“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
One consistent theme in the Trump administration has been the inconsistent application of logic.
Four years ago, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly declared his 306 electoral votes a “landslide” victory even though he lost the popular election by 3 million votes. Now, more than two weeks after the election, President Trump insists he won reelection even though President-elect Joe Biden has earned 306 electoral votes and won the popular election by over 5 million votes.
Protesters reacted to Trump’s victory in 2016, through the Women’s March on Washington. Trump and his followers said the protesters were sore losers, “snowflakes” and crybabies who were denying the results of the election. In 2020, protesters reacted to Biden’s victory with a demonstration in Washington, D.C., and Trump called them patriotic Americans.
Trump has taken full credit for the growing economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration but takes no responsibility for the economic crash caused by his inept and incompetent response to the pandemic. By the way, there were more new jobs added in the last three years of Obama’s term than the the first three years of Trump’s term.
Trump takes credit for the historic speed at which drug companies have developed a vaccine for COVID-19. Yet he takes no responsibility for the disastrous testing program, the shortage of personal protective equipment and the inconsistent guidance offered by the federal government.
Mr. Trump blames China’s government for allowing COVID-19 to spread beyond its boarders, yet Mr. Trump accepts no responsibility for his failure to control the spread within the country he leads. All experts agree his blunders have cost thousands of lives.
I understand that Mr. Trump has a very fragile ego even though he was born into luxury, inherited millions of dollars and had some business success along with some failures. But his refusal to concede the election and facilitate a smooth transition to the new administration is dangerous for national security and fighting the pandemic. The fact that Republican leaders want to humor Mr. Trump and put our nation at risk is beyond pathetic.
Under the spell of Donald Trump, the Republican Party has adopted his logic and lost its moral bearings.
They said it was inappropriate for the Senate to even consider Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court with more than nine months left in his term, but they rushed through Trump’s nominee with less than four months left in his term.
Republicans were the party of “family values,” but most were silent when Trump ordered that immigrant children (including infants) be taken from their parents and held in cages. They are still silent as we learn that more than 660 children are still in custody, and there seems no way to reunite them with their families after years of separation. This is a crime against humanity, and yet Republicans don’t act; they remain silent.
Some Republican inconsistencies predate Trump. For example, their claim to the label of “pro-life” when it comes to abortion but their ongoing support for the death penalty.
I understand and sympathize with some of the moral reasoning behind the pro-life argument. But the morality becomes hollow and meaningless when applied so inconsistently by some conservatives.
My brothers and sisters in the evangelical wing of the Christian faith rallied around Mr. Trump, stating that the election of the U.S. president is a reflection of God’s will. Mr. Trump warmly accepted this notion, calling himself (I’m not making this up) “the chosen one.” Yet I doubt they will proclaim Joe Biden’s election as a demonstration of God’s will. After all, that would be consistent.
My biggest fear is the Republican Party will be influenced by Trumpism for many years to come. I want better for my conservative friends. I hope they recalibrate their moral compass and use it consistently. I hope they stop ignoring inconvenient facts and making up alternative facts to suit their misguided beliefs.
To be fair, I have similar concerns for the Democrats. They could easily become the party of the extreme left as the Republicans have been taken over by the extreme right. Extremists despise compromise and see the other side as the enemy. That approach is bad for our democracy.
Inconsistent logic is not a good thing. But it is a very good thing when political philosophy is developed around consistent moral values, considering actual facts, and respect for other points of view.