Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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Rants & Reason

For 2018: Let Trump be Trump! But let someone else be President!


Last January, many of us feared the New Year, what with a person routinely referred to as a liar, sexual predator, egomaniac and worse about to be inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president. With the onset of 2018, trepidation has changed from the Trump who justified our fears to being perplexed about those who continue to support him.
The conventional wisdom is that many folks like him because “He says what he means!” and because “He dares to be politically incorrect!”

A new book by two of his supporters, “Let Trump be Trump,” may be concerned that he doesn’t speak out enough.


We’re in the world George Orwell feared, where language usage reflects more deception and ignorance than meaning.

Trump says what he means? Many crazy people do! That is why many of them are locked up, sedated or both because of their inability to control or restrain themselves or to keep them from turning homicidal thought into action.

Prep Iowa

Yet Trump’s rants, his lies, his unrestrained tweets have folks rally around him. They await that great come-and-get-it day when, as he said in Sioux Center in January 2016: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

The other accolade is that he dares to be politically incorrect. What an understatement! The guy is the mother lode of being incorrect.

He not only is politically incorrect when it comes to the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law and how democracy is supposed to work, he is also scientifically incorrect in views on climate changes, energy and about anything from anatomy to zoology. He is historically incorrect in his falsehoods about military leaders and events. (Last May he told editors at the Economist magazine that he had coined a new phrase: “Priming the pump.”)

OK, so he is correct about how Republican Party leaders are cowardly and fearful of him — not because of what he might do to the earth, to the nation, to the vulnerable and to the needy. No, they are fearful because to oppose him is to expose how wrong they have been and how they have forfeited any claims they or their party will have to respect and responsibility.

Iowa Senator Grassley, despite his disclaimers, is purely incorrect and Trump-like when he blames the impoverished for wasting all their money on wine, women and song.

Grassley, Senator Ernst and others are well in tune with Trump’s failings and his flailings, and await their autographed copies of “Let Trump be Trump.” That would be fine if the book had a sub-title: “Let Trump be Trump, BUT LET SOMEONE ELSE BE PRESIDENT.”

Trump would be of less concern as the animal control officer in Manhattan. His spokesperson Sarah Sanders — Ms. Newspeak in Orwellian terms — could tag along and defend his phony tweets about how the borough now has spayed all stray animals and eliminated subway rodents.

In writing in CITYVIEW and elsewhere, I’ve quoted theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was executed by the Nazis in the waning days of WWII because of his opposition to Hitler and his thoughts about dealing with fools and folly.
Clip and save, and re-read from time to time, this column’s last cite of this Bonhoeffer quote:

“Folly is a more dangerous enemy to the good than malice. You can protect against malice, you can unmask it or prevent it by force. Malice always contains the seeds of its own destruction, for it always makes men uncomfortable, if nothing worse. There is no defense against folly. Neither protests nor force are of any avail against it, and it is never amendable to reason. If facts contradict personal prejudices, there is no need to believe them, and if they are undeniable, they can simply be pushed aside as exceptions. Thus the fool, as compared with the scoundrel, is invariably self-complacent. And he can easily become dangerous, for it does not take much to make him aggressive. Hence folly requires much more cautious handling than malice. We shall never again try to reason with the fool, for it is both useless and dangerous.” ♦

Herb Strentz is a retired administrator and professor in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication and writes the monthly Rants and Reason column for CITYVIEW.

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