American Consequences - November 2020


Stairs.” Anyone who’s raised children in a two- story house will understand the metaphor. There’s that one time when you forgot to close the baby gate. You’re walking through the front hall, and you look up, and... There’s the toddler at the top of the stairs ! He’s teetering... He’s tottering... One little pajama footsie is going out over the stair tread... My kids are grown. I don’t need this in my life anymore. And finally there’s the leadership question. Answer: No. When America had a crisis, so did Trump. It wasn’t so much that the president was wrong about the COVID-19 pandemic – everybody (Dr. Fauci included) was, at some point, in some way, wrong. It’s just that the president sounded and acted as ignorant and confused as the rest of us... This is not what we elect leaders for . Leaders should at least give the appearance of knowing what to do. I know this is a pathetic admission of weakness and frailty among us ordinary citizens. We should be able to decide for ourselves. We shouldn’t need this kind of psycho-political prop. But the sad truth is that we do. This is why de Tocqueville was trying to warn us not to elect people as ignorant and confused as we are. (And now we’ve just done it again with Biden.) American political leadership during the pandemic reminds me of my spectacularly incompetent Scoutmaster Bob 60 years ago. He took my Scout Troop to a wilderness preserve and got us lost on a hike in the woods. “Boys,” said Scoutmaster Bob, “always remember, whenever you’re lost in the woods, head uphill.”

Then Scoutmaster Bob said, “No, no, it’s the other way around. Boys, always remember, whenever you’re lost in the woods, head down hill.” However, we were on a hike in the woods in the Midwest where there aren’t any hills. We’d probably still be out there if Bob hadn’t led us around in circles until we accidently returned to the parking lot. And that’s where, politically speaking, we are at the moment. America didn’t do a left turn downhill into socialism the way the Democrats, pop stars, pollsters, and traditional media predicted. America didn’t do a right turn uphill into Make America Great Again Again. Trump didn’t get a mandate, and Biden didn’t get much of one. For the next couple of years – at least until the 2022 mid-term elections – government will be some sort of compromise or stalemate. Maybe nothing will get done. What a relief that would be. As Peter Goettler, president of the Cato Institute libertarian think tank says, “Gridlock Rocks!”

And finally there’s the leadership question.

Answer: No. When America had a crisis so did Trump.

Meanwhile we can quit thinking about politics so much and give Democrats and Republicans only the amount of attention they deserve. Partisan politics is a minor team sport – somewhere in importance between beach volleyball and curling.

American Consequences


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