What is it with political candidates?

Sometimes it’s considered a strength to stand by your convictions.  That’s one of the things that drives religious folks, that they have their beliefs and stand by them irrespective of what others might say, think or do – even to the point of dying for those beliefs rather than renounce them.  We admire those who, let’s face it, become martyrs for their religion rather than renounce their faith (unless of course that martyrdom is other than Christianity, in which case we wonder what they see in their own religion that isn’t offered in Christianity.  I digress).

But why is it seen as a political plus to stand by your statements when they have been proven wrong?  Why is it okay to keep saying the same stupid thing time and again?  Why do people “double down” in current nomenclature on their foolishness?

I refer, of course, to our favorite Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Ben Carson.  Neither man seemingly ever backs down from their asinine comments, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary or enormous outcry against their foolishness.

Their most recent stupidity has it that they saw Muslims in New Jersey cheering when the towers fell in New York on September 11.  Both claim that they saw them, with their own eyes – yes, they did, they saw those awful Muslims cheer and show pleasure that America was struck. And those ungrateful Muslims lived in New Jersey yet!

The only problem is that those images weren’t from America, they were from the Middle East, specifically in the Palestinian territories.  Of course, those who were filmed cheering later said they were mislead and were paid to dance and cheer by the videographers/photographers who offered them cake to cheer.  Um, okay, whatever (Who gets cake to cheer ?  Selling yourself for a piece of cake?  Really?). But why they cheered isn’t the point.  It’s that the images weren’t of New Jersey Muslims cheering, but those in the Middle East.  And those that did were a very few.

But I don’t get that attitude. Donald Trump’s attitude about not rolling back the comments, not the silliness of the cake-eating twits in Palestine. I just don’t understand why Trump wouldn’t own up to the mistake.  Ben Carson’s campaign almost immediately disavowed the comments, saying it didn’t happen in New Jersey so we know it’s possible to own up to this mistake without repercussions.  Seriously, if even Ben Carson’s campaign renounced his comments about video of New Jersey Muslims cheering as America was attacked then Trump should be able to do so too.

All Trump has to say is something like ‘but the fact that the Muslims in that region cheered when thousands died in America, including hundreds of Muslims, shows we need to be very careful about allowing immigration from that part of the world.’ That’s not my sentiment, mind you, I’m simply saying he can make it a politically winning statement given the current anti-immigrant stance of much of the Republican party faithful.  Does anyone seriously doubt that Trump would gain more followers if he said something like that?

It’s also odd that he’d specify ‘New Jersey’ in the first place.  Why be that specific? Why not, as I just wrote, point to the videos as “proof” that ‘they’ can’t be trusted, ‘they’ being Muslims of course.

Because Trump never admits to being wrong.  Never.  He’s never wrong, he never makes mistakes, he never feels the need to apologize for anything, anytime, anywhere, even when he’s totally, completely wrong.  Remember his comments about John McCain?  And did he ever apologize for those comments that McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a POW?  No.

What’s most amazing is that this never comes back to bite him.  Even when he’s asked by evangelicals about his beliefs, he says ‘I don’t think in terms like that. . .  I’m not sure I have [asked for God’s forgiveness].’ Um, the basic tenet of Christianity is that you (sincerely) ask for forgiveness of your sins, believe Jesus rose from the dead and you’re forgiven and assured everlasting life in Jesus’ name. Yet Trump doesn’t or apparently hasn’t done that because it’s not the way he does things.  And he questions Ben Carson’s faith.

That attitude carries over to his professional, business, and political lives too.  No need to ask forgiveness for anything, just keep plowing ahead, insisting he’s misunderstood or that he said nothing wrong nor did he do anything wrong it’s all other people who do.  Not him.  Nope, no how, nuh uh.  Bankruptcy?  NO, I never declared bankruptcy, says Donald Trump (his corporations did, but not him personally, so he’s technically correct).

How does he get away with this?  Why do we let him?

It’s time to stand up and say enough.  Enough immigrant baiting.  Enough immigrant bashing.  Enough Muslim baiting and bashing.

Just . . enough.

The thing is that with regard to apologizing or admitting mistakes is that it is an act of humility.  When one admits a mistake she/he is saying ‘I’m not perfect, I know that, and in this case my lack of perfection resulted in my making {whatever} mistake.’  Religious martyrs are admired because they acknowledge that there’s something other than them in the world.  For the religious, that ‘other’ is God.  The person is not in control, God is, and there’s something else beyond the person’s hopes, dreams, wishes, wants, desires.  When a politician admits a mistake, an error of whatever sort, he/she is saying that the act of governing isn’t in fact about him/her, it’s about the people they serve.  By noting their mistake, misstatement, what have you, the politician is telling the constituents ‘my comments hurt you because I represent you.  I’m sorry I let you down.’

And you know what?  Your constituents will forgive you.  Unless, of course, it’s something horrendous, like driving off a bridge, getting yourself out of the car and leaving your passenger to drown.  Or voting and railing against the very things you yourself engage in, say, homosexual acts.

What’s the downside here for Trump?  Just admit that what you saw didn’t in fact happen in New Jersey but rather in Palestinian territories and no one will say boo.

But that would take humility.  And we know that word isn’t in Trump’s vocabulary.

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About flatpickingjd

Just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Yes, I'm a liberal. Proudly so. I see nothing wrong with that and wear that label with pride. Yes, I'm a vegetarian. I used to be fat, very fat. Then I started taking care of myself, lost a bunch of weight and found it easier to keep that weight off by not eating meat. Or cheese. Or eggs. Or any good stuff. Man, I miss pizza. And, yes, I'm a redneck. I like camping and fishing, listen to bluegrass music and live (from time to time) in the south(west). So, yup, I'm just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Serious details about me: I make my living as a lawyer. My practice focus is business law, but I've dabbled in other areas including personal injury, family law, real estate, and water law. I also hold three master's degrees with plans to earn a doctorate. I hope you enjoy your time here, and feel free to comment!
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