As the parent of a special needs child, I’ve learned to recognize the difference between my autistic son’s typical tantrums and his occasional meltdowns. Most parents over time learn the value of picking your battles, and we are certainly no different. Once our son enters meltdown territory, it is nearly impossible to reverse, even by appeasement. By this time, the struggle has become a power play, with our child determined to do the opposite of anything we offer or suggest. It can be an unnerving experience because children having a meltdown can hurt themselves or others or cause other real damage.
Such, in my humble opinion, is the case for the supporters of Donald Trump, erstwhile reality television show host turned frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. So disillusioned are conservatives by the failure of the party to contain the President (or even in their judgment to try) that they (it would seem) have moved beyond mere tantrum and are undergoing a full-blown meltdown, having decided to take an “anybody but” approach to choosing their next nominee. Even Rush Limbaugh has explained the chief appeal of Donald Trump as not who he is but who he isn’t – namely any of the (scary word alert) “establishment” candidates, which apparently includes anyone whoever even hinted at “working” with the other party. I’m not sure we can fairly accuse Ted Cruz of this transgression, but he must have done something nice for a Democrat at some point because his support has slipped into the weeds with other one-time conservative standard bearers at around 6 percent. In full meltdown mode, they have abandoned even those who have steadfastly done their bidding. Who knows? Maybe Ted Cruz held the door open for Nancy Pelosi at some point. RHINO!
After my last post, I had promised myself not to post again on Trump unless and until it was time to celebrate his demise. I vowed to wait for the day when the stupid pills (to borrow a Trump debate point) that many members of the former party of ideas were apparently slipped, wore off. However, I must admit, listening to a Limbaugh caller liken Trump to John Wayne and praise his fight against political correctness has nearly pushed me over the edge once again.
First, setting aside the fact that the personas embodied by John Wayne in most of his roles were fictional, Donald Trump is nothing like the symbol that John Wayne represented. John Wayne was a fighter, but he did so with class. He didn’t stand on a podium calling people names. Second, John Wayne was proud but humble. That is why people saw him as more than an entertainer. Ironically, some people accuse Trump of being an entertainer. They are wrong. He is truly as full of himself as he lets on. Further, he is not fighting the battle of political correctness. Even I fell for this somewhat (as evidenced by my last post) but I’ve thought more about it now and realize that this is simply not true.
Political correctness is the process of trying to ban perfectly good language from the lexicon ostensibly because it is offensive but in reality because it is accurate or effective in making a point. For example, we discourage people from saying “illegal alien” (how can a person be illegal?) and are told not refer to United States citizens as Americans because this term should apply to anyone from anywhere in North or South America (I kid not!). Never mind that the peoples in these other countries refer to us as Americans and are perfectly content to refer to themselves as Canadians, Mexicans, Columbians, etc. Those are examples of battles we should be fighting against political correctness. Calling someone an idiot, disparaging their appearance, or calling them third-rate broadcasters is just rude. Doing so doesn’t demonstrate Trump’s courageous defense of speech but rather his outrageous disdain for common decency.
As George Will has noted, each day that Trump is identified with the Republican party and worse conservatism is a day the party and conservative ideas are diminished. The longer he remains competitive in the GOP field, the less likely we are to elect a Republican president and turn back the disastrous policies of the last eight years. If the GOP meltdown continues and Trump somehow gets the nomination we will lose. And in the words of the Daniel Kaffee character from one of my favorite movies (A Few Good Men), “we’re going to lose huge.”