Much has been written and said about Donald Trump, and much more will be – probably too much. But let me add a few words that, I hope, will shed some light on the Trump phenomenon.
● On April 28, Trump spoke at a rally in Costa Mesa, a city in largely conservative Orange County, California. Large crowds of unruly demonstrators blocked streets in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Trump supporters from entering the rally. Large numbers of law-enforcement officers, some mounted on horses, were well prepared, and prevented the demonstrators from getting out of control.
Nevertheless, police cars were damaged, motorists were pelted with debris, and at least one Trump supporter was bloodied – and felt grateful to escape with his life.
When was the last time you saw a person in a Hillary, Bernie, or Cruz T-shirt beaten bloody? You never did? What does this say about the opponents of Trump?
● On April 29, Trump was scheduled to speak at a Republican Party function at the Hyatt Hotel in Burlingame, California, a liberal suburb of liberal San Francisco. Here is a young demonstrator, expressing his family’s sentiments on the country in which they live and presumably work.
When leftists speak of “diversity,” it is necessary to ask what they mean. Diversity of opinion? Certainly not – only leftist opinions are tolerated. Diversity of loyalty? Yes, indeed. Some are loyal to America, and some to the nations from which they or their ancestors came – often to escape abject poverty, government corruption, drug cartels, or other memories that fill them with nostalgia for “the old country.”
The Burlingame area is largely liberal. Perhaps because of this fact, the police response was largely ineffectual – despite the fact that the police had a day’s warning from what had happened in Costa Mesa. Entry to the hotel was blocked by the mob. As a result, Trump’s Secret Service convoy had to stop on the shoulder of a nearby freeway. Trump was escorted through a fence, then up an embankment, so he could enter the hotel by the back door.
When was the last time you saw a presidential candidate – a leading candidate, in fact – forced to stop on the shoulder of a freeway, then hike uphill to enter the back door of the building where a meeting was being held? You never saw such a disgrace before? Neither did I, and I am hardly young. Again, what does this say about Trump’s opponents, and what does it say about the police in liberal cities?
Moreover, what does it say about people who live in America and enjoy its benefits, but who think so little of their new homeland that they dare to interfere violently with its presidential election? And what does it say about the rest of us, who tolerate this intolerable intrusion with hardly a word of complaint?
● After the disastrous attack on Pearl Harbor that pulled us into World War II, the admiral and the general in charge in Hawaii were fired. But for a time, the chief of naval operations in Washington was retained. He was a well-liked man who mentored junior officers.
Still, he had not done enough to prepare for war, so he was transferred. As his replacement, we brought in an admiral who was not well liked and had an abrasive style. He was generally feared by junior officers and was not known as a mentor. His own daughter remarked that he was the most even-tempered officer in the Navy – always in a rage.
But he had a reputation for cutting through red tape and getting things done. He remained at the head of our Navy through the victorious conclusion of the war. On assuming office, he is said to have remarked, “When they get in trouble, they send for us sons-of-bitches.”
It would be pleasant if all effective leaders were also nice guys. Some of them are. But General George S. Patton Jr. in the Army, and Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King in the Navy, were examples of SOBs, but SOBs who got things done and thereby saved many American lives and hastened the restoration of peace in the world. King’s personality may be summed up by his public-relations policy: “Don’t tell them anything; when it’s over, tell them who won.”
● Perhaps you recall the old story of the yachtsman who fell overboard and was unable to climb back aboard. Another boater sailed by and yelled, “You need a hand?” The man replied, “No thanks, I’m fine. I’m praying hard, and the Lord will save me.”
Soon an old freighter came along, and a sailor shouted, “Let us throw you a line.” But the man replied, “No thanks, the Lord will save me.”
Then a Coast Guard boat pulled up, and the petty officer in charge yelled, “We’ll throw you a life ring.” But again the man replied, “No thanks, I’m praying, and the Lord will save me.
Finally the man drowned and came to stand before the Lord. The man complained, “Lord, I just don’t understand. I prayed really hard, but You didn’t save me.” And the Lord replied, “I tried three times.”
The point of the story is that the one who comes to save us may not resemble our preconception of a rescuer. He or she may be younger or older that we expected, or louder or quieter, or more polite or ruder, or more erudite or plainspoken, or better looking or homelier, or have a better hairstyle or a worse one – or whatever. But if we hope to be rescued, we should be open to the possibility that our rescuer in some ways may fall short of our expectations.
Is Donald Trump capable of being our rescuer? I don’t know. I have serious reservations. But I remain open to the possibility, especially in the absence of anyone else on the horizon who even has the guts to name our enemies and enumerate our problems. I have no reason to expect that another rescuer is nearby. I have no reason to think that if we have to wait another four years, rescue will even be possible.
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