Guest Contributor Mike Out Yonder
My political position these days is simple: I’m None Of The Above, and learning to really enjoy it.
I think all sides have revealed themselves to be a mix of Idiot, Criminal, and Clown, and their attitude toward Trump, who as far as I can tell has only ever been either a Democrat or Republican in name only, betrays their ideological biases. He’s made enemies of both the Left and the Right, and the factions within each, and continues to splinter the two major parties into tribes with his every utterance or faux pas. He’s diplomatically crude, can’t help promoting himself at every turn, and unfamiliar with the Sacred Ways of Government. This causes both pain and pleasure as each side mocks or condemns the other over him and his antics. His evolving positions also make them all cringe and bemoan the loss of the Republic As We Know It.
On the other hand, he’s given another group of voters, both ideologically Left and Right, a reason to get involved, even if just watching more closely the train wreck called U.S. politics today. The beating of the elites of both sides of the political spectrum by this political cretin has been a joy to behold for many. I figure not since Andrew Jackson has there been a larger group of populist voters pulling for Trump, and they watch the outrage from the punditry and the elite political class with glee.
Trump stumbles through the political china shop like a bovine Rodney Dangerfield, and they all squeal in outrage at his unfitness and affront to their way of life. It is rather fun to see.
His detractors condemn his every step, the more rabid ones call for his downfall, and point to every new incident of ineptitude as proof of this lack of fitness for the Presidency. Never mind that cruder men than he held that office before him, and did more than being caught on a mic bragging about sexual prowess years before. The more insidious detractors keep the smoke of Russian influence thick in the air, hoping to wear out the weaker hearted by the sheer volume of smoke, or play up the seemingly endless dripping of mistakes and misguided decisions of the Trump White House. This is common in any new administration, but this time is exacerbated by entire groups of powerful people who have vowed to bring the man down one way or another, and continue to this day to plan and connive.
On the other hand, his devotees bask in the beam of his every smile, and consider him the pinnacle of political achievement; an Everyman finally put in power to show the bluebloods how a true American does it. His mistakes are small, his aims are high, and he’ll lead the parade back to the Good Old Days of American Values, 76 trombones and all. They are just as dangerous and amusing to watch as their counterparts, but thankfully are more amusing than dangerous, unless you get labeled as one of them just for giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. That really is dangerous, because it leads to closed minds and more polarization.
Political factions will always demonize the other, pointing to the most extreme views of their opponents as being normal for the entire group. They’ll always strive to convince the politically lazy and clueless that their side is always right and the other side is always wrong, and further the very polarization they all condemn in public. With Trump, they all have something different, a shared enemy to bring down, and they’ve spent the last nine months doing all they can to minimize, undercut, and otherwise usurp his every move and achievement, clumsy or not.
Then there’s me, and people like me. I have no idea how many there are, but am pretty sure my views are shared by more than my betters are willing to admit.
Trump to me is a tool, a cudgel to be used and discarded when the time presents itself. He’s a means to an end, a political Null to be used to drive out what I considered was wrong with American politics in general. With Trump, many of us could forego any allegiance to some party or other and just get the guy in office on his word, such as it was, Make America Great Again. Call it the anti-Party if you like, or the Protest vote, but either way, it achieved the desired result, and I figure will reap more rewards than just the SCOTUS for many years to come. I voted Republican because I lean more conservative, but am ashamed to be lumped with GOP, True Cons, Cons, Inc, Libertarians or any of the rest who still haven’t learned the lessons of Trump. That lesson is that the truth still matters and if you’ve spent a career spinning, whether in government or out, we’d rather do without you. I’d rather put an untrained clown car salesman in office than listen to any more of what the established parties and their paymasters want to do for me.
To me, Trump was and may still be a cad, but I don’t care. He may change his positions and views like the wind, but I won’t change mine, which are a mix of both liberal and conservative. He’ll be gone in four or eight years, but I still have to live with the mistakes and achievements he will have in office. I judge what is right for me and mine based not on purely ideological lines, but on my beliefs and experience, as most politically literate people do, but am not willing to compromise for the sake of getting along any longer. The party line is dying, and I’m glad to see it. They’re just two sides of the same coin now, and are all after my money to feed their pet victims or projects.
Trump has his charms, and seems to be a good-natured man who is good for some things, but not for others. He’ll never be all that good at chess, I bet, but he cares genuinely for the country, and I share that with him. He often says the wrong thing, has a famously thin skin, and comes off as a clown, even to those of us who strain to give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, I’d rather have him and his mistakes than the veneer of civility I’ve had to stomach up to now from the rest.
I’m enjoying his presidency, and until I actually see the wheels come off, he’s the best ride in town.