So does Donald Trump. He flies about the country like a Roman emperor, gathering multitudes of his faithful to come and behold him. He struts and frets his hour upon the stage, signifying nothing. The believers revel in his strength and righteousness, and he draws power from their ringing acclaim. His wrath is mighty, and he smites his enemies with the power of his word. He is a prophet, delivered to his people that they, too, may be delivered, and partake of his righteousness. Through him, the people speak with one voice, and a mighty sound is heard across the land. “Make us great again!” cry the multitudes, and he takes them to his mighty breast and succors them.
It seems like a very manly way to run for President, and I’ll bet he loves every minute of it. It just won’t work. There aren’t enough believers. At some rally today he said to those who object to his style, “Go home to Momma!” and the crowd went wild. Trump’s the kind of guy who can never walk by a mirror without taking a look at himself, and his conceit is what these crowds feed. He’s turning off 2/3 of the country, but that one third that he does have is apparently enough for him. It’s more like a love affair than a political movement.
And when it’s over he’ll take a nice long vacation, and find out the brand that he’s spent his life building has turned into a big turd. It will be the name of a man who, through his own vanity and ignorance, squandered one of the greatest political opportunities in American history. The country is ready for his message, but it’s not really fun to spend your days talking about serious issues of public policy, so he’ll run off to another worshipful crowd. What a dope, and what a loser.
This election should be about American nationalism. But it’s about Trump, and American nationalism will go down with him. Maybe for four years, maybe forever. The stakes are very high, and we have a buffoon for a messenger. His message cries out to be told. Securing the border, and adopting America First immigration, refugee, trade and foreign policies. These are big, and in some cases very complicated issues. They deserve public discussion, and debate, and on each one the majority of the country is with Trump. But he won’t shut up.
It seems to me that people clinging to the old Post Cold War order, in which we are vastly over committed, are the kind of people who like to keep things simple. A bipolar world is like playing checkers, and they know how to play. A multipolar world is tournament level chess, and these guys don’t know the game. It requires brains, and knowledge, and judgement. But that’s the world we live in, whether they like it nor not.
Speaking of brains, knowledge and judgement reminds me of the man who won the Cold War, St. John Paul II. Reagan, and America were indispensable in holding the Communists in check. But it was John Paul who brought them down. He, and his people, the Roman Catholics of Poland were the ones that did it. They were about to be invaded, just as the Hungarian and Czechs been invaded in 1956 and 1968, but the Pope sent the Soviets a message. If they invaded Poland he would come there from the Vatican and stand with his fellow Poles. Brezhnev blinked, and the rest is history. The Warsaw Pact was dead, and the USSR was doomed. Because as George Kennan predicted, once the Soviet Empire began to shrink, rather than expand, its internal contradictions would cause it to collapse. It happened in the blink of an eye. If ever a man deserved sainthood for his deeds, it was the man who killed Communism.
I’ve studied the life of St. John Paul more closely than that of any other man. Of him it can be truly said: He had the spirit of the Lord within him.