Posted by: JDM..... | February 17, 2017

The rock, the hard place…

and the Walmart tuxedo….

Good leadership seems to be made possible when those in positions of authority and power think of their situations as positions of leadership rather than as positions of authority and power, but are fully aware of the value of their authority and power. It takes a mixture of social presence, self discipline, and just enough pathology to facilitate doing things that the average bear either wouldn’t think of or wouldn’t be able to actually do if they did. History has examples of those who were excessively skewed one way or the other….too much “Mr. Nice Guy”, or too much negative pathology. The Democratic process normally weeds out the extremes, but I think we are living in a time of unusual stress and dysfunction within the population that is doing the weeding. I mean, why else would the people permit themselves to be limited to a choice between two forms of potential tyranny?

Hillary represented a known quality of “statist” thinking with a predictable progression to socialism. Her only viable challenger for the Democratic ticket was Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, though he tried to minimize the negative taste of that by qualifying himself as a “Democratic” socialist. Right. Is that anything like “celibate prostitution?”

On the opposite ticket, the Republicans rejected known conservatives, most with many years of experience, and brought forth an absolute wild card with observable Narcissism and no governmental experience. Even more surprising, not to mention indicative of the mood of the society, the wild card was elected.

Though it may sound a bit crazy, I think it was the only wise choice the people could have made, and here’s why.

Over the past few decades, Congress has been incrementally neutered by increasingly “progressive” policies that have enhanced the power and authority of the federal government while chipping away at the “checks and balances” built into our system of governance. The net result has been a distancing of those selected to lead from those who selected them. The people have become servants of the state rather than the other way around.

Potential third party challenges to the Demo-Republican franchise, such as the Libertarians, have been disappointing. Demonstrating rational civility doesn’t always do well against those willing and able to go the extra mile, even when much of it involves “trespassing”.

Therefore, the “people”, as it were, had to choose between a rock and a hard place, and I have no idea which candidate represented which obstacle. One choice ensured more of the same and then some more; the one thing the other choice offered was the suggestion that “more of the same” wouldn’t happen. The outcome was no landslide and no felony, despite the hype and counter-hype. Plenty of people either wanted “more of the same” or feared the unknown, but a choice was made in favor of the unknown. A surprisingly bright side is that the choice was made according to existing rules rather than by some scam created for the occasion. I wonder if people realize how close we may have come to the latter path. In any case, Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States, and people are now holding their breath to see how that will play out. As would be expected, that involves one segment emulating Chicken Little while pre-describing and reacting in advance to as-yet imaginary disasters, and another segment marching along in a near-religious fog of as-yet imaginary miracles.

President Trump still has some time left in which to set the character of his administration and how he as a “leader” will remembered, but not much, and thus far he remains skewed a bit too far into the pathological range. In another age, he’s one who could have been likely to declare himself a deity or a saint and to have acted accordingly.

My assessment would be that his most threatening opponent will prove to be his own mouth. I plead guilty to any as-yet unleveled accusations of practicing “Armchair Psychoanalyst”, my only qualification being my opinion and my only DSM being the same, and I say the man’s demon will be his Narcissism. I think the man has the potential to put a dent in our collective sense of entitlement as well as that of an equally afflicted governmental sector, if he will, and if he keeps his mouth shut.

Being a Guest of Honor at a banquet won’t help one who leans across the table and demands “Gimme the &*^%$ salt….” And insults everyone else at the table.

I don’t expect him to change.

My hope is that Congress will find the stones to offset his most egregious footfalls on the lawncookies of the world stage, and to provide some steerage to his erratic style.

My hope is that the sideshow won’t overwhelm legitimate attempts of his team to achieve some course corrections for the nation as a whole.  

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment, Jeff. I would love to see the Pres tone down his rhetoric a bit, but I fully understand it will take some doing on his part. Meanwhile the “Press” is having a field day with every brash statement he makes, claiming he is a liar and a fool, rather than just accepting the fact he likes to brag and moving on. They (the “Press”) are so petty it makes me sick. And some of them as so rude that I would love to see them lose their White House Press Credentials. Civility must be brought back to the news coverage. Clearly some of the members of the Press will not do so on their own.

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