Warning: This is a political essay. There are no pretty pictures!
Thoughtful comments, pro and con, are welcome. Please, make sure you read the entire essay before commenting.
I follow the political scene pretty closely. I consider myself a thoughtful, but clearly right-leaning conservative. It is my opinion that, on our current path, we are going to “tax-and-spend” the United States, as we know it, right out of existence. Listening to the herd of Republican presidential candidates, I have not heard any really inspiring messages or ideas.
That is, until Donald Trump lit up the political arena. I certainly have some reservations about him as President, but I was thinking that at least he was making bold, direct statements about topics that are on peoples’ minds: immigration, foreign relations including foreign economic relations, the budget and national debt, crime, education, etc. For a summary of Trumps positions on many important topics check out Donald Trump Positions and be sure to look at the “full quotes” option for context.
I note that Trump’s position on several issues has changed over the years. To me, this indicates thoughtfulness on those issues. My position on many issues has matured and changed over time.
But, this essay is about Trump’s comments about John McCain. At first, I, like many, was outraged. I was in the service (Air Force) during the Viet Nam war. I have always respected John McCain for his service and what he endured as a prisoner of war. I confess, I have been personally disappointed by his inability to get more done for veterans (I am fine, thank you, and need nothing from the government related to my time in the service, but there are many who do).
As for Trump’s comments, I believe they were ill-advised and unnecessary. It would be okay to impugn a person’s political position, leadership, or political success, but not a good idea to attack the person’s character. The message that I heard was that service members injured in combat were somehow not as sharp as those who were not injured. It did seem disrespectful of our service members in general, and if Trump really wants to be President, he is going to need the respect and support of the military.
Bottom line, a politician can be blunt and straightforward, and still exercise a modicum of tact. And his candidacy was serving a very useful function—he was making people think; not just voters, but also hopefully other politicians.
Up until his McCain comments, Trump was leading the (very) early polls for Republican candidates. Part of that may be his celebrity status, but I really think that voters are ready to hear direct, frank talk about issues, even if we are not sure we agree with Trump. At least he sounds like a departure from the “politics as usual” candidate, which is a pleasant change. Perhaps, just perhaps, from the current pack of Republican candidates will emerge one or two candidates that realize voters are tired of the same old appeasement rhetoric. We have real problems. We need real leadership.
Our government—and since “we the people” make up the Government, that means we—are addicted to the tax-and-borrow-and-spend national economy—and there are going to be withdrawal pains if we are going to survive.
I do believe the nation needs a no-nonsense business-like leader with just enough political savvy to navigate the halls of Congress. I doubt that Trump will even come close to succeeding in his presidential bid, but if he shakes up the political process a little, that would be a good thing.