Values and Virtues and Donald Trump

When thinking back over this past primary season, what stands out to me and made this year different from any other, is to the extent that the result has disgusted me. I actually feel repulsed by our eventual nominee. These are unusually strong feelings. Why would I be disgusted or repulsed? It’s not that I’ve haven’t had disappointments in primaries before. Since 1988 or 1992, I have not been particularly satisfied with our party’s nominee, although I was able to vote for them anyway. Why such a strong reaction this time. As I observe others, I’m not alone. What do we see, that supporters of Donald Trump don’t. Is it a stance on a particular issue, or even Donald Trump’s lack of commitment to conservative principals? These are important for sure, but for me it’s far deeper, it’s far more basic. Some moderate Republicans seem to have the same reaction to him and are ideologically quite different from myself. So it’s not just ideology. What is it about Donald Trump that really causes me great concern. After a fair amount of reading, thought and soul searching, I’ve reached a conclusion that satisfies my own conscience. The reasoning behind my rejection of Donald Trump may be best explained in the some of the writings of C.S. Lewis, although I’m surely not any kind of authority in philosophy, religion, or literature. It was important for me to try to understand what it was that disturbed me about this man. After all, my opposition to Donald Trump, in a minuscule way, may contribute to his defeat, and thereby help elect someone that in some ways may be even far worse. I’ve have to personally accept part of that responsibility.

I have concluded the problem with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, is much more fundamental and important then political ideology. It goes right to the heart of what makes up a good person. It’s as basic as knowing what’s right and wrong, or having a conscience. What I’m speaking of are values. I’m not just referring to a political connotation. I’m referring to those attributes that have withstood the test of time, defining what make people good. If we are brought up properly, and have been taught right from wrong, our personal makeup should include a healthy dose of what I speak of. We should have the ability of detecting what is absolute right as well as wrong. For instance, when we meet or hear of someone that has served our country, and had suffered greatly for it, as a good person we should recognize their great sacrifices, and in recognition of that, we should greatly value them for it. This value isn’t due to anyone’s opinion. It’s due because of what the person has earned through their service. Compare this to the way that Trump spoke of John McCain. He flippantly alternates between ridicule and praise, not seriously recognizing the value of someone who has endured much in service of his country. I don’t have to agree with John McCain in a political sense, to recognize the value he himself has earned for his military service. This fault of Donald Trump shows up time and time again. His ability to compliment a person in one instant, then run their reputation down in the next, to suggest that he could shoot somebody in cold blood on Fifth Ave. and his supporters wouldn’t care, to advocate that others should accept his orders to murder innocents, or make fun of a disabled person because of their disability, to flippant talk ill of another persons physical attributes, real or imagined, or to continually insult the intelligence of people, by telling them falsehoods of what he had previously spoken, even if the truth is widely known. All these examples indicate plainly to me that Donald Trump only values his own subjective internal feelings about whatever it may be, be it a person or anything else. From my observation, nothing seems to have value from the viewpoint of Donald Trump unless it somehow benefits Donald Trump or is subjectively assigned value by him alone. My expectation for someone worthy to serve as President of the United States would at a minimum, be a person who exuded good values and virtues, allowing him/her to recognize the intrinsic value of people and objects about him/her. Not just because of what he thought or felt, but because of who or what the objects are. This is the difference between a person who believe in mere relativism, and another who believes in the absolute of good and evil.

What has also disturbed me about this whole affair, is the great number of people who have supported him from the very beginning and continued to despite his words and actions. They seem to be completely blind of what for me has always been in plain sight. He has shown himself to be unfit for this or any other public office,  although I have struggled myself for a time to explain exactly why. This dairy should not be viewed as my attempt to change anyone’s mind. At this point most minds are already made up. Rather it’s a conclusion that I have reached for myself, to solve a dilemma that presented itself by this Republican primary season.