On Presidential Success

Posting #1 on a series of short posts to illustrate Why Philosophy Matters:

One of the most common counter arguments I get from pro-Trump folk after they’ve exhausted their Sean Hannity talking points is “don’t cha want Trump to succeed?”  This question is a trap! 

If you say yes, then you’ve conceded to lose the debate, but if you say no then you’re implying that you have some burn-it-all-down anarchist mentality and that obviously you cannot be satisfied by any politician because you are that anti-establishment.  

Asking if somebody is successful at any given task is a matter of asking if they were successful according to some system of value.  Say a small family owned company of multiple generations is bought out by a larger corporation for 200% of it’s valuation.  If the owner of this business holds monetary success as his priority then surely its a success to them.  But somebody who puts more value in community, and/or local business/economics; they may not think a deal that takes away jobs in a small community is ‘successful’ and often times these values can run in contradiction.  

So when Donald Trump criticizes the democrats for not coming to the table to enact his policies, he is basically assuming that the only value system that matters is his.  He assumes that being elected is a memorandum on his point of view and everybody must stop and reject their value system and bow down to his. This is absurd.  That is not how you lead and that is not your govern. 

It is certainly not possible for any politician to enact policies that hold equal consideration of all the value systems of all their constituents on every issue and I hold no expectation of this.  But what politicians should try to do is recognize that there are competing systems of value and that not every citizen is going to form agreement on how to deal with any given topic/issue.  Politics is about compromise and finding a happy medium.  It is not about acquiescing to one value system that is catch-all applied to absolutely every topic.  The dominant value system of the department of education should be education, not money.  The dominant value system of the environmental protection agency should be protecting the environment, not money.  The dominant value system of NATO is global security, not money.  And so on and so forth.  It is not that I do not want to Trump to be successful or not, it is that I reject how he defines the term! 

I did not agree with the value systems of Obama on every topic and when this was the case, I spoke up.  But Obama, at least, put way more effort at trying to understand different sides and sought out common ground when possible.  The GOP was invited to the table in the crafting of the affordable care act and it was significantly changed as a reflection of their feedback and they still did not vote for it.  Being unwilling to compromise is not a virtue! 

The president and nation cannot be successful if a large percent of the population and leadership does not even recognize, validate and consider how success is defined by everybody else. 

 

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