. They lashed out violently. They sulked.
Note: I’m not talking about peaceful demonstrations. I appreciate (and support) the right of the people to assemble and speak out.
But the Trump supporters won a legitimate election.
Set down the craziness, people, and let’s deal with that fact. Let’s deal with it with wisdom and intelligence and an understanding that (and this is the important part): WE DON’T ALWAYS GET OUR WAY. But we’ll survive. The country will survive. Our opportunity to vote again will survive. The only way it doesn’t is if we, the People, break the system by refusing to let it to work the way it was designed. So, let’s take a moment to re-assess ourselves and our systems.
Seriously: we don’t have to stop pushing back against the worst of Trump, but this might be the chance we need to fix some of what is broken.
Trump, being a symptom of a larger sickness in our land, proves to me that if there were a public wisdom, that light has been exhausted. We’ve forgotten those lessons of the past and are eager to fail in brave old ways once again. Which is to say, Trump is hardly Trump’s fault. He’s the fault of those who voted for him and for all of us who have passively let our culture slip to such a state that he seems like a reasonable answer to a very serious question: how do we set right the many problems facing modern America?
I don’t pretend to know that answer, but I do know one thing: it wouldn’t hurt to start teaching some of the old things that worked so well to impart a kind of baseline cultural wisdom for so many generations. Things like Aesop’s Fables.
Most of you will remember Aesop’s Fables; they are very short stories told with the goal of imparting some moral, life less, or political understanding to the listener. Indeed, television shows like Leave it to Beaver and the Andy Griffith Show were similar: short, simple stories that could make you laugh and think, but that always had a moral to impart. What I’m going to do is work to find a series of things, like those fables, that can help us understand the world around us and make better decisions.
Fables, of course, won’t save us from the rise of Trumps now or in the future, but maybe they’ll help us understand that rise.
First up is one of Aesop’s Fables (and my apologies for the small changes I’ve made in the language– they don’t change the lessons to be learned). This one is, in particular, for the Trump voters (and Trump) who took so much pleasure in abusing opponents during his rise and now complain that those voters aren’t supporting him in the general election.
A kite, sick and dying, said to his mother: “Mother, don’t mourn me, but pray to the gods that my life might be saved!”
She replied, “Alas, my son, which of the gods do you think will pity you? Is there one who you haven’t angered by stealing offerings from their altars?”
Make friends in prosperity if you would have friends in adversity.