Donald Trump’s commanding lead in the polls is a solemn reminder that if we’re not careful, another narcissistic good talker will be elected to complete the fundamental transformation President Obama began. Choosing style and good sound bites over substance got us in the mess we’re in with a president who highlights his intellectual shortcomings when he comes up with some real off-teleprompter doozies, claiming our country has 57 states, America is 20 centuries-old, “Austrian” is a language, Canada has a president, and dead heroes are listening in his audience, to name a few.
If Trump were in the race for honest reasons, would he continually threaten a third party run, fully knowing that pulling a “Ross Perot” gifts the progressive left with four more years? But he sounds good, so I guess we should just take him at his word. I suppose we should pay no attention to the Washington Post report that not long before launching his 2016 bid, Donald’s longtime friend, Bill Clinton, told him to “play a bigger role” in the Republican Party.
Granted, Trump deserves credit for doing just that, but sorry Donald, substance trumps style. You see, substance is that little thing which floats to the surface when no one’s looking. Substance helps us control our tongue, prevents us from vacillating on important issues, and wards off hobnobbing back and forth between political parties for personal gain. Why, it might even help resist the temptation to trade up wives for newer models.
Shouldn’t we require more out of our leaders than good sound bites? I am reminded of England’s King George VI, who was depicted by the press of his day as a drab and timid man with a crippling stutter whose determination and untiring devotion to his country left him bruised and battered. Nevertheless, history shows he rose above expectations to be an extraordinary leader, rising to kingship unwillingly, on the wings of his brother’s scandal, struggling with every public word he uttered. His infamous September 3, 1939, prelude to war speech (which can heard in all its crackly splendor online) gives light to the great leader he was. Each consciously calculated word enunciated, between far too many pauses and near-stammers, warned beloved countrymen of a clear and present danger should Nazism prevail. His brother and predecessor, King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to pursue personal passions, could’ve said it prettier.
But not better.
We’ve learned from Barack Obama that anyone can be elected to lead, but not everyone that’s elected can lead. Obama’s lack of substance weakened us as a nation. Oh, what we would give for a side of King George’s stammering to go with a humungous portion of American patriotism. And we have the opportunity to right a wrong, if we demand quality and character next time around. Maybe someone with an unabashed love for America who will defend our God-given rights and freedoms?
And my mind wanders a bit...to a delightful little snippet in a Hollywood movie about King George VI’s life, “The King’s Speech,” where the king’s daughter Lilibet sees a film clip of Hitler speaking and asks, “Papa, what’s he saying?” King George VI replies, “I don’t know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.”
Susan Stamper Brown Susan’s is a recovering political pundit from Alaska, who does her best to make sense of current day events using her faith. E-mail Susan at: firstname.lastname@example.org