The Gift Of “The Donald”
By Clare Gearhart
There is a sense among some Americans (from the Artic to Tierra del Fuego) that the US system of governance is broken. Delightfully, this idea is shared across boundaries and party lines. Though it is a common notion to both sides of the political divide, each tends to slip to blaming the other without the first thought of considered thought, dialog and effecting substantial repairs. The blame- game fans the fires of self-righteous anger, gives legs to some exotic conspiracy theories, and builds a wall stronger and less penetrable than the one “The Donald” envisions. We all bear the full cost of building and maintaining this barrier.
Onto this polarized stage enters Sir Trump, wealthy, accomplished and owner of all the right toys and then some. In his brash manner he has commandeered the attention of many, not just the under-educated, but the mainstream press and nearly every one of the other candidates for the office he seeks. As a mouthpiece for materialism, he is able to speak with a refreshingly new lack of accountability in a bought-and-paid-for political environment. Who, among the crowd in Alabama, could have failed to be awed as his personal, inscribed 757 circled the stadium, dipping its wings in greeting as it thundered above?
So, where’s the gift? There is not one, but many. The first might be novelty. He’s using his financial freedom to express himself without deference to corporate, banking or military interests, or to any Super PAC employers. He’s embodying a tough guy, independent machismo that some men covet, while some ladies cheer and swoon. He’s creating the illusion that the nation is as powerful in world affairs as he feels in his business environment. Even his oddly coiffed locks give him a kind of human vulnerability which makes him easier to connect with. He’s painting with a broad brush, and challenging each of us to come to terms with our own values.
Perhaps his greatest gift is to show us that politics in general and campaigning in particular would do well to be separated from the billions of dollars wasted on them. Could qualified candidates be awarded limited federal funds to use during a sharply abbreviated campaign period? Perhaps the candidates could present online a written statement of their positions on the various issues, along with their proposed solutions. In the information age, we hardly need two years of posturing, jockeying and name calling to make a selection among the candidates. Considering that it only took the nation just a few weeks to forget Sandy Hook, it seems as if the long campaign trail is simply filler for the media.
As I sit looking over a well-tended orchard to the lake and the mountains beyond, I am tempted to take off on the Spiritual Bypass, and thereby skirt the messy issues that confront us personally and affect us at all levels of government. Yet, there is something that yearns for greater harmony, for collaboration and cooperation, for compassion and solutions. I thank “The Donald” who, in his sometimes outrageous way, opened my eyes to this possibility.