President Trump stood toe to toe with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Kim blinked. China brought North Korea to the table with real negotiations and verifiable arms reductions.
Puerto Rico got the full support of the military in an operation the scope of which has been unseen since the Berlin airlift. Grateful Puerto Ricans feel more American than they ever had in the aftermath of Maria.
Under Trump’s leadership, the Senate finally devised a roadmap for a real Obamacare repeal, when the president summoned John McCain to the White House and mended old wounds. Mitch McConnell was given full support to use the Senate’s procedures and even input from Democrats on the best way to wind down Obamacare.
The president invited Colin Kaepernick to the White House, along with Jerry Jones, Mike Tomlin, and Roger Goodell to find ways to honor America while preserving the spirit of free speech in the NFL, without ruining the unity and sportsmanship of the game.
Of course, by now you know that this is fantasy–or even parody.
But that’s what winning really looks like.
Winning for Donald Trump is taking the left’s worst possible arguments and methods, the most outrageous and weak demonstrations of their worldview, and pinning them to those specific issues. The media, Hollywood, and liberal sports figures, in that order, have been his seams of attack.
Boy howdy, it has worked. Donald Trump has won. He has made the Left look petty, weak, foolish, violent, and cheap. He has made the press go student-body left or student-body right at his command. He has made the NFL kneel for the National Anthem in unity–against him.
And in the process, Donald Trump has cheapened America, the presidency, the government of the United States, and the sacred symbols and traditions of our nation. Men and women have fought and died for the flag, tears have welled up when Taps is played a final time, and a folded flag is handed to loved ones. These symbols and traditions are mere weapons in the hands of the weaponized president, Donald Trump.
They exist for him to use so he can “win.” This is what winning looks like to Donald Trump. Kicking someone when they’re down. Putting his friends, supporters, and even family members in impossible devil’s bargains between personal loyalty, conscience and principle, and their own financial and job security.
Nobody is safe. Robert Kraft had to choose his team over his friend and associate Donald Trump. Jerry Jones had to choose his team over his flag and patriotism. Stephen Bannon had to choose Roy Moore (who won) over Trump’s own choice Luther Strange. Jeff Sessions had to choose humiliation and even disgrace in order to serve his country and his party.
The petty Nero sitting in the White House suffers nobody to win except himself. He suffers no consensus that does not satisfy his cupidity and limitless ego. He wins at all costs, even costs that are too high to bear.
One day, those costs may include lives.
This is not to say Donald Trump is the only politician who has won in this manner, or has cost lives. American political history is replete with examples, dead and still living.
But no president in modern history has made it their personal credo, publicly and shamelessly, with such breadth and stupendous effect, as Donald Trump. Not Johnson, not Nixon, not Clinton, not Obama. I didn’t mention the two Bushes because it would not even occur to either of them to pursue such a course of unbridled hubris.
The shame of it all is that Trump could win the other way, if he so desired. So many want him to succeed. So many want him to win. So many want to be lifted up.
Winning the Donald Trump way leaves one–even if the end result is acceptable–feeling sullied. Dirty, as if the win was obtained by cheating or ignoring the rules and simply ordering it so against nature. It is the feeling a bully gets when the weak has yielded up the lunch money or the dessert cookie, or if the bully took the weak kid’s cookie and gave it to you.
Donald Trump has no remorse for winning this way, as it has always been his way.
So far, he has spared Christians from his humiliating acts of bullying. But he has not spared kneeling. Tim Tebow also kneeled on the football field, but to God not because of Donald Trump.
One day, Christians might (I would expect, will) find themselves on the “wrong” side of an issue Donald Trump is using to pin his political or social enemies to a weak position. When that happens, how many of us will be forced to kneel with those with whom we disagree, but in unity against Trump.
When that happens, will we find ourselves publicly humiliated. Look at how Trump treated Bob Vander Plaats back in 2016:
.@bobvanderplaats is a total phony and dishonest guy. Asked me for expensive hotel rooms, free (and more). I said pay and he endorsed Cruz!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2016
Vander Plaats is an honorable man, a good Christian. Trump lied about him and publicly threw mud on the guy because he supported Ted Cruz. Here’s another one slamming Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
.@drmoore Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016
Dr. Moore is one of the most kindhearted, principled, God-fearing men in ministry, period. But he didn’t support Donald Trump.
One day, probably soon, from his bully pulpit as president, Donald Trump will tweet something about a church, or what a particular denomination is doing that he doesn’t agree with. He will do it thoughtlessly, without regard to consequences, as a throwaway to pin the Left to some weak argument, or to distract from things he doesn’t want in the news.
The effect will be our own pastors being placed in a position to kneel in unity opposing Trump, or to place their own consciences and right-standing before God in jeopardy.
Who would make such a bargain? Some already have. I needn’t remind anyone of Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell, Jr. They haven’t been called upon to make any earth-shattering denials of their faith, but who would put it beyond Donald Trump to call upon them to do so if it served his purposes?
All of this is useless and needless gilding of lilies in need of no gild. Trump can win without it, because so many want him to win, for America, for conservatives, for religious freedom, for conscience, for family values. But Donald Trump only wants to win for Donald Trump.
America: We have no more vexing problem than this. If this man is allowed to continue feeding his own ego in ways that tarnish and compromise even those who benefit from his winning, none of us will really win.
Except Donald Trump.