Thoughts in the Era of Trump

Robert George here is right– click through because this is a great storm by . 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.


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.

We Tell Jokes (But We Can’t Find it In Us to Laugh)

Here’s the joke:

This year, we will elect a candidate to be President of the United States of America either from the Republican or Democrat parties. The presumptive nominees from both parties (according to the most recent, published favorables) is disliked by the majority of Americans. While Trump’s numbers are a bit worse than Clinton’s, neither of them breaks 40% on the favorable side and both of them break 50% on the unfavorable side.

America simply doesn’t like these candidates and feel increasingly abused by their own parties.

Now, this is the good bit. Here’s the punchline:

America will still vote for one of those candidates. America is convinced that the President has to have an R or a D next to their name and would rather despise the person in the White House than to look around for a better, more trustworthy, more qualified option outside of the orthodoxy.

Hah hah hah.

That’s a good one.

Has the World Changed or Have We?

When I was around 8 years old, my parents took me to Disney World. My Disney vacation went thusly: we walked into the Magic Kingdom, my dad checked my watch, he gave me a bit of money for food and drink, and then we went our separate ways. We met back at the front of the park at the end of the day, and I had enjoyed a wonderful day. Aside from the fact that I don’t have much in the way of family memories from our family vacations, I had a great time. I lost count of the number of times I rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Magic Mountain. I probably enjoyed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea nearly as many times. When it rained, I found shelter, had a soda, and waited until I could start riding the rides again. By the time I was 9, I was a full time latch-key kid (and, just a few years later, having a handgun in the house saved me from a home intruder– but that’s a different story for another day). Does that constitute criminal behavior on my parents’ part? Did they deserve to be jailed for “abandoning” me? I certainly don’t believe so, but times have changed.

Here are the facts: Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead.

Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone. The girl went to the park—a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking—two days in a row. There were swings, a “splash pad,” and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied.

The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl “abandoned” and proceeded to arrest the mother.

As I said: times have changed. Is the world that much more dangerous? Or are our children that much more vulnerable? Or have we just lost our sense of context and reasonableness? I actually don’t know the answer to that question, but it seems like an overreaction.

What my parents did with me, I wouldn’t do with my own kids, but it isn’t necessarily because I’d be worried about their safety. It’s because I would want to be sure that I had memories with my children.

View from the Tar Pits

Velociman’s view from the tar pits is five minutes of reading extremely well-spent.

There is a strange poetry to his words.

Strategery in Focus

This is an important little piece from Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog. It’s compact, but quite important, especially when you understand what the author is critiquing:

If “Setting Priorities” is the most recent attempt to argue for a more coherent internationalist grand strategy — a worthy endeavor — then whatever weaknesses it has might throw into relief some broader problems of U.S. foreign policy.

Why important? Because of this note near the end of the piece:

… the report-like all “national security strategies” published by every administration since Congress mandated the document in 1987-is less a “strategy” document than a list of aspirations and goals.

“Strategic” foreign policy thought, as expressed by our government in the public realm, has long been reduced to talking points, wish lists, and occasional partisan sniping. Now is the time for serious discussion about the proper place of the United States in a changing international landscape of political power. Simply saying that we should show leadership or advocate for some laudable goal isn’t enough. Means, actions, and expected ends along with an honest assessment of what role the US needs to be playing in everything from “democratization” to moderating talks between warring groups.

The United States seems to be suffering a deficit of strong and wise leadership along with a paucity of serious thought in the public realm. While our last presidential election should have revolved around things like our foundering economy and our nebulous foreign policy, it instead seemed to focus on binders full of women, free contraception, and taking gratuitous pot-shots at China. We need better, although I would suggest that our reality-show obsessed culture doesn’t necessarily deserve better. I’ll consider changing that view when we start rewarding serious thought with the same acclaim that we do a bunch of dignity-stripped attention whores and fools on the latest terrifying reality TV series.

Read the original.

A Rising Tide…

Click through and read:

Jay reminds us of an important point: The great achievement of the Reagan economy wasn’t that the rich got a lot richer (though they did, and good for them!) but that the poor got a lot richer, too. As Treasury figures from the era document, the vast majority (nearly 85 percent) of those who were poor in 1979 (meaning they resided in the lowest income quintile) were in a higher quintile by 1988; even more impressive, two-thirds of them had moved up two quintiles or more. And most impressive of all: Of the people who were in the lowest income quintile in 1979, more had moved to the top quintile by 1988 than remained in the bottom quintile. Which is to say, if you were on the bottom in 1981, you were statistically more likely to be on the top by 1988 than to remain at the bottom.

There is more and it acts as a good reminder of why we on the right continue to fight for our vision of America.

Read it all.