Last week I had a bit of hope. It was only a bit, and it only lasted until the weekend, but it was hope, none-the-less.
During the campaign Donald Trump promised that, if elected, he would be so “presidential” that we wouldn’t believe it. After a tumultuous first month in office, he delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening, in which he sounded and acted “presidential.” Reportedly, he had spent hours practicing the speech, and he clearly delivered a polished performance. Afterwards, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan opined that the President had “hit a home run.”
A friend of mine disagreed, stating, “That was no home run! That speech was a bunt or a walk at best! A home run happens when there’s some runs scored and to date, as I see it, no runs have been scored, as nothing of any productive value has been accomplished, only executive orders that can and will be contested, if not in the courts, then in legislative bodies.” However, a bunt, if well executed, does put the batter on first base, an accomplishment to be sure.
This being the Lenten season, my mind was drawn to the idea of a “sacrifice bunt,” in which another player on base is able to advance at the expense of the batter. Often, a “sacrifice bunt” is made so that a runner on third can score, actually producing something of value. The “sacrifice” is that the batter is tagged out. To complete the analogy, Christians believe that God, in the person of Jesus, offered himself up as the “sacrifice” in order to score a home run to put right our human brokenness, or sin.
Mr. Trump’s “presidential” appearance deceived me. That is, until he resumed his barrage of accusations this weekend. Around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday he started “tweeting” that President Obama had ordered wiretaps on his phones during the election campaign, with no credible evidence to back up his claim. He likened this alleged event to the Watergate scandal and the McCarthyism scare of the 1950s, and he demanded a Congressional investigation.
3:00 o’clock in the morning! I would think that if the President were up at that hour he might be studying security briefings, or planning thoughtful implementation of his policies, or considering our nation’s foreign relations. Instead, he reverted to his ego-centric, impulsive attacks on others, based on spurious evidence at best.
On October 8, I posted an opinion on my blog, stating that a person aspiring to be our President needs to demonstrate integrity, proper temperament, and experience. I must now add to that list judgement, defined by the Apple Dictionary as, “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.”
It saddens me that Mr. Trump does not seem to possess that characteristic. He does not seem to understand that the President must often “sacrifice” his personal pride for the good of our country. Instead, he blames anyone within reach for his own shortcomings. His initial 3:00 a.m. “tweet” was simply comical, except that he followed it up with additional “tweets” that demonstrate a complete lack of “presidential” judgement. His well-executed “bunt” on Tuesday was a good start. He would have done better if he had not then tried to hit a “grand slam” with nobody on base.
I am saddened. But I am also becoming increasingly frightened! Our President controls our military and our nuclear weapons, and he has considerable influence on the global economy and the stability of the world. If his ego is so offended by the idea that President Obama wiretapped his phone that he must let the whole world know about it at 3:00 a.m., what might he impulsively do if he concludes that the US is threatened by some nebulous entity or fantasied action?
On November 19 I wrote to Mr. Trump, pledging to do what I can to make his Presidency successful. However, I do not know what to do to accomplish that goal except to call upon Congress, especially Republican members, to reign in our President to the best of their ability, in order to limit his erratic actions.
I have begun to do that with a call to my own long-term member of Congress, Republican Fred Upton.