Arrogance and Donald Trump

Photo credit: Michael Vadon

Photo credit: Michael Vadon

I hear the word arrogant being used to describe Donald Trump. Theoretically, we as responsible voters should be asking ourselves, “Do I want someone who is arrogant to be the President of the United States of America?” But such commentary isn’t so much substantive as it is simple political gamesmanship. It focuses on appearance and style, while in terms of meaningful commentary, is strained, mis-focused and irrelevant.

The first thing that comes to mind is the arrogance of our current sitting President, now serving his second term. This person has not only appeared arrogant to his political foes, but has proved his arrogance time and again, both by statements he has made in the capacity of his office and by actions he has taken in the performance of that office. Obama truly is arrogant. To get an accurate reading of Trump’s supposed arrogance, it should be compared to Obama’s.

Other icons of arrogance are Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. But the fact that they both exemplify arrogance doesn’t seem to be such a newsworthy item. After all, they are Democrats. They supposedly wear the mantle of guardians of the People. And if they go a little bit too far, that’s OK. That’s not arrogance, that’s more like royalty or even sainthood. But a Republican frontrunner? The main guy in an elitist party that hates poor people and only looks to make a profit on the backs of those they oppress — he’s the arrogant one.

Ted Cruz 2016

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If you don’t get this sarcasm, let me clarify: Trump is not so arrogant. Trump exhibits strong leadership, which is so rare nowadays as to be unrecognizable when we see it. Strength in leadership is mistakenly seen as arrogance by people who are used to politically correct politicians who appear inoffensive, are willing to smile and say anything to keep people happily deceived, and yet all the while they are sneaking around stabbing people in the back. When you’re used to that kind of “leadership” you don’t know how to take it when a candidate actually stands for something and pulls no punches.

My dictionary defines arrogant as, “Overly convinced of one’s own importance; overbearingly proud, haughty.” The best leaders must be convinced of their own importance, but not overly so; proud, but not overbearingly proud. But frankly, I don’t think arrogance will be a determining factor in who is elected our next President. The main factor will be whose campaign gins up the most interest; which political machine will create the biggest draw. If you like a candidate, you will focus on their strengths; you see them as good at what they do. If you don’t like a candidate, you call them arrogant. Presidential elections are all about marketing — selling the public on the idea that one candidate offers better solutions than the others. The discussion of arrogance is simply a part of that selling process.

The American public has grown accustomed to pragmatic politicians. These are men and women who have convinced us that the solution to almost every human need is a government program. And because getting that job done is the most important thing, it doesn’t really matter how it’s done. This approach to government has done two things. It has brought us to the brink of financial ruin and it has thrown principles out the window.

Conservatives point to the Constitution as the blueprint of a government structure based on principles — principles that have largely been discarded or ignored by government, in favor of the discretion of our leaders. In essence, that is arrogance — putting personality-based pragmatism ahead of principles to which we should all be held accountable. If Donald Trump has done anything, he has forced a discussion — in both political debate and in media reporting — about the seriousness of illegal immigration. During the last Presidential election, that issue was placed on a back burner and hardly noticed. Trump has done this because he has not backed down one inch from his position after being attacked by almost everyone. That is strength of leadership, whether or not you like him or agree with him.

Illegal immigration is more than a simple political issue. Hopefully more Americans will come to see that in principle, only legal immigration to this nation is acceptable. Another principle I would like to see take hold is that our Constitution was never designed with a dominant central government in mind. With the exception of specifically enumerated powers, the Constitution confers most governing authority to the States and to the People. In principle, we are to be self-governing. The Constitution does not design the federal government to be the huge central government it has become. In principle, our very government defies the Constitution, and those in government have assumed an arrogance the constitution was designed to preclude in those who govern us.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or not, the real threat of arrogance won’t come from him. It will come from the fact that we have stopped discussing political concepts and have opted to discuss personalities instead. What do they look like? How do they act? What do they say? All style. No substance. I’d like to see political ideas really discussed. I’d like the national media to hold debates which include 3rd party candidates confronting the BIG TWO, to hear the principles those people really believe in. But national politics isn’t about ideas. It’s about power and money — the power of big political parties with big war chests. They want voters to be impressed with that power, so they don’t want to risk losing it by actually discussing political concepts.

In light of that power of the status quo, I respect Donald Trump for forcing them all to talk about things they would rather stay silent on.


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Michael Day is a native Californian and a retired mailman, proud of the fact that while most of his friends were protesting the war in Viet Nam, he volunteered for the draft and served in combat with the U.S. Army Infantry. His diverse life experiences range from singing with the San Diego Opera to doing menial labor and being involved in church leadership for twenty five years. His blog, http://retiredday.wordpress.com, is an expression of his deep convictions concerning freedom and Biblical faith.
Michael Day
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