There is a very interesting opinion piece by David Gelenter in the Wall Street Journal in which he says that “the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful … [but] … Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.” Bingo! I’m anything but a leftist but what I dislike about President Trump are, precisely his “vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas …[whether they work or not] … and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable.” First, there is no good excuse for vulgarity, ever; second, some fights are best avoided, especially if the cost of winning is too high or, even, entirely out of reach; bluntness can be a virtue, now and again, but not always; fourth, I am as certain as President Trump is that America is NOT any more exceptional than was Britain, 100 years ago, or than is China, today; I don’t always trust all intellectuals but I do value informed opinions and, in my experience, many intellectuals often have them, whether I agree with them or not; and simple ideas are lovely ~ I was taught that very often the best solution is the simple one but not all problems have simple solutions and sometimes real leaders have to struggle with complex issues.
“Mr. Trump,” he explains, “lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton … [but, he adds] … my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it … [and] … The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.” This goes, again, to what former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is saying in his new book, ‘Right Here, Right Now;’ President Trump isn’t the cause or the source of American popular discontent with the “old guard,” he is just a feature of it, and answer to a cry for change … just as Justin Trudeau was for many Canadians in 2015.
The key question Dr Gelenter says is: “Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American? … [but, he says, it is true that] … Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen …[and] … Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies … [and] … You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But,” he says, and I agree, “what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.” And therein lies the danger for us all who hate President Trump for who he is rather than for what he does or fails to do, or who hate Andrew Scheer just because he is a Conservative who doesn’t have a rational climate change plan or who hate Justin Trudeau because he’s a half-witted trust fund kid. We can and should hate what politicians do propose to do, and it’s OK to hate what they say, too, but it’s not OK to transfer our hate to a group. I think Prime Minister Trudeau is a colossal failure s a national leader and I suspect that he is a bit of a sub-standard human being but I do not hate him and I certainly don’t hate the Liberal Party of Canada. In fact I want the Liberal Party of Canada to prosper as a centrist/centre left political party because I know that the Conservative Party, after a few terms in power, will grow fat and stale and it will run out of good ideas and it will need a spell on the opposition benches to recharge its policy batteries … and we need the Liberal Party to be a viable, responsible alternative. Not only do I wish the Liberal Party well, I am proud to say that I have several friends who are fully committed to making the Liberal Party great again and who respect most f the people in the Conservative Party. That’s how it is supposed to work when adults deal with political issues.
If I was an American I would, almost certainly be a Republican and I would, with almost equal certainty work to unseat President Trump in 2020, not because I despise him, although I do, but, rather, because I want something better for the “average” citizens who responded to his messages. I would work hard to find and nominate and elect a better leader for America because I would love my country and its people … not because I hate anyone.