I suppose we’ve all had the experience of standing in line at a fast food place waiting for the guy in front of us to place his order. And waiting. And waiting. He seems to invent reasons to take long with his order. In the meantime, there are 20 people stacked behind him, and he is behaving as though he were the only person in line. He’s also the guy going 35 in a 55 MPH.
I have found myself as irritated as the next guy when this happens, but I have a personal policy: when the person in question is a military veteran, he can have as much time as he wants. Period. For all I know, this guy has crawled the entrails of his own friends so that in the grand scheme of things, the net result is that I have the privilege of being able to stand behind him in line, free from threats, ripe with liberty, and about to eat a very fine meal in peace.
Each service member has his own story and many of them bear wounds that fester worse on the inside than they do on the outside. He endured and is enduring so that I did not have to endure. And let us not forget, he is one of those who survived. A great many of his peers–sometimes his own friends–were not merely wounded, but made the great sacrifice; for all I know, his friend(s) died in his arms.
This man can not only have as much time as he wants. He can say whatever he wants. He can believe whatever he wants. He has earned the right. Obviously, I reserve the right to disagree with him. I would like to think that this man believes the price he paid was paid specifically so that I could disagree with him, and thus might even welcome disagreement.
John McCain was a man I ended up disagreeing with quite a bit. In fact, the more I’ve learned about him, the more I disagree with him. His behavior related to American prisoners of war left in Vietnam strikes me as despicable, even. On the other hand, the man did spend years in a Vietnamese prison, where he was tortured such that he could not even raise his arms above a certain point anymore. I’m about to criticize Trump for criticizing McCain, and I’m aware that a lot of liberals have a problem with Trump on this score. But, I remember what liberals thought about McCain and his service back in 2008. I was paying attention.
So, let’s just keep in mind that liberals were not above saying far worse things about McCain than Trump has said. And let’s also bear in mind that the only reasons why liberals like McCain today is because they perceive him as the anti-Trump. His military service counts for nothing, otherwise. His moderate policies still earned him accusations of being Hitler. I remember.
But, back to McCain and Trump.
It seems like I should mention… (If Trump is reading this)… McCain is dead. That Trump would still be going after him just blows my mind. McCAIN IS DEAD.
This seems to be a salient point to me. Unlike many people, I think I know why Trump fights back against all those who fight him, and I don’t think its a personality thing so much as a calculated strategy thing. I think he saw what happened to Bush, McCain, and then Romney (all literal Hitlers, according to the Left), where the constant attacks and belittling of these men weighed down public opinion like a wet blanket. He is not going to let the same thing happen to him.
And to be perfectly honest, unlike a lot of even my fellow conservatives, I think he is wise to fight back against the insults. We’re talking about people who are constantly insulting not just Trump, but anyone who does not share their liberal outlook. Trump is speaking for the rest of us. (And admit it, a lot of times it is funny!)
But McCain is dead.
He isn’t insulting anyone anymore!
So, what is the point??!?!?!
I can give Trump a long list of people he can go after. He doesn’t need to pick on the dead ones. And picking on the dead one who gave so much in the service of our country? Just, why?
Trump did something similar when he was still campaigning. This had to do with the Khan family, whose son died while doing his duty, who then turned around and criticized Trump. As is his habit, Trump fought back. But, many Americans are like me. The encounter was unsettling.
We give a lot of latitude to military vets and their families. It isn’t quite the case that military vets and their families get a complete pass. If they decide to put themselves out there and impact the political process, and they make their service and sacrifice part of their appeal, they forfeit some of their immunity. If they do the linking, and they are trying to get you and I to do this or that, then that link is fair game.
Trump tried to walk this line. Nonetheless, it made a lot of us uncomfortable. Moreover, in a case like this, where the media can be counted on to totally and utterly misrepresent reality, it just isn’t likely that people are going to catch that nuance.
What Trump should have done in the Khan case, and what he ought to do with McCain, is to be magnanimous about it. There are plenty of other people you can go after, many of whom, I should mention, are still very much alive, and have very much put themselves ‘out there.’ They are not just fair game, they are ripe targets.
I am not saying that you give deference to people like Khan’s parents on the silly, mechanistic and materialistic mentality of the social justice warrior, who believes that words alone are as intrinsically harmful as, say, punching someone in the face. I’m not saying that you don’t retaliate against Khan’s parents because you might ‘trigger’ them, creating a cascade of physical events which create the brain-state of ‘pain.’ (As good little utilitarians, to them, there is nothing worse than pain and suffering… unless you are inflicting it for the greater good, of course. ) No. The people who begat a man brave enough to put on the uniform is tough enough to handle criticism without being reduced to simpering globs. The Khans can surely take it.
You defer for the exact opposite reason: materialism is not true; Utilitarianism is a moral principle that is only ethically warranted in war; People are not just ‘meat machines.’ You give them deference because the deep magic that courses through the heart of the universe calls for it. Aslan, who stands above it all, also sacrificed all, and broke the altar with his victory, still wept at the death of Lazarus–a man he knew he was about to raise from the dead. Think about that. Jesus knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, and yet he still wept at the death of Lazarus, and the heartbreak this caused among those who loved Lazarus.
Every day, I like Trump a little more. If the Mueller report turns out to reveal ZERO Russian collusion, I will be revisiting my attitudes towards Trump. I will certainly be revisiting the claims made against Trump which have troubled me… but were made by the same people who we will know for sure by then LIED about Trump over and over and over again. His foibles aside, he has to my surprise been one of the most courageous promoters of basic conservative principles out of the entire Republican party. Sometimes, I wonder if even Cruz (my favorite) or Rand Paul (my second favorite) would have the courage to do what Trump has done. (Regretting, of course, that none of them are likely to do the radical overhaul of government powers that I would prefer they do.)
But my affection for Trump would skyrocket if he could hold his tongue when the people criticizing him are people who have bled for this country.
It isn’t so much that I am concerned about Trump’s own moral character (although surely it is not irrelevant), but because, as president of the United States, Trump has an opportunity to make it clear that in the United States, even the highest office in the land gives somber respect and deference to the individuals who established and maintain our freedoms. If even Jesus–who is God Himself, who raised Lazarus from the dead and will raise millions more in due time, still wept in the face of death, then surely the State itself can mourn the deaths which built its defenses.
Thus, as I said before, I have enjoyed the fact that Trump has done quite a bit to limit the powers of the government, which is the exact opposite of what I expected. The ultimate expression of a radically limited government would be its pensive salute to the single fallen soldier, even if that soldier was someone like John McCain, with all his own problems and his disputes with Trump.
Mr. Trump, let it lie.