Contrary to the latest fashionable dogma, character is not everything in politics. It has its place, of course. But character at an orgy is no fun. “Nothing human is foreign to me,” said the Roman playwright Terence. If character were the sole way of evaluating the decency of people and their positive contribution to the world, then we would all fail as human beings. We’re far more complicated than the puritans among us allow.
Donald Trump, it needs reminding, is a human being, strange as that may sound to the snowflakes among us. The Trump presidency will end and so too will the psychological trauma experienced by the easily offended.
“This too shall pass” is excellent advice from Buddhists and Alcoholics Anonymous to the hysterics who have lost the power to evaluate the world in a dispassionate manner. When his four or eight years in power end, Trump will leave a mixed legacy, just like every other American president. Only then can we assess the merits of his administration. History, to state a platitude, will be the judge.
Presidencies are memorable for one or two things. Barack Obama will be remembered for being the first black president and for being handsome. John F. Kennedy is remembered for the Cuban missile crisis and for being assassinated. The white noise that surrounds a presidency is forgotten, only to be remembered by historians and political tragics.
So far, the Trump presidency has been a success. The positives outweigh the negatives. Trump has accomplished two things in his first year as president that are the equal of the most successful administrations. And both accomplishments are deeply moral at their core, which gives the lie to character being the primary virtue in politics.
He has created thousands of jobs for poor Americans. And he has saved thousands of lives in the Middle East by destroying the barbaric regime of the Islamic State. If he does nothing else except call CNN fake news, then his presidency will be a success.
Trump understood two simple things and he put that knowledge to perfect use.
He knew that people start a business to make money. He knew that taxation is a loss to a business and not a profit – if you lower taxes, jobs are created, thus boosting the economy. It is better to have a job than to be unemployed. From the dignity of work and self-reliance comes a host of other virtues. The simple act of looking a person in the eye and not feeling inferior because of your economic situation is priceless. And it is deeply moral to facilitate that transformation.
Trump knew that the American military could destroy ISIS if given the chance. He gave his generals 30 days to formulate a plan to defeat the Islamic State. And then allowed them free rein to accomplish the task. The results were immediate. ISIS retreated and lost 98 per cent of its territory. Lieutenant General David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence, said that the American military could have defeated ISIS in three months if the Obama administration had not micromanaged the war. This would have saved thousands of casualties who were subsequently killed.
Trump saved people who would have been murdered by ISIS. And he would have saved thousands more – who were murdered, and are now silent – if he had been in power during the early years of the Islamic State.
Talk is cheap. The rude, crude, earthy Trump is more moral than the metropolitan cool of generation quinoa any day.
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