The media has been giddy about Trump’s poll numbers and his hold on some of the hearts in the GOP electorate. His substantial lead has been a quick climb up the political ladder. However, the dramatic irony is the ladder is attached to a slide.
For me the first hour of the second debate made this obvious. In fact, watching Trump’s response to the CNN reporter after the debate makes you believe that Trump himself realizes it. He repeated several times to the reporter that there was “a lot good talent on the stage… lots of good people in this race… everyone did well, no losers.”
Trump recognized last night the power, passion, and genuine motives of his fellow republican candidates was real. He came face to face with the truth that he was up against people who didn’t live in television’s realm of pretense. I believe Trump noticed last night that the debilitating government trends and practices before us as a people cannot be played, nor solved, as a stage performance by undisciplined individuals. I cringe when reporters talk of these debates as “performances.” Do we really want choose a president under the guise of sensations that come with lights, cameras, images, and less then objective reporting?
His response about how he would like to be known by the secret service—HUMBLE—may have been a characteristic thumping his conscience last night as the debate unfolded. His duplicity was clearly exposed by Carly Fiorina. Tim Dickinson nailed the interchange with these words:
Fiorina’s moment was strongest because Trump had just been needling Jeb for saying he “misspoke” when he said America spent too much on women’s health and insisting that President Trump would be “wonderful” for women. The “face” question that followed by debate moderator Jake Tapper included Trump’s prevarication that he hadn’t meant to impugn Fiorina’s looks. Fiorina said only: “I think women heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
What is to be seen is if Trump will voluntarily go down the slide and accept the show is over. How will he respond when a majority of his supporters leave the playground? Will he sit atop the slide and continue a boisterous campaign or willingly let go of the sides of the slide and give himself (and his ego) a needed nudge. Perhaps the needed nudge will come from civically stronger and more viable candidates? Or even yet, he changes and allows humility to refine his power to be a candidate and a potential leader.
I am holding to my last article that the U.S. needs a president this time around who is teacher above all else, not by title, but by capacity. We have had plenty of businessmen, lawyers, and other professionals in the presidential chair. Very few, if any, have really been exceptional teachers. I am thankful that there is still over 13 months until the election. This gives us some time look around the playground.
America’s next president will have to boldly confront the character of the citizenry—which some candidates mentioned at the debate. Prior to the debate, one of them had written: “I am afraid we are on the front end of a lost generation. A generation with no hope and no faith is rapidly growing into adulthood.” In others words, the way I see it, they are climbing a ladder attached to a slide.
Reclaiming the character base, not just the tax base of this nation is going to require some exceptional, maybe even some distinctively latent gifts in the next president. Which means we can’t just judge his/her past but consider their potential. That president can’t be climbing a ladder attached to a slide.