I have given some thought to your claim: “You seem to be absolutely gaga over the Trump. I think you are in love with him! Either that, or you are in love with the fact that you sagely (I admit) predicted his winning the election. If the latter is the case, I urge you to get over him. Trump is not a decent human being.”
No, I am not in love with Trump. My support of him, and that of those with whom I have spoken, is not based on the man at all. That is why “the Deplorables” were not unnerved by the personal attacks against him. It has been far less about Trump the man, and far more about the movement for which he has been the loudest and most prominent voice in the past year and a half. I will not write many details, because nearly everything that I would include you would take as a personal or an ideological insult against “Progressives,” as you style yourselves. I will sketch briefly in more general terms lest you think that I am personally attacking you or people you admire, and that is not my intention at all.
As I see it, our country is dying. We have been dying for decades, at least since the 1950’s, but with signs of decadence and decay extending far back in time. Our Founding had its flaws, and some of them showed up quickly, and contributed to the horrific “Civil War.” By roughly 1900, despite much goodness in our people, real problems were evident and increasing.
The sense I have had for decades is that our political elites, our rulers, and the main institutions of our country—government, churches, large businesses, educators, entertainment, mass media, and so on—have largely betrayed our country, often without even knowing it. To use a simple phrase, “We have been sold a bill of goods.” Or to put the blame back on us, the body politic, “we chose poorly.” Yes, we Americans have made some bad choices.
If you were to sit and listen to many of folks who have favored the election of Donald Trump, you would find that he has been accepted as an act of rebellion against “the establishment” which has been destroying us. Again, to give details means that you will take offense, so I must be silent. Trump has been seen as a protest vote against our political elites, the mass media, the educational establishment, internationalism, “free trade” ideology, and so on. Trump gives voice to a popular uprising against what we have done to ourselves, and allowed our leaders to exacerbate.
If you think that I or others who like Trump are “in love with him,” you are not seeing the larger issues that motivate us at all. And that failure to see the real problems is precisely one of the foremost problems. Indeed, the problems facing our country are enormous. Not only are we dying, but we as a people in history have been blind to many of the real problems. Trump takes over in a country which is decaying from within, and in a world which has become enormously dangerous. Policies over the past decades have been disastrous, or not truly beneficial at best. And these policies are far larger than Obama or Democrats or Progressives, etc. Both political parties have failed us, leaders from both parties have been sleep-walking and mislead and damaged our country. As one example that may not hurt you, I cite the libertarian ideology of “absolute free trade,” and the internationalist belief in “open borders.” Both parties have advanced these causes at our national expense. Trump voices a strong reaction against such policies. That is why many of us have supported him. He is not a panacea, but promises at least a slowing down of our national dissolution. Hence, his simple, understandable slogans and promises struck a chord in our hearts: “We will build the wall,” “free trade must be fair,” and in a nutshell, “America first.” Such are the words we have been longing to hear from our elected leaders.And even his bluntness and rejection of “political correctness” has appealed to us, because we have seen in Trump not a politician who can dance and skate, but a leader who will take incoming hits for his truthfulness—signs of courageous leadership. Trump promises to be a real leader, and not a man who wishes to “lead from behind.”
As for Trump “not being a decent human being,” it is typically American to portray political leaders we do not like as bad, evil, decadent, authoritarian, and so on. Every human being has flaws—you and I included. What is needed in a good leader is sound political insight and judgment, prudence, courage to act, energy. If he or she is a good human being, so much the better. But as James Madison wrote in the Federalist, “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” That is why our Founders put so much effort into constructing a system of “checks and balances,” and would never have envisioned or promoted the enormous massing of power in the Presidency that has emerged, especially since Lincoln. This undue concentration of power in political leaders and in enormous institutions is one of the major problems facing our badly wounded body politic.
The foremost problems in our body politic, however, are not political.They are spiritual, intellectual, and moral. But I know that you, as well as most of our “elites,” are very uncomfortable in hearing about these matters, so I omit them for now. Suffice it simply to note this: It does not go well for a country which untethers itself from its grounding. And I quote the Russian spiritualist and novelist, Dostoyevsky, who wrote in the 1880’s: “The West has lost Christ; that is why it is dying; that is the only reason it is dying.” Our civilization has forsaken its roots and its grounding in divine reality, and we see the consequences of this rebellion everywhere.