Why Republicans and Democrats should thank Donald Trump

Posted: October 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

You remember the old Chinese tale:

Once upon a time a horse wandered into a village and a farmer thankfully took him as his own. All the villagers said, “How wonderful!” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

When the farmer’s son fell off the horse and broke his arm all the villagers said, “How terrible!” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

When war came and they were drafting young men into the army the boy was spared because of his broken arm and the villagers said, “How wonderful!” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”

There is too much randomness, unanticipated variables and chaos to really know if something is going to be good or bad in the end. You often don’t know until later and even then the whole story is yet to be told.

We just returned from a holiday in Nova Scotia and it was wonderful. But a storm came and we had to escape and that was terrible. But we ended up going other nice places we hadn’t planned and that was wonderful. But we ran into lots of people who were baffled and amused with American politics of the moment and that was terrible. Maybe.

I don’t have a glass ball to predict the future. Unanticipated consequences are always presenting themselves. But I have the idea that Donald Trump has been a gift to everyone involved in this political process from top to bottom. Now he’s a strange gift. In fact, most everything he is and says and encourages is like the negative of a photograph; by viewing the negative the positive is seen by contrast.

For the Democrats Donald Trump is a gift because he appears to be handing them the election. Whatever weaknesses Hillary Clinton possesses are simply eclipsed. The Dems haven’t earned this; they are being handed this like the team that wins because of the errors of their opponents.

Donald Trump is a gift for the GOP for a much more complex reason. He is actually handing them their future … if they will take it. For a host of inexplicable reasons he became their nominee. But because of that they are having a moment of painful clarity. Like the negative of that photograph they are already asking what they need to become in contrast.

This is very important to the health of the whole country. We need two or more dynamic parties to provide balance. Donald Trump may actually be helping the GOP to rediscover their party of reasonable principled conservatives. We have many examples of those leaders from history. There are future capable conservative politicians – especially those from the next generation – who can fill that bill. Because of Donald Trump they may choose to move away from the precipice and, though they don’t know it yet, Donald Trump may be their painful future gift.

This should give all of us pause. We need to consider a way out of this ridiculous polarization. I have a friend who has a bumper sticker for one candidate on her car. Just this week she pulled up to a stop light beside a vehicle bearing the bumper sticker of the other candidate. Because their windows were down on the nice day the other driver took the liberty to shout at her at the intersection. That’s the atmosphere we have now. It’s toxic.

We need to find the moral will to move forward with the best good for the most people, to be true to our ideals and garner the best from all our principled leaders. We need to cultivate a new generation of pragmatic problem solvers who know how to work together, get it done, and make balanced and wise decisions with integrity.

At our best we really do fine things as Americans. We must remain committed to to creating a more perfect union. I am confident we will. I hope that in retrospect we will look back and see what important part this strange political season has played in making it so.

But, as the Chinese farmer said, “We’ll see.”

 

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