Don’t Follow Our Leaders. Follow Our Leader.

Don’t Follow Our Leaders. Follow Our Leader. June 11, 2018
Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

NOTE: The Korea/America summit is over and so far at least, it looks hopeful.  At the least, the possibility of war is now off the table. 

I hesitate to write this because I’m at cross purposes.

I’ve been praying Rosaries for President Trump’s meeting with North Korea. I’ve prayed that the meeting will avert war, that the President will avoid the excesses of his personality. 

I pray that he won’t be so eager for bragging rights on a “deal” with North Korea that he sells us down the drain to get it. I pray also that he won’t be so eager to use the negotiations to prove his manhood that he ends up increasing hostility. I pray that he will represent America’s interests and not Russia’s. 

I guess I pray for a miracle. I wish President Trump — and all the rest of us — great success in this venture. 

At the same time, I am, as usual, appalled by his recent behavior and lack of statecraft, specifically by the carryings-on at the G7 Summit. I am not attempting to debate the merits of imposing tariffs. I actually think there is something to arguments that America has been used as a cash cow by other nations. I also know that this is an area where we need to be smart about what we do. 

I’m not even going to say that I think the only boor at the table was our president. The reports are written from the outside, and as usual with anything about President Trump, they are filtered through the sieve of whatever agenda the writer has about our president.

But from what I can tell, at least the Canadian Prime Minister used President Trump’s reputation for being a jerk and having a crazy personality against him to grandstand for the home crowds. All I can say, is that this was inevitable.

These are not underlings the president is playing with. They are heads of state who know a thing or two about reading people and holding the reins of government. They read Trump earlier, and now they’re using what they learned against him. His childish behavior is coming home.

As usual, our President reacted in a personal and predictable manner, which will feed further manipulations in the future. Trudeau made his political speech for the home crowd and Trump responded with name-calling, sanctions and tariffs.

What he doesn’t see is that they’ve figured him out. He’s predictable. They know that if they do certain things, he will respond with an idiotic tweet and an immediate flashback. Once that happens in grown-up full-speed politics, once they figure out how to get you to react, you are fair game.

As usual, the President’s personal behavior; his name-calling, childish attempts to out-grip other world leaders in hand-shakes and general uncouth jerkiness; have made more news than his positions on issues. What’s worse, he’s given every world leader at the summit the chance to play to their home crowds about standing up to the bully American.

He’s being played, and us along with him. He not only reneged on an agreement that he had signed hours earlier, he called the Prime Minister of Canada names, and responded to a speech by changing United States trade policy, all in a tweet. 

When Trump bots go at defending this man, it makes me want to repeat a line from Animal House when one of the characters said “I can’t believe I threw up in front of Dean Wormer.” That line is, Face it Flounder, you threw up ON Dean Wormer.

President Trump is an embarrassment. He’s doing harm to America.

Which leads me to another point. This may seem disconnected, but I’m going to tell you why and how it connects, at least in my mind. So bear with me.

Last night, a famous movie star evidently decided to end a totally unconnected-to-Trump introduction he was making with a vulgar slang term for sexual intercourse followed by the President’s last name. This bit of mindless stupidity earned him a standing ovation. 

I’m inclined to think there’s a bit of monkey-see, monkey-do in this behavior. After all, our president is no stranger to cursing, crudity and outrageous, trashy personal insults. His language and behavior are inappropriate in any responsible context, and outrageous for the President of the United States. 

I am inclined to think that people who behave as he does invite other people to behave the same way back at them. This does not mean that one excuses the other. 

President Trump is responsible for his boorish behavior, and the actor in question is responsible for his boorish behavior. Not only that, but the audience members are responsible for cheering this kind of thing. 

I’m not really concerned about any of these people. They are behaving like fools, and I’m not going to worry about them. 

But I would like to caution Public Catholic readers to think once, twice, and then think again before they engage in this kind of behavior. We are not called to follow our national leaders when they behave like this. We are called to follow our Leader.

Remember before you open your mouth that you are a Christian. People judge Jesus by you. You are, just like these other people, answerable for what you say and do. 

Don’t go around talking like foul-mouthed idiot trash. If you support President Trump, that’s ok. If you oppose him, that’s also ok. If, like me, you think he has some good ideas mixed in with some terrible ideas and is a serial sexual predator/compulsive liar/braggart/bully, that is also ok. 

Like him or don’t; that’s your choice. Just please, whatever you do, don’t behave like him. It is truly ironic that many of President Trump’s detractors are behaving just as badly as he does. They seem to be trying to match him, stupid for stupid, crude for crude, mean for mean. 

I challenge all of us, including me, to offer another option with our behavior. Let’s demonstrate what thoughtful, sincere Americans do in public discussion. Let’s behave as if Jesus Christ is our Lord and we follow Him and no one else. 

As for the talks in Korea, I will continue to offer up Rosaries for them. I’m praying for a miracle here. I’m praying that both these men will decide, at least for a while, that this is not about them and them alone. That it is more than another proving ground for  their insecurities about their manhood. I am praying that they, for once in their lives, will work for the common good of all the human race. 

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16 responses to “Don’t Follow Our Leaders. Follow Our Leader.”

  1. Well I’ve grown to love President Trump! I was skeptical in his early days but boy has he grown on me. He thinks and acts out of the box. Not the same old routine politician that everyone always rails against but fails to embrace when he stands right there in front of them breaking free of the conventions they railed about. Yeah, President Trump has rough edges and maybe he is a boor. But hey, that’s a New Yorker! Like me. 😉 And what counts is not whether you like him or not or whether he’s the type of friend you want to hang out with. What counts is whether he’s moved your agenda forward. And he’s decidedly moved my agenda forward.

  2. It occurs to me that by allowing them the purely theatrical “standing up to the boorish American” he allows them to save face while actually getting MORE of what counts out of these negotiations than would otherwise be possible.

    In other words, it is all an act.

    If he ends the 65 year cease fire and the Korean War peaceably, he rightfully will go down as one of the best negotiators in history. No matter how “boorish” you may think he is, in his world, the means is justified by the ends. And let’s face facts- 12 previous presidents have tried, and failed, to get the Kim family to the negotiating table.

    • I agree Ted; with the proviso that it is not in our best interests as a nation to abrogate our alliances with the Western democracies. If it was all an act for the summit — a distinct possibility — we’ll see that in the future.

      • Where I am not so certain that it is in our best interests to have alliances with anybody. Our alliances with Western democracies seem to be growing towards more trouble than they are worth.

        But then again, I’m a localist. I’m not real sure that Oregon, Oklahoma, or Ohio should be allied with Washington DC, let alone with other “Western Democracies” that are currently heading more towards tyranny of amorality than democracy in the first place.

        • DT has made the alliances with Western democracies the way they currently are—-he has ruined any confidence and trust they had in our country. DT has messed up our country and has succeeded in ruining us in the rest of the world.

          • They should NEVER have trusted America to begin with. We’ve been the big bully, the cultural imperialist, for far too long, spreading our “pennies before people” philosophy of hatred and death everywhere. Maybe it is time for something new. A situation where America is more able to stand on our own two feet- and encourages others to do so as well.

            What I’d love to see is a ban on Americans interfering in the free elections of other nations, like the pro-abortion crowd recently did in Ireland.

            • Ireland’s votes are just that—theirs. We have nothing to do with it. If the people of Ireland didn’t want women to have a choice on abortion, then they would have not voted the way they did. This is 2018, not 1818 or before……

      • Personally I don’t even care about our alliances with Europe any more. The existential threat is not from Russia any more. It’s in the east with China. If the entire Korean pennisula becomes an American ally, boy is that a strategic victory. As to the European countries, I don’t even like them any more. They are culturally what I don’t want America to become. They have embraced atheism and all the progressive cultural policies.

  3. I’d find it almost comical if it wasn’t so serious, that DT, acted like UN’s best buddy during the Summit. He complimented UN, praising his intelligence, humor, etc. when the man has family members killed, as well as the people of his country. UN is not a nice man. Apparently from what I understand, this “agreement” is just like or similar to the one signed with the South Korean’s a short time back. DT has absolutely no idea what is involved. How can DT like cruel dictators and alienate our Allies? Russia, UN and other dictators attract our pretender to the Oval. The only good thing right now is that at least, for the moment, DT isn’t shouting insults at UN. IMO the only reason this “meeting” took place was so DT could stroke his own ego. He failed in his attempt to have Jared solve Israel and Palestine’s conflict and proceeded to move our Embassy. Thus, his next trick was to meet with UN. The USA got nothing out of this meeting—–NK got just what they wanted. They played us—-completely. As I have probably said previously on this site and others, I do not recognize DT as leader of our country. I just can’t. As far as I’m concerned we are leaderless. Pence isn’t any better.

  4. “…If, like me, you think he has some good ideas mixed in with some terrible ideas…”?
    I think a more accurate description would be that his ideas are ultimately intended to benefit him without regard for others, and if by some chance those ideas benefit others without compromising what he perceives to be his advantage, well then, that still works to his advantage.
    So no, I don’t, like you “…think he has some good ideas mixed in with some terrible ideas.”

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