America, are you suffering from political indigestion? If so, based on early indications, you may be in for much more, so be sure to pick up an extra large container of antiacids.
Prior to his election, like most of you, I didn’t know much about President Obama. Not that there was much to learn. From what has been gathered, he was simply an opportunistic young man who rose through political ranks as fast as his rhetorical gift and the circumstances would allow. He seemed to be under the influence of his ego and those who were deeply dissatisfied with the USA. But unlike you and me, young Mr. Obama wanted to dismantle much of what we consider good and true in order that his vision for America, and the world, could be realized. And also unlike you and me, he reportedly spent millions in a thus far successful attempt to keep you and me from seeing what he was thinking and writing about as a young man.
Of course, as has been well documented, there was little relation between President Obama’s disenchantment with America and what he talked about on the campaign trail. In short, he positioned himself brilliantly as the great, unqualified, untested unifier. All too many Americans bought into this mythical person who possessed relatively little experience in leading anything of enduring value. The symbol we elected has since morphed into the great field-tested happy talking, name-calling, polarizing populist. Sadly, his enduring legacy, even prior to the end of his second term in office, is already more costly, both fiscally and socially, than even the most clairvoyant critics of his feared prior to his election. I doubt that many of his most ardent supporters would now consider him a moderate or centrist as he was cast in 2008.
America, this is exactly what you were expecting when you elected him, right?
Please keep this foremost in mind as you gaze upon yet another third millenium political phenom, Donald Trump. I’ll be frank. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of his. After all, what’s to like about a hotel operator who names one of his properties, The Trump Taj Mahal? What’s to like about a guy who appears to spend more time on his hair than many women I know? And what’s to like about a guy whose idea of a good time is telling people in public, “You’re fired!”
I know, some would say I’m just jealous of his hair. Not so. I am quite comfortable with my low upkeep baldness. This has me often responding to jesters with a bit of the Bard. “Many a man hath more hair than wit.” But to his credit, Donald Trump seems to have plenty of wit, and is thoroughly enjoying the cat and mouse games played with the media, and those feverishly trying to stay current on the latest Trumpisms.
Even still, I have this nagging thought that what we see in Mr. Trump may not be the real deal. We might have seen a glimpse into the real person when during the initial GOP debate in Cleveland a few weeks back, he was the only one of the top 10 candidates who would not pledge against converting a hypothetical failed GOP campaign into an independent run for the White House. A wily observer of human nature, Mr. Trump quickly did an about-face after he discerned that the average American still prizes loyalty as a virtue.
This is not to say they have much in common, but businessmen like Donald Trump bring to mind another sort. In fact, my skepticism toward people who are less than charitable in the way they deal with people is based on personal experience. My father’s business was the subject of shenanigans played behind the scenes by a “friendly competitor” who also happened to be on the board of our bank. When dad’s line of credit was pulled, which spelled the demise of his small business, it became known the not so ethical competitor cast the deciding vote. All’s fair in love and war —and in business?
Republican President Richard Nixon is most infamously remembered for his leadership role in the Watergate scandal, which resulted in his resignation in 1974. But few conservatives recall that it was President Nixon who created what has turned out to be a fire-breathing dragon in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1970, the EPA has torched the property rights of far too many Americans, and one of our family businesses was one of its early victims. It’s unrestrained and unreasonable approach toward environmental stewardship has made it very clear that the EPA is less concerned about public service for the common good as is about the pursuit of its ideological zeal to create utopia on earth.
Am I bitter? I like to think not. Am I wiser? I like to think so. Am I more charitable? Ah, that’s the rub!
Fast forward to the 80’s, and a company I co-founded was being courted by a much larger competitor controlled by a hugely successful, and high-profile business leader with friends in high places —including Congress. He went to church on Sunday, donated large amounts of money to the likes of Mother Teresa, and then showed up for work seemingly untouched by grace. As an example, his number two in command, his daughter, bragged to a local journalist about their management training program, which included live-fire drills. In order to complete the training, you actually had to fire an employee, without cause or warning, just to gain the experience and prove that you were strong enough to do it. Shortly thereafter, father and daughter began serving time for unrelated federal crimes. The daughter’s husband, a likeable guy I had befriended through the profession, happened to have been the person who asked me to consider a deal. Our company turned down the offer without giving the matter much thought simply because the culture was not a good fit, to say the least. Then, when the federal charges started hitting the press, we heaved a huge sigh of relief. Tragically, some years later, my friend, a former big wig in what became known as Charlie Keating’s empire, committed suicide. According to a mutual friend, he was a mere shell of the man I once knew before committing the greatest act of desperation known to man.
This tragic situation reminded me of the sage advice my mother and countless others repeated to their sons and daughters: be careful of the company you keep.
Don’t get me wrong. Unlike Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, when they first ran for president, Donald Trump doesn’t appear to have any skeletons in the closet. Nor am I privy to any bad company he might be keeping, although he appears to see nothing wrong with crony capitalism which should be a major red flag for conservatives. Still, he appears to be a capable businessman and skilled negotiator. Regarding the latter, I assume he knows how to hold his cards close to his vest. However, his tendency to talk first and think later in public suggests that he couldn’t keep a deep dark secret even if his life depended upon it. While his level of unbridled candor might suit some, just imagine how well it would work if he gets his wish to become president of the United States, and assumes responsibility for all affairs of state. He could rise to the occasion, but do we want to stake the health and well-being of our nation, and that of the free world on it, regardless of the entertainment value?
Moreover, I recognize that Donald Trump could turn out to be the most lovable and skillful civic leader with an overgrown ego that I never met. As fanciful an idea as this might be, it is highly unlikely. And with what’s at stake, should we even be considering taking another giant-sized leap of faith? Granted, there is a part of me that relishes the thought of dozens of bumbling bureaucrats in the Executive Branch meeting face to face with someone who loves two little words: “You’re fired!” But me thinks this may also be the part that has me on familiar terms with the confessional.
At this point, some might be tempted to look at a “proven leader” such as Hillary Clinton, or even Vice President Joe Biden as worthy presidential material. Hillary’s ethical and judgment lapses aside, here again we have examples of people who have served in a number of high-profile political positions, and yet have little of enduring value to show for it. Still, both remain relatively popular, as if tenure trumps achievements (no pun intended), to say nothing of proven skills and abilities. No doubt Russia’s President Putin relishes the idea of a Clinton or Biden presidency. Another Clintonian reset on nuclear proliferation anyone? Heaven help us.
I’ve written previously about who I think, at this stage of the 2016 Presidential Election, deserves to receive top billing (here). And closer to the election, as in 2012, I will compile the resumes for the top candidates (here). In the meantime America, know that I love each and every one of you as fellow Americans —even if you choose to be unreasonable from time to time, just like yours truly. But please keep this in mind: If you cooperate directly or indirectly in electing the likes of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, you will get your just desserts: a very bad case of political indigestion.
— GCF —
The observations, comments, and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the employees, board members, advertisers, sponsors, or affiliates of the publisher or broadcaster, whichever is the case. This content is Copyright © the individual author(s) who reserves all rights unless otherwise stated. This content is published or broadcast with permission and is distributed by GetCurrentFast.com, a division of American Newzine, Inc.