Donald Trump Gave Republicans a Voice

By | August 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks loudly, often too loudly. He uses broad gestures and colorful language. He never minces words. He may change his opinion, but he leaves no doubt about what his opinion is now. Clearly, Trump has a voice – a big one.
So what do I mean when I say that Trump gave other Republicans a voice? Let me explain with two anecdotes.
● My wife is a clinical psychologist. She ran therapy groups for women who had been abused as children. Often these women have no voice – they feel helpless and are unable to speak up. As they brought up problems in interpersonal relationships, my wife would describe how she would act in a similar situation. And if they were rude to other group members, my wife would intervene and deal with this problem.
On more than one occasion, the recipient of the rudeness confided to my wife, “That’s the first time anyone ever stood up for me.” My wife would reply, “Now you have to learn how to stand up for yourself.” Just as it is important to learn how not to bully, it is equally important to learn how not to be bullied. Today we concentrate on the first, but we often neglect the second.
Teachers often declare, “I don’t care who started it; you’re both going to the principal’s office.” In effect, they are teaching young people to be bullied and to tolerate other people being bullied. This is the opposite of the lesson my wife taught.
Donald Trump does not need lessons on how to handle bullies. Perhaps that is the key reason for his popularity. Perhaps that is the key difference between him and the current crop of insipid politicians. Barack Obama began his presidency with a multi-nation tour, apologizing for America. Mitt Romney stood mute during the presidential debate, while the so-called “moderator” jumped in and told him (mistakenly) that he was wrong.
Can you imagine Trump running around apologizing for anything, much less for America? Can you imagine Trump not responding forcefully to overt harassment? You can’t imagine it? My point exactly.
● One of my wife’s friends came to visit, leading a large German Shepherd. The dog had been mistreated and was left out on hot days with no water. When complaints did no good, a neighbor simply stole the dog and gave him to my wife’s friend, who was a dog lover. The dog’s name was Storm.
The dog was naturally protective. When he was let off the leash, he explored every room in the house, then returned to us. And he was intelligent. When he wanted to go out, he didn’t scratch on the door; he grabbed the doorknob in his teeth and tried to turn it. But Storm was insecure. As we sat talking, he lay down under the table and leaned against my leg. Our friend reported that he had been disciplined severely.
That night we took Storm for a walk. As we cut through a dark alley, two men approached from the opposite direction. Storm hesitated and looked at them, but did nothing. My wife, ever the psychologist, understood what his problem was. She looked at the approaching men and let out a low growl. Storm looked at her, startled.
Then he realized he was being given permission to act as his instincts told him. He looked at the two men and let out a growl of his own. The two men hurried by, and I pet Storm and praised him effusively.
We all need a voice, both humans and animals. Those of us who have been repressed, whether by childhood abuse or overly strict discipline, need to learn that we have permission to speak up on behalf of ourselves or others. This was true for my wife’s clients, and it was true for Storm.
But we need not have suffered childhood abuse or excessive punishment to be in need of permission to speak up. Lesser degrees of dysfunction can be produced by lesser amounts of abuse.
“Political correctness” is a euphemism for, “Don’t say anything contrary to leftist dogma, or you will be severely punished.” This is true in schools, in universities, in the media, at work, at church, and even at family gatherings. If it is true for us ordinary people, it is even more true for politicians. The leftist media can be merciless in their punishment of anyone who utters a word that is even mildly conservative.
I am privileged to run my own website, where I can say whatever I please, so long as I use good taste and do not advocate violence. But when I talk to co-workers, friends, and family members, I still must choose my words carefully, or I risk being called a “Nazi” and alienating people.
If I must watch what I say, imagine how much more carefully politicians must watch what they say. Most of them resort to vague generalities with which no one could disagree. Before long, they become mealy-mouthed weaklings. Republicans can only with great effort be distinguished from Democrats – the mush they utter is virtually the same.
Is it any wonder that voters become disillusioned with such useless gasbags, who end up being claques and sycophants of the current version of political correctness? Why should citizens bother to go to the polls, when opposing candidates are minimally different shades of gray? Bright colors? Vibrant language? Piercing insights? Strong opinions? Swimming against the stream? Forget about it.
Like Storm, the over-disciplined German Shepherd, these politicians remain silent, even when they see approaching danger. They are afraid of being castigated if they utter so much as one politically incorrect word. But along comes Donald Trump, whose personality matches his red hair. His speech is too loud. His gestures are too broad. His language is too colorful. His opinions are too strong. His emotions are too obvious.
But he gets away with it. His ego is too strong for him to care what opponents say. And his finances are too strong to make him beholden to donors with selfish interests. But if Trump can get away with expressing his over-the-top ideas in his over-the-top language, maybe we can get away with expressing more down-to-earth ideas in slightly less colorful language. At least it’s worth a try.
Donald Trump did for Republican politicians what my wife did for Storm. He taught them that it is again permissible to growl when there is something approaching that looks threatening. A muzzled dog, even a German Shepherd, is no use to anyone.


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