Thinking Citizen Blog — “Trump and Biden vs Lincoln and Douglas” (Peggy Noonan)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: “Trump and Biden vs Lincoln and Douglas” (Peggy Noonan)
Has the quality of American leaders declined over time? Or is it just the perpetual illusion that the past was somehow better than the present? Whatage to you represents the apogee of American leadership? if you had to single out one great “leader” for your children to use as an ethical model whom would you choose? Why? Is it true that “American politicians have become cowardly and out of touch” as Peggy Noonan argues in the article I am about to summarize? If so, is there. a cure? Mine is the The Thinking Citizenship Curriculum (last link below). Yes, quite Quixotic. Do you know of a better one? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
IS 2024 REALLY GOING TO BE TRUMP VERSUS BIDEN AGAIN? A DYNAMIC OF SELF-CORRUPTION
1. “Donald Trump will be 78 on Election Day 2024, Mr. Biden 81. Is this the best we can do? They’re old and they’re them; can’t we move beyond them and the worlds they represent?”
2. On Trump: “He was harebrained, selfish, knew nothing of history and didn’t feel enough respect for our institutions and arrangements to bother learning.”
3. What Trump supporters feel: ‘What opponents dismiss as ignorance was originality and boldness, a search for breakthrough solutions to chronic problems. If he broke the establishment’s china shop, fine — the china was junk anyway.”
NB: “On the Democratic side, what can’t be discussed is what the progressive movement is doing to the party and its prospects….The Republicans are afraid of the Trumpers. The Democrats are afraid of the progressives. Both parties fear large parts of their base. So they life to them — “I’m with you” — or mislead. This is self-corrupting and leaves a frozen field in which not enough gets done. Why compromise with Republicans if you’re trying to assure progressives you hate them? Why compromise with Democrats if it opens you to suspicion with the Trumpist part of the base?”
PEGGY NOONAN’S “RIDICULOUS” (HER OWN WORD) SUGGESTION — A SERIES OF LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES — ABOUT WHAT? “THE MEANING OF THINGS” — WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN?
1. “For Republicans the subject would be: Let’s talk about Trump. For Democrats: Let’s talk about the progressive movement.”
2. “Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas conducted seven debates in 1858, each about three hours long. They were intensely covered in national newspapers because they were talking about the meaning of the great issue then facing the country, slavery. and what to do about it. Also botrh Lincoln and Douglas were brillant. Lincoln actually was a genius, so it wouldn’t be dull.”
3. “Today’s politicians aren’t as gifted and eloquent as Lincoln or Douglas, but all parties have brillant folk, so a few could do it.”
NB: “Imagine an anti-Trump person speaking with eloquence and reason, in good faith, and with good nature. Imagine someone who would concede what can honorably be conceded about policy achievements in the Trump era but also speak of why the former president, with his nature, doesn’t and can’t fit the future. “Let’s talk about what the GOP establishment did that left their own voters so eager to sweep them away. Let’s alk about what was good about that. Let’s talk about what was built is in its wake and must be reconstructed.” Address everything, including conspiracism, and explain why it is just another way of quitting, of choosing an alternative world to get lost in….” And then hear a thoughtful reply.”
“DEMOCRATS: SPEAK HONESTLY OF WHAT YOUR PROGRESSIVES ARE DOING TO YOUR PARTY”
1. Progressives: “What are they getting right, and what wrong? What would progressives change and what preserve?”
2. “Should the party detach itself from alignment with people who insist mothers don’t exist but “birthingt persons” do, that women don’t exist but “cervix havers” do?”
3. “Why is it that progressive solultions often seem to emerge from a keyboard as opposed to lived experience? Is life really so abstract? Why does progressive feeling seem so cold, lacking in feeling toward those with whom you share a nation?”
NB: “Challenge the progressives directly. Do you love America? Why? Why don’t you talk about this? Do you approach the vulnerable with a feeling of protectiveness? Is there some discrepancy between your claims of higher sensitivity and your tendency to push people around?”
CONCLUSION: “ Neither party has such conversations. But I have never met a human being yet who was completely impervious — completely — to a sincere, respectful appeal to reason.”
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
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