“I’m still thinking.”
I sometimes wonder what Donald Trump thinks about when he’s lying awake in bed at night, or just before rising. Does he remember the early days of his campaign when he expected to get only a small percentage of the vote and marvel, with some trepidation, that he is the Republican candidate for president? Do the memories of past indiscretions and crude remarks and the public knowledge of them stir up feelings of remorse, or only regret that he wasn’t more careful? Does he feel the weight of the potential responsibility of leading the greatest nation on earth, or is he merely envisioning and gleefully anticipating gathering together all of President Obama’s Democratic staff members to tell them, “You’re fired.”?
The secret thoughts of Donald Trump are known only to himself and God, but how our country would fare under a Trump presidency to God alone. In fact, what the future holds for us is unknown no matter who is victorious next week…or whenever the final outcome is decided. We do our best to prognosticate based on what we do “gno,” but there are too many variables to have much confidence that we can come close to accurately predicting the benefits, harm, and net result to our country under the leadership of any future president.
Interestingly, in my opinion the candidate whose impact we can be most confident of is Hillary Clinton. Even with all her lying she is, in one sense, the most “trustworthy” because her impassioned support for “progressive” principles is unequivocal, as seen and heard in public as well as behind closed doors, and we can trust that she will act on them if she becomes president.
But what about Trump? He has no track record as an elected official, his positions on some issues are not now what they were before, his personal integrity is questionable, many of his promises are vague, and some have argued that his presidential bid was initially not a serious one. Are his supporters deaf, dumb and blind or just intrepid risk-takers? Democrats like to paint them as ignorant and deplorable for being willing to elect as leader of the free world a man they see as unstable and unfit for the job. Are some of them ignorant? Yeah…as are some of Clinton’s supporters….and Sanders’, Johnson’s, McMullin’s and Stein’s. But not all. There is something compelling about the man and the prospect of his presidency that allows even thoughtful, intelligent, educated citizens to conclude that, warts and all, he is the best choice.
Certainly most of those un-ignorant ones are looking at a bigger picture than Trump’s self-aggrandizing self-portrait. They see a coalition government with checks and balances, a party platform with moral and constitutional imperatives that Trump has pledged to protect, a list of prospective Supreme Court justice nominees that would defend those imperatives, a smart and solidly conservative vice-presidential nominee with years of governing experience as well as others within and without government to advise him, and a man who is smart enough to know that if he should win the position he is vying for he will need their help.
And they see an opportunity to shake up a system of government plagued by partisan stagnation, bureaucratic waste, cronyism and corruption with an infusion of fresh, effervescent, no-nonsense air. Gassy, hot air…many would say. But as tactless and blunt as Donald Trump can be, it must be admitted that much of the time he’s simply voicing sentiments that the respected and seasoned ones on both sides of the aisle are thinking. Don’t tell me many of those who loudly criticize Trump’s language and derogatory comments don’t have similar thoughts about their opponents and voice them in private in similarly colorful language.
Should a president of the United States be disciplined in discretion? Yes, but that’s something Trump can learn. What may be his most compelling natural quality and what more than anything else distinguishes him from Clinton is his forthrightness. Whereas she often appears calculated and counterfeit, he’s more a WYSIWYG guy, and there’s real appeal in that. And more so, passionate authenticity, though potentially harmful if not coupled with wisdom, can effect much good and real change. Haven’t you, like me, when listening to a president or United Nations leader give a carefully scripted, unimpassioned condemnation of another nation’s misdeeds thought to yourself, what good is that gonna’ do? Say it like you mean it…or say what you really mean…and maybe it will make a difference.
Different is what a Donald J. Trump presidency most certainly would be. And risky? Yes, but no more so than with any of the other candidates. Am I voting for him? I honestly haven’t decided yet. I’ve got seven more days. Don’t rush me.