This is exclusively for those of you who are huge fans of President Trump. The rest of you will just be annoyed. Pretend this is a business meeting of those American voters who are puzzled and disappointed that Trump’s accomplishments, which we consider somewhere between impressive and staggering, fail to raise his personal popularity or garner his policies more voters in the midterm elections.
The wise men, who so often turn out to be the wiseguys, like to tell us that voters don’t vote out of gratitude for good governing well done, but rather for future gifts promised by the candidate with little or no attention as to whether or not those promises are lived up to. Says who? I was always told the great glory of democracy was hearing the promise and, if elected, making note of whether or not those promises were kept. Presumably, we reward the promise-keepers, not so much out of gratitude but rather out of admiration for the promise-makers who become promise-keepers.
President Donald Trump has delivered on promises he never even made and over-delivered on the ones he did. America seems to be in great shape and getting better. So where’s the popularity increase, and where are the votes?
I don’t have an answer, but I have a theory. Cousin Guerney warns us never to believe a fact unless it’s supported by a theory. Anyhow, here goes. Let’s plunge into perverse psychology and instead of stopping at the “Stockholm Syndrome,” let’s not even slow down. “Stockholm Syndrome” dealt with the strange phenomenon of hostages held by criminals in a Stockholm bank converting over to the side of their abductors.
The truth is, we Americans have suffered under bad management for so long, and it’s been so bad, that bad management has come to be seen as “normal,” and any talk of improvement is seen as rocking the boat. Sure, Trump was elected on the promise of change, but that’s like the confirmed alcoholic celebrating his new sobriety with vodka on the rocks. “Please, Fellows, quit reforming,” wailed the gang in the political clubhouse. “It just messes everything up!”
And that gives us a troy ton of bad treaties, rotten trade deals, one-sided agreements and disadvantageous habits. “And that’s the way it’s supposed to be, so quit meddling!” shout the voters as they hand the House back to the Democrats at midterm.
One stupid little joke tells the true tale better than a year’s output from a good think tank. The bureaucrat was assigned to go down to the pier and buy the bait for the annual lobbyist picnic. “How much is your bait?” asked the bureaucrat. “All you want for one dollar,” came the reply. After some intense thought he said, “I’ll have two dollars’ worth!”
A teenage boy born into a North Korean prison camp miraculously escaped. In talking with the media in South Korea, he said neither he nor his mother did anything wrong. He simply grew up thinking that some people are born to be prison guards, and others – like his mother and him – are born to be prisoners. The American voter should understand this kind of resignation quite well.
Now along comes Donald Trump, who reminds me of Michelangelo. A friend asked that Renaissance champion how he managed to produce a work of art as breathtaking as his sculpture of David. “I entered my studio and gazed upon the block of marble across the room. Then,” confided the master sculptor, “I lifted my tools and chopped away everything that wasn’t David!”
So now they are picking up their tools and chopping away at Trump. Maybe you Never-Trumpers don’t deserve to live in a country led by Donald Trump!
Trump, I suspect, gazed upon this great American nation and chopped away all the stuff that was not great, leaving us with the best growth in GDP, the lowest unemployment, a bashed and battered ISIS, a discarded deal with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, a new embassy in Jerusalem to replace the old one in Tel Aviv, plus 28 single-spaced pages of other Trump accomplishments great and near-great.
If it’s Trump vs. the media, I cry foul. It’s a mismatch. The major media can’t handle Donald Trump.
Until now I’d thought the best proverb in the world was the Haitian Creole proverb that goes “Sot pa tuye mais sot fait suye,” which means “stupidity doesn’t kill but it makes you sweat.”
My new favorite is the tailored-for-Trump Japanese proverb that wisely warns us: “The nail that sticks up shall be smashed flat.”