Wednesday, March 1, 2017


It’s Wednesday, the day after Trump’s speech to Congress, and I’m reporting the results of dinner table conversation in Western time zone following the speech.

I give green, yellow, and red lights. Here’s the code: Green light: what did Trump do well? Red and Yellow Lights: where he goofed and where we must resist.

Green light: Trump appealed to American values of freedom and justice. These are core moral values. “Yes” to that!

Both Red and Green : he asked for unity in common cause but Red: he didn’t define a common cause that warrants unity.

Green : He employed encouraging, uplifting words. But Yellow: words alone are empty without proposals.

Green : He pointed to a world more peaceful, just and free! Any proponent of American values would love this language.

Red: He gave no clue as to how such a peaceful and just world can be realized.

Green : He refrained from knocking the highest vote-winner up and did not call out, “Lock her up!” He did not insult or denigrate other politicians. Good progress! You're growing up. 

Red Light: the view he portrayed of American is old fashioned and out of date. “Make America great again” It’s retro and unrealistic nostalgia for the past.

Yellow: He promises to supply factory jobs by the million. Those jobs are disappearing, unfortunately, and not because they’ve been exported but more because routine factory assembly work is done by robots. This is Trump nostalgia.

Red: completely muffed the highest priority national security issue: keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of rogue nations and terrorists. (Thanks Warren Buffett for the language.) Far higher priority and more urgent than the destruction of I.S.I.S.

Red: no mention of gun control: therefore, a failing grade. Native born gunmen kill far more citizens than Islamic terrorists. Click here.

Yellow: the health care message: lower medicine costs, insurance for everyone (let them buy their own in the marketplace across state lines.) Lower cost care, available for all. That’s pure pie in the sky. Our nation just can’t do all that without something like the Affordable Care Act. If he plunges ahead he will deconstruct civilized health care in America.

Red: careless use of fear-language. “Lawless chaos within our borders.” Come on! Nonsense. Read a guest post on that point here.

Red: Protection of citizens from radical Islamic terrorism. As if we citizens are not protected by current programs, laws and enforcement. He was campaigning on fear.

Red: “We will destroy I.S.I.S.” Hold it! Perhaps you can destroy the name I.S.I.S., but you’ll broadcast seeds of extremism across the world--I.S.I.S. under a different name.

Yellow: a merit-based immigration system to replace the current lower-skilled system. Here Trump is out of touch. The U.S. started merit-based immigration years ago. Ask Microsoft, Intel, and other high tech firms whether their immigrant-employees are lower-skilled. For confirmation, ask Satya Nadella, Indian-American C.E.O. of Microsoft. And remember Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and son of an Islamic immigrant.

Yellow light: border protection. He’ll fail with or without a wall if he doesn’t find a way to stop the domestic demand for illegal drugs. He didn’t even mention domestic drug demand as underlying the need for greater border security. Why?

Red on government finance. Biggest pie-in-sky promise: that the U.S. will build infrastructure, increase military funding, spend more on education (all requiring massive increased expense) while cutting tax rate (lower income.) The self-proclaimed King of Debt will lead the nation into indebtedness and higher inflation.

Yellow light on tax reform. Yes! But he omitted to mention his plans for lowering rates, and which classes and corporations will benefit the most. This was sleight of hand. He calls for justice but proposes injustice in taxation.

Red Red Red: no plans for, not a mention of, a green, healthy and sustainable national environment. A forward-looking President simply cannot omit this from a keynote speech. The President should lead us in growing greener, environmentally and financially. Deeds speak louder than words.

Basically, Trump is peddling nostalgia for a dying economic world.

Citizens need to recognize the changes that will occur with or without Trump’s programs and prepare his nation for the challenge of their arrival.

Trump quoted a challenging Bible verse. Great. But here’s the preacher-ethicist in me: there’s one huge difference between picking one verse out of thousands versus the much greater mission of discerning God’s strategy for these United States.

Those of us relying on a faith vision and a moral framework, well, we'll resist anything less than that. 

For me, that means on this blog and in my life.

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At March 1, 2017 at 9:05 AM , Blogger Hal said...

Love your rational analysis. You've nailed him!


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