Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ad Astra is Open Again!

I’m back because I can no longer stand to stay away. The primaries are already beyond the half-way point and soon it will be time for the conventions – and then the campaigns and the election. I’m so frustrated by the antics of Donald Trump that I just needed an outlet to let off steam and a way to present thoughts about what’s going on!
by Charlie Leck

When I closed up shop almost a year ago, I had a couple hundred faithful readers and many others who came occasionally by; and I was very flattered by that. At the height of the 2008 political campaign I had as many as 5,000 readers look in on the blog. I closed down, as I said in that final blog, because…

“As the pre-election polling results of the 2014 fall voting began to pour in, I became very despondent and angry. I felt enormous sorrow that so many Americans were beginning to find nourishment in the words and opinions of ultra-conservative Americans who I felt were foolish and often questionably motivated. America’s dash to the right at a time when moderation and courage were so desperately needed unhinged me in a very thorough manner.”

Back then it was a broken Congress that drove me to such remarkable levels of anger!
And now has come Donald Trump and I have been angered even further by his boorish and childish behavior as he runs for the office of President of the United States, as if it were just another adventure into business – as if he could bamboozle and scam the voters of the nation as he has skinned so many people in business. Need an example? Begin with “Trump University!” He scammed plenty of people for millions with that little adventure and the corporation is facing current law suits over it.

Yet, even more, I have been amazed at the number of people who believe in this bag of air, this disgorger of manure, this narcissist of the most dangerous order!
Somewhere, somehow this dangerous human being must be prevented from taking over the highest office in the land as if it were just another business that he could suck dry of its resources and then declare bankruptcy and walk away.

David Brooks wrote in the last few days (and I am paraphrasing): “This is the office once held by Abraham Lincoln!”

It was in that office, during my life time, that men of remarkably high caliber toiled faithfully on behalf of the nation – FDR, Ike, JFK, LBJ, RR, Bush father and son, Clinton and, right now, Obama! Each and every one of them treated the office with generous and loving respect.

I’ve spent a lot of time, in the last year, with a brilliant and important book by David Brooks (The Road to Character). I only wish to hell that Donald Trump had sat down with it and slowly allowed it to penetrate his mind and heart. (But I’ll say, in absolute honesty, that I don’t believe Mr. Trump is capable of reading and understand this particular book or any book that requires contemplation and resolve to understand.) Donald Trump is the antithesis of the people Brooks chooses to highlight for us that we may understand better the actual road that takes us to a place of high values and enlightenment –Frances Perkins, Dwight David Eisenhower and Dorothy Day.

Donald Trump could not begin to understand the crucial virtue of moderation – the kind of moderation that was an important part of the character of President Dwight David Eisenhower. That President was fully aware of the inevitability of conflict. Dealing with conflict with moderation, as Eisenhower did, is so much more helpful and productive than dealing with it in the angry and bullying manner of Donald Trump.

I’ve always taken for granted that the voters of the United States were looking for men and women of great character when it came to the presidency. When I see the hundreds of thousands of people who are jumping on the Donald Trump bandwagon, I must step back and question my own assumptions.

No longer do I care about the political party. I care only that men and women of great virtue lead our nation to the destiny in which the founding fathers so deeply believed. Donald Trump will not do that because he cannot!

“Moderation!” It is one of the traits that people of great character will possess. And, this is how Brooks defined moderation in his brilliant book.

“Moderation is a generally misunderstood virtue. It is important to start by saying what it is not. Moderation is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Neither is moderation bland equanimity. It’s not just having a temperate disposition that doesn’t contain rival passions or competing ideas.
“On the contrary, moderation is based on an awareness of the inevitability of conflict. If you think that the world can fit neatly together, then you don’t need to be moderate. If you think all your personal qualities can be brought together into simple harmony, you don’t need to hold back, you can just go whole hog for self-actualization and growth….
“Moderation is based on the idea that things do not fit neatly together. Politics is likely to be a competition between legitimate opposing interests… Eisenhower, for example, was fueled by passion and policed by self-control. Neither impulse was entirely useless and neither was entirely benign….
Brooks uses Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation as a remarkable example of this President’s sense of moderation. Ike warned against hubris, celebrated prudence and he called for balance.

For even a brief moment, does this sound like Donald Trump? Trump would, I am certain, fail, in addition to the moderation test, every single other examination that David Brooks’ book establishes to measure great character! Probably none of the current candidates for our nation’s highest office would pass these tests; however, none of them would fail as miserably as Donald Trump does.

Donald Trump must not be allowed to attain this high office. America is too great for that. Good and decent people must begin speaking up and aloud against the terrifying idea that Donald Trump might be President.

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