Much of what swirl’s around President Trump right now is simply catharsis in my opinion. People trying to come to terms with the fact that somehow Donald J. Trump, reality TV heavyweight, brander of everything from ties to steaks to an over-promising “university,” and successful real estate developer got elected POTUS. I’ll confess, I did not think it could happen, but it did. I’m pretty analytical about this stuff so catharsis is not what I need; I need data and explanations. But for a whole lot of people this is emotional and catharsis is what they think they need to cope with the emotional consequences.
But catharsis is not always a good thing. Let’s face it this catharsis is calling into question the legitimacy of the sitting president. That’s not good at all. To my read there is no serious stratagem underlying the current chaos, just a small and select number of individuals trying to make some hay while the sun shines. But there are others that think differently. Those select people are trying to capitalize on this massive wave of catharsis politically. For some its about ideology, some its about party and for some it is deeply personal. But regardless of motive,they actually do want to call into question the legitimacy of Donald J Trump as president. But they have to be mighty careful at that game, they may not like the results they get.
What is the end game here?
Well, if it really is about catharsis, eventually its just going to run out of gas. But that is where those select few come in. Right now they seem to be able to scratch the cathartic itch at just the time it is about to subside and start the cycle anew. And let’s face it, the president’s somewhat cavalier attitude does keep given them ammunition. So let’s assume this business is not running out of gas anytime soon and pray we are wrong. What’s going to happen?
I see three possibilities. Possibility One – President Pence. Now ask yourself this, except for the #NeverTrump crowd, does anybody currently opposed to Donald Trump see President Pence as a win? (BTW, most of the #NeverTrumpers are no longer opposed to President Trump, they are simply quite cautious in dealing with him.) Mike Pence is the absolute bane of the Left. It was not that long ago that he was evil incarnate as far as the Left was concerned. Remember the Indiana RFRA debacle? Not to mention he is a most able executive. Mike Pence is solidly conservative unlike Trump who is only lately so and squishy at that. Mike Pence in the Oval Office would be every Democrat’s nightmare – clear vision, efficient and effective. Every time I hear the “i” word I laugh. For the Left you want to talk about out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire? The impeachment of Donald Trump is just such a scenario.
Possibility Two – a vastly weakened presidency. Frankly this is nothing new. The previous administration shrunk the office like a 50’s sci-fi movie. But there is a difference. Despite what Obama did, most Americans still respect the office, but the way this game is being played the office could be reduced to nothing more than a professional wrestling title belt. Does anybody honestly think that after Trump’s term, assuming this keeps up the entire time, anybody can take the office and make it useful anytime soon? Ronald Reagan’s most extraordinary feat, out of many extraordinary feats, was restoring the post-Nixon presidency to prominence. Gerald Ford, good man that he was, could not get that job done and Jimmy Carter? Well, Carter took a severely damaged office and only hurt it more. There are not a lot of Reagan’s rolling around. Not to mention this possibility is really just a pathway to the third possibility.
Possibility Three – a strong man. Honestly, that’s usually what comes out of chaos – totalitarianism. That link from the second paragraph seems to think that is actually the game that is afoot. (Well, not a strong “man” per se, but the same basic idea.) I am not at all convinced that is an aim, but I do truly believe it is a possible outcome. So went Rome, so most certainly could we. Everybody knows the scenario – civil order becomes so severely threatened that strong arm tactics are the only way to restore it, and somehow the strong arm just never goes back into its “Break In Case Of Emergency” box. It is galactic-overlord-level ironic that those that fear Trump as a strong man are presenting him with a lot of temptation to actually act like one.
So what’s to be done? Peggy Noonan seems to think straightforward leadership will do the trick. I am skeptical, at least when it comes to the traditional norms of leadership. Current generations , especially those on the left, fundamentally cannot be lead. So convicted are they of their own self-righteousness that they will follow only their own dictates. The nature of leadership is in radical flux and I don’t think anyone has quite figured it out just yet. There certainly is stuff the president can do better than he is now, but I am not sure that is going to bring things back to some sort of “regular order.”
Right now, I am relying on what I advised just before the jump – prayer. Too many times in my life prayer has solved the seemingly unsolvable. Honestly, answers just have a way of showing up where none are evident.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [ 1 Timothy2:1-4]
“…That we may lead a tranquil and quiet life…,” is what God has in mind for us. It is what He intends to provide for us – not this chaotic, cacophonous maelstrom in which we currently find ourselves. It is not asking much to ask God to give us what He already wants to give us.