“If you have no character your destiny is tragedy.” These words offered by former federal prosecutor John Flannery as he described the likely outcome of Donald Trump’s presidency and life. This notion of self-inflicted fate has been around for centuries as when Oedipus the King was advised by Tiresias, “Creon is not your downfall, no, you are your own” (Sophocles, circa 430 B.C.). The remarkable thing about the noose that appears to be tightening around Trump’s neck is that his nemesis, Robert Mueller, has yet to speak one word. Trump’s addiction to peevish impulse, fearmongering, and deceit are tightening the rope with virtually no help from others. All one must do is look at the faces of Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Miller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, et al—that are often either bursting with rage or spewing contempt—to know these folks are not only in deep trouble, they know they are in deep trouble. Contrast that with the seldom seen face of Mueller or, moreover, the face of John McCain even as he faced imminent death. When you are on the right side of honor, tranquility is easy.
McCain’s final words were full of gratitude, self-awareness, and grace. He spoke of the “privilege of serving,” of his “love for America,” and his “love of my family.” He easily acknowledged “I have made mistakes” and even in his life that included physical and psychological torture, and humiliating defeat, he claimed he was “the luckiest person on earth.” In the end, he knew he had “lived and died a proud American.” These are words of honor. These are words of a man at peace. He also had a message many thought was aimed at Trump.
We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.
Those same ‘many’ wonder if Trump was listening; if he got the message. But the question is not was Trump listening, the question is, are we?
McCain also deftly arranged his eulogies at his memorial service in the National Cathedral to be delivered by prior political foes, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He knew that the accolades of former adversaries would be more powerful than those of advocates. And, he wanted to show the world the spirit of his often stated credo: “we must serve a cause greater than ourselves.” Of McCain, Bush said,
John was above all, a man with a code. He lived by a set of public virtues that brought strength and purpose to his life and to his country. He was courageous, with a courage that frightened his captors and inspired his countrymen. He was honest, no matter whom it offended. Presidents were not spared. He was honorable, always that recognizing his opponents were still patriots […]
What follows here is a draft introduction of my next book, American Deliverance: Restoring the American Dream in the Post-Trump Era. I am sharing it with subscribers to provide an historical context and outlook on the question, What now? I hope to have it completed and published before we need it!
American Deliverance: Introduction
I was born in 1957, the peak birth year for Baby Boomers and the year the Soviets launched Sputnik into space which, just […]
The divisive tribal partisanship so many sociologists and political pundits talk about today may, in the November midterms in 2018 and presidential election in 2020, boil down to little more than an amplification of the gender wars previously explained in John Gray’s 1992 bestseller, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. A number of recent studies suggest Trump has succeeded in creating gender gaps in political preferences unseen in the history of American politics. […]
When my now nearly thirty year-old son was a toddler, his incessant demand was “Shall we read?” Or, phonetically, “Shall weeeee reeeeeed?!!” His favorite, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, is probably why I still cringe at cottontail roadkill. My daughter also acknowledged the family affection for books when, at “Bring Dad to School Day” in third grade, she was asked to introduce me and, in typical Dallas fashion, was also asked to describe […]
In my most charitable description, 2017 was a wake-up call for America; a year marked by surprise, anger, sadness and regret. In 2018, each of us must consider the blessings of the past and the challenges of the future while embracing an honest assessment of the role we must play in setting a course that reflects the values and dignity of predecessor generations. 2018 like 1776, 1865, and 1945 is one of those seminal years […]
As a recently baptized sexagenarian, the years seem to be slipping by much faster although, thanks to Trump, the last one seems like five. I’ll add this decelerating time-warp deception to the list of Trump swindles since that bizarre night, one year ago, when the Trump family took the stage in the Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York City. Dazed by victory, their heads spun around the outcome no one, including them, expected allowing them […]
Unintentionally, the defiance first exhibited by Colin Kapernick and later adopted by more than two hundred fifty NFL players, coaches, and owners (although with evolving and wide-ranging purposes) has provided Donald Trump with a new opportunity to dog-whistle his white nationalist base and feed his insatiable megalomania. Trump’s consistent aim—to divide the country and consolidate power in his petite pasty palms—has actually been bolstered by those who laud the kneelers while patting themselves on the […]