Constitutional Vanguard: Dealing with the Scourge of Trump: Go Forth Into the World in Peace
My free newsletter this week is up, and deals with how a follower of Christ might think about dealing with the problem of spineless politicians who want to coddle Donald Trump despite his recent attack on our democracy. I take cues from today’s Gospel lesson and from the blessing our pastor gives us at the end our service each week
Reading today’s Gospel lesson, and reflecting on this blessing, it occurs to me that I spend too much time being angry at people like Mace, Roy, McConnell, and others. In fact, with all their political power, they are simply “the fainthearted” and in a sense “the weak” in the above blessing. The word “privileged” has too many connotations to wokeism to be useful, but these folks are indeed “privileged” in most of the ways that the woke crowd means when they use the word: they are economically comfortable, they have an elevated status in society by virtue of their political offices, and they have a good measure of power over how Americans live our lives. But they are fainthearted, and they are weak in character. And it occurs to me that, rather than being angry at them all the time, it might be helpful to try to strengthen them and help them not to be fainthearted. And to the extent that they are weak in character (and they clearly are), perhaps we ought to support them — not in the sense of “supporting” their weakness, of course . . . quite the opposite: to support them and help them to overcome their weakness. To give comfort to the angels on their shoulder, and help them reject the devil on the other.
It’s over 2,000 words of free ice cream, and you can read it here, or get it delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing here. Paid subscribers get extra stuff, but even if you’re not going paid, check out the post and let me know what you think.
I’ll allow comments here, but do me the favor of reading the whole piece before you simply react to the quoted passage.Patterico (115b1f) — 2/28/2021 @ 12:58 pm
Dude, Trump broke you. It’s very sad to watch this.Amerigo Chattin (330a36) — 2/28/2021 @ 2:40 pm
Dude, Trump broke America. It’s very sad to watch it.norcal (01e272) — 2/28/2021 @ 2:44 pm
Wish you were joking, Norcal. It is very sad. All these guys running around worried about if Trump is criticized, that’s also pretty sad.Dustin (4237e0) — 2/28/2021 @ 3:40 pm
But you’re still hung up on the Trump persona rather than rooting out the source and cause as to why he succeeded.
It didn’t happen overnight.
You won’t find that answer by turning to the Lord, either. God helps those who help themselves. Examine 40 years of conservative, establishment GOP fertilizer sales, [try the ‘family values,’ ‘moral majorities,’ and ‘trickle-down’ departments] – ‘the do as I say, not as I do crowd’- and you might just uncover why this crop of populism rooted and bloomed. It’s a bitter reality. These lower and middle class voters were used, seduced and abandoned just one cycle too many. And the likes of an establishment Liz or a Pierre are not the path to salvation.
““Cassius was right. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.’ Good night and good luck.” – Edward R. Murrow, CBS News ‘See It Now’ 3/9/54DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 4:22 pm
These lower and middle class voters were used, seduced and abandoned just one cycle too many. And the likes of an establishment Liz or a Pierre are not the path to salvation.
As long as the Bush/neocon wings continue to convince themselves that their rejection by the GOP base was simply a matter of sudden character deficiencies on the part of the voters, they’re going to continue indulging in these sour grapes and continue wandering in the political wilderness until they finally settle on one party or another.
It’s a bit difficult to argue that the GOP base is no longer interested in things like “strong defense,” small government,” or “limited spending” when the party leaders rarely put so-called principle into practice. Especially after they effectively surrendered on the social side of the culture war, and their offspring like Liz Cheney continue to fight tooth and nail to keep deploying American troops to the Middle East 10 years after Bin Laden was killed, 20 years after 9/11, and 30 years after Desert Storm. To the extent they’re no longer interested in those things, it’s due in no small part to the party during the Bush era rarely delivering on what was promised, going all the way back to “read my lips.”
“Cassius was right. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.’
We’re still very early in this Populares vs Optimates struggle that fully kicked off 12 years ago after TARP was passed. I’m not so sure we’ve even gotten to the Gracchi stage, yet, but the real fun begins if a modern version of Sulla emerges and uses the military and intel agencies to start the executions and mass purges.Factory Working Orphan (f916e7) — 2/28/2021 @ 4:58 pm
@6. It kicked off January 20, 1981.
Until they clean house, admit cause and effect — and publicly accept responsibility, they’ll be stuck wandering in the wilderness for a decade or more.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 5:10 pm
3.Dude, Trump broke America. It’s very sad to watch it.
Dude, Trump is a Reagan Creation.
Game. Set. Match.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 5:14 pm
Donald who? It’s over, folks! There was a festering wound but it’s starting to heal and the maggots are only feeding off of each other now. And by maggots I mean Trump and his supporters. That’s why see their fevered swarming. Because each other is all they have left to eat.nk (1d9030) — 2/28/2021 @ 5:43 pm
I mean, look at this:Trump rants in CPAC speech that women’s sports ‘will die’ if trans athletes are allowed to compete
That’s what they have to offer? 100% all-natural, organically-grown, scent “of a woman”, at WBNA games?nk (1d9030) — 2/28/2021 @ 6:10 pm
*WNBA*nk (1d9030) — 2/28/2021 @ 6:12 pm
Well, Rick Scott must have been informed in advance he’s the equivalent of a #16 seeded gone by lunchtime in the Central Time Zone seed in the Florida bracket. Strange New Respect awaits.urbanleftbehind (085dbf) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:17 pm
Several years back, my wife read this and found it useful.
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal LibertyKevin M (ab1c11) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:45 pm
Trans athletes will fall out of favor once Trump starts ignoring them.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:47 pm
Dude, Trump is a Reagan Creation.
Why do you keep repeating this slur? It’s not only a lie, but it’s a damned lie.
I wish our host could prevent certain commenters from using certain words. For DCSCA it would be any phrase containing “reagan” or “gipper”Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:49 pm
You’d think Trump was still president.JF (4af4ca) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:51 pm
I would add “glorious” and “1964” to that list.norcal (01e272) — 2/28/2021 @ 7:53 pm
Why do you keep repeating this slur?
I dunno, Kevin. Trump had to get his showbiz itch from somewhere. True, Trump looks nothing like Reagan. True, it would require both Reagan and Marry Anne MacLeod Trump to step out on their respective marriages. True, Reagan was stationed in California at the time while Mary Anne was in New York and there were wartime restrictions on travel. Still … it could be possible.nk (1d9030) — 2/28/2021 @ 8:20 pm
I dunno, Kevin. Trump had to get his showbiz itch from somewhere. True, Trump looks nothing like Reagan. True, it would require both Reagan and Marry Anne MacLeod Trump to step out on their respective marriages. True, Reagan was stationed in California at the time while Mary Anne was in New York and there were wartime restrictions on travel. Still … it could be possible.
“Coincidence, I think not!”Kevin M (ab1c11) — 2/28/2021 @ 8:30 pm
“the party during the Bush era rarely delivering on what was promised”
Politics is about persuasion and compromise. I’m curious as to what you believe that you were owed….and whether government is really the tool to achieve it….and whether Trump and Trumpism is the best vehicle to achieve it. Does it bother you that the President pushed a fraud thesis that he literally had no evidence to back up…..which led to people dying and being seriously hurt. The down playing of Covid….the senseless pressuring of Ukraine over Biden….the sniping at Mueller….the punching down at any perceived slight or opposition. How is someone who professes concern over the culture not concerned about defective character?
I get your complaint about constant military deployments but both sides of the aisle have had a whack at it…..and I’m content with not giving extremists a comfortable base of operations to resprout heads and get confident. It’s expensive but so is pretending there’s nothing at stake. We can’t ignore the next Bin Laden.AJ_Liberty (a4ff25) — 2/28/2021 @ 8:37 pm
A. It’s not a slur- unless you’re ashamed of Trump’s association and nurtured growth t Ronnie’s gaudy, excessive, junk-bonded, cesspool of the boom-boom 1980s.
B. Ashamed of ‘Reagan’ and ‘gipper’ too? As a Nixon apologist you should be pleased he’s definitely not associated w/The Big Dick.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 9:47 pm
@17.Too bad AuH20 didn’t.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 9:48 pm
nk’s got it ‘right’ at #9.
He’s gone, kids.
So why let him rent space in your heads? He’s only going to stiff you when the rent comes due. But as w/all great carnival side show barkers, you can’t look away.
You got who and what you wanted; The Donald is gone and President Plagiarist is in. What did Joey do today?
Did anybody cover it or report it?DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 9:53 pm
Politics is about persuasion and compromise.
That would be news to conservatives. See McConnell’s Obama and Trump years for details.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 9:56 pm
@15. Kevin, aside from item 15 on the Newsmax list [they overlook Ford] this is from a conservative source no less:
15 Things Trump and Reagan Have in Common
And this: Matt Tyrnauer: How Reagan Paved the Way for Trump
And this: ‘A group of 70 senior government officials who worked with various Republican administrations dating back to Richard Nixon endorsed President Trump for re-election on Monday, citing his accomplishments on foreign policy and national security.
In an open letter, 70 former officials, including governors, senators, national security advisers, military generals and ambassadors from the Trump, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Reagan, Nixon and Ford administrations, lauded the president for pursuing a “strong foreign and national security policy in America’s interests.”‘ – source, https://redstate.com/tladuke/2020/09/29/former-reagan-and-bush-officials-endorse-trump-prior-to-first-debate-n260849
“Oh my!” – Dick Enberg, NBC Sports/CBS SportsDCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 10:40 pm
I am sure we can find 15 things reagan and hillary clinton have in common like not being able to remember things before grand jurys and congress. 74,000,000 voters are not all insurrectionists ;but join forces with trump against the common enemy free trade economic libertarians. Milton freidmans ideas brought forward by reagonomics. If trump is anything he his a southern democratic populist like huey long. He won in 2016 running as a southern democrat populist in a hollow shell republican party fed up with conservative economic libertarian free trade. By the way this has nothing to do with attacking the libertarian party as some here accuse me of attacking. As I have said before “The enemy of my enemy is my friend!” Stalin a communist of sorts. churchill an imperialist and colonialist and roosevelt an anti-imperialist anti-colonialist had nothing in common except their hatred of hitler. As diverse voters came together in hatred of hillary clinton. More people hated trump ;but in the wrong place mainly california. All 74,000,000 may not all love trump ;but they all hate milton freedman and reaganomics.asset (dfef2c) — 2/28/2021 @ 11:28 pm
26. I am sure we can find 15 things reagan and hillary clinton have in common
We know of one: they both backed AuH20.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 2/28/2021 @ 11:41 pm
“All 74,000,000 may not all love trump ;but they all hate milton freedman and reaganomics.”
Wow, that’s quite the assertion….you may want to show your workAJ_Liberty (a4ff25) — 3/1/2021 @ 4:11 am
I feel like the burden of proof is on the GOP to prove these are relevant and not the other way around.Time123 (53ef45) — 3/1/2021 @ 6:18 am
So all the Trumpers saying we needed to STOP SOCIALISM really meant we needed to STOP REAGANOMICS. And anyone who really hates Milton Friedman would vote for a hyena over Joe Biden.
It’s all so clear now.Radegunda (20775b) — 3/1/2021 @ 8:35 am
Self-reflection here – Maybe I’m of weak character along the lines of the McConnells, Cruzes, Hawley of the world.
But not out of fear of Trump’s superfans… but, out of fear of the general direction of the Democratic party in power.
Maybe because I’m such a cynic…because, what is good with only having principles and losing elections?
To me, a more pragmatic approach is this:
1) be engaged during the primary process
2) support whomever is your party’s candidate post-primary (despite any misgivings)
3) invoke Reagan’s 11th Commandment during election season (Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.)
4) once elected, push for your desired agendas while acknowledging whether or not your misgivings were right.
5) be engaged for next primary election to support your desired candidate and repeat.
If I were the pipeworkers in the Keystone project, I’d rather have a raging bunghole in the WH while I still have a job, than to lose my job due to Democrat’s agendas and keep my uncompromised political principles.whembly (446c04) — 3/1/2021 @ 8:51 am
What is better about having no principles and losing elections?Radegunda (f4d5c0) — 3/1/2021 @ 10:55 am
@32 Nothing. Both are losing elections and your preferred agendas won’t see the light of day.whembly (6c6692) — 3/1/2021 @ 11:18 am
whembly, maybe the pipefitters would have, but in general Biden is much more popular then Trump. Which is amazing give how mediocre Biden is.Time123 (53ef45) — 3/1/2021 @ 12:04 pm
I think your number 2 needs a exception for the completely corrupt, the alt-right, and the barking mad.Time123 (ca85c9) — 3/1/2021 @ 12:05 pm
I’m not sure what was the great courage of Kyaw Moe Tun, the Ambassador from Myanmar (Burma) to the United Nations. Of course he would lose his job, unless the UN backed the old government, but if he stayed on as a sycophant, besides that being not what he wanted to do, he could lose his job anyway in a few months – and have much greater difficulty claiming political asylum.Sammy Finkelman (57e37d) — 3/1/2021 @ 12:41 pm
@35 The point is, its easy to maintain uncompromised principles when your livelihood isn’t going to be impacted much by our politician’s agendas. It’s harder when you lose your job over some inane policy of a particular political party.
If you’re center-right or conservative, it’s defensible to stay in the GOP party even if there are leadership you strenuously object. Because voting for Democrats means you will rarely see, if any, policies that you’d like to see.
That’s why, my cynical take is that maintaining uncompromised principles and losing elections is objectively worse when facing the insanity that is the Democratic agenda. Politicians are in power in fixed terms. It’s much harder to undo what the Democrats are advocating for… just look at Obamacare.whembly (867f2f) — 3/1/2021 @ 12:54 pm
Whembly, You have a good point in general. But in the case of Trump he didn’t seem to be focusing on policy goals that are really important to me. He talked about some of them. But for me is pitch was “Dems are worse.” While that has some truth his corruption and lack of patriotism caused too much damage on their own.Time123 (ca85c9) — 3/1/2021 @ 1:22 pm
Patterico, that was a wonderful post. Obviously, you sincerely try to live your faith, while admitting your failings and striving to do better. That in and of itself is a blessing. It makes you more complete of a human and more devout as a Christian. Your wife is blessed to have you as a husband, but not as blessed as you are to have her as a wife, which I am sure you will admit without hesitation.
Your weekly Sunday missives, with Gospel readings and Bach Cantatas, are profound and inspiring. Thank you for them. But if I could make a recommendation as to how you can enrich your faith, may I suggest you study Gerard Manley Hopkins?
He studied Greek and Latin at university, Oxford I believe, and occasionally wrote poetry, but when he decided to enter the seminary and study to become a Jesuit, he burned all his poems and devoted himself to Christ. It takes thirteen years of rigorous study to be anointed a Jesuit priest, so he didn’t write any poetry for almost two decades, but as he meditated and walked around the grounds of the monastery, he kept playing around with this rhythmic form in his mind. He called it “sprung rhythm,” and it’s very complex, but very basically each line is comprised of five metric feet of varying syllables with alternating stresses, strong and alternate, and slacks.
Then one day he read in the newspaper about a terrible shipwreck. Germany had passed the Falke laws in 1865 and exiled all Catholics. Five Franciscan nuns were aboard a ship, the Deutschland, fleeing persecution in Germany and seeking sanctuary in Britain. But the ship ran aground on a sand bar just off the coast during a storm, and they all perished.
This was like the 9-11 of the time. People could not grasp how these innocent nuns, sisters of Christ, could suffer such a horrible fate, drowned mere miles from sanctuary. Deeply disturbed by this account, Hopkins went to his rector and asked permission to write a poem dedicated to the nuns. Long and complex, it was the first poem he had written in twenty years, and honestly I consider it one of the most deeply profound poems of faith in English literature.
Newly freed, Hopkins began writing poetry again, be he only wrote a little over fifty poems. His journals are much more fascinating, because in those he conceives a construct of nature in term of poetry in the body of Christ.
For example, the monastery where he lived was on a beautiful gladed field. It had lovely landscaping, which the priests and seminaries tended. It wasn’t a church per se, meaning they didn’t give sermons or minister the Sacraments for lay people, only for the priests and seminaries on the grounds; it was more like a retreat. But it did have these granite walkways, comprised of chips of various colors, like white, black, red, pink, orange, etc..
Hopkins would awake before dawn, then go outside and lie face down on a dew-covered walkway, and await sunrise. At daybreak, the church bell would ring and the sunlight would cause the dew-covered granite to sparkle like a kaleidoscope in his eyes. Then he stood and looked up, and there in the sky was a soaring falcon; it looked like a cross hovering in the air. To him, this was perfect harmony, nature in the body of Christ–dawn, the church bell, the kaleidoscope, a falcon in the form of a cross soaring in the sky. So he wrote a poem to capture the moment and the revelation.
Gerard Manley Hopkins is among the greatest of English poets, certainly one of the most Christian. If you do decided to study him, and you should, both his poetry and journals, I would recommend a book to guide you in your studies, Inscape: The Christology and Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, by James Finn Cotter.
Happy reading. And may the Lord be with you.Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1) — 3/2/2021 @ 12:26 am