How the Donald unwittingly taught me to be a better husband, patriot and person
When my wife, Natalie, and I were dating before we tied the knot I once asked if her parents were socialists. What other conclusion could I draw?
After all, they were Democrats, from California, school teachers, union members. They were kind to everyone, even to those they hadn’t met. Their cover was blown! (Her father was also a U.S. Marine, but I conveniently ignored that fact.)
I was raised in the Midwest on a meaty diet of conservative ideology that continued into my adult life. My current Colorado hometown in which I served 8 years on the local school board once thought I was a TEA Party conservative, which was not the case, but perception is often reality. So it’s odd to now be called a liberal by my Limbaugh-loving father, or a “libtard” by a couple hipster relations.
If anything, I’m moderate and independent, but those are only labels. More than anything I’m just grateful. Grateful for my journey to liberation and independence, with Donald J. Trump playing a leading role in that journey.
This may sound insincere, but I’m truly grateful, because without Trump’s absurd behavior and lurid leadership style I may never have been able to see the cracks in my own belief system.
So, I mean it when I say, thanks, Trump!
My far-right friends and I used to sarcastically say, “Thanks, Obama,” when we wanted to pin a bad outcome on liberals. But it’s a new day, and today I can say, with 100% sincerity and only a tinge of satire, “Thanks, Trump!”
Thanks for helping me see that Republicans have no monopoly on patriotism. That Democrats love their country, too. That to be a Republican is not to be righteous, and to be a Democrat is not to be devilish. I wish we could do away with political parties and the extremes they enable.
George Washington foresaw this extreme danger when he said:
I can also say “Thanks, Trump!” for bringing me closer to my wife. Natalie and I did not enjoy much overlap in political philosophy most of our marriage, yet we tolerated and respected each other’s views.
And then 2016 happened.
Somehow the buffoonery of Trump brought my wife and I together politically even as the candidate, and then the President, divided people. Our marriage was good before 2016, but something has clicked for us since then.
Again, all I can say is thanks, Trump!
The Framers of our Constitution wrote about forming a more perfect Union to ensure domestic tranquility. Sounds like Marriage 101. Is this what they meant? My union is not perfect but it is definitely more perfect than before. My domesticity is more tranquil. So thank you, Founders. And thanks, Trump!
In one Seinfeld episode, George has an epiphany. In every big decision, his instincts are wrong. His logical conclusion? Do the opposite!
Likewise, I’ve come to believe that if I do the opposite of what Trump would do in most any given situation, whether within relationships, at work or in the community, then I’ll be fine. More importantly, Natalie and our family will be fine.
Here’s a sampling of ways I think I’ve become a better husband, patriot and person by doing and being the opposite of Trump:
· Be an active listener. Listening with empathy may be the best medicine for a marriage, and for the Union. Thanks, Trump!
· Be honest. If I always tell the truth I’ll never betray my wife nor my country, and I can expect to lead an honorable life. Thanks, Trump!
· Be decent and gentle. Relationships, like democracy, are fragile. They need to be nurtured and protected, not neglected or attacked. Thanks, Trump!
· Be humble. The Golden Rule has nothing to do with gold, golden escalators or real estate empires. Serving others builds true wealth. Thanks, Trump!
· Be curious and wise. Learning is a life-long value and goal. When we stop learning we are either dead or a dictator. Thanks, Trump!
I’m grateful for these lessons and so many others. I’m grateful that our Union is strong despite mistakes made in the distant and recent past. The words of Amanda Gorman reciting her inaugural poem struck home:
“Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished… And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose.”
Ironically, my vision of that polish, that purpose, now has a lot to do with lessons gleaned from the blunderings of a painfully imperfect, unpolished president whose only purpose was himself, whose every instinct was selfish and corrupt, whose every action was opposed to union and tranquility.
His example, or “unexample,” has set me free to pursue truth and goodness without the confining restraints of petty party politics. I have learned it is wonderfully liberating!
For teaching me these lessons in a way only he could, I’ll say it one last time: