Obama may not have disgraced his office like his predecessors but he always came across as the guy who didn't want to offend anyone. That type of approach makes someone less likeable, even untrustworthy because it is impossible to know what they stand for. One cannot be all things to all people which is usually found out the hard way.
Hillary Clinton lost the election because she was contrived, over rehearsed and artificial. There are too many rumours and whispers about her true personality plus her daughter, Chelsea, comes across as entitled and a complete brat. If one is unlikeable in the first place it is difficult to switch on the charm offensive and woo voters.
Beyond the charm however are the brass tacks. I have written before about convictions and how few, if any, people possess these days. I am amazed on a daily basis at the ranting on Twitter which passes for a belief in something. I have observed that if a topic trends, a swell of tweets appears in agreement and the consensus then becomes FACT. (Another example of why the polls were so wrong in the US). This herd-like mentality is alarming at best. Why? Because it shows a complete lack of conviction. Yes, we are social animals easily influenced by others and yielding to someone else's idea is a means of gaining approbation. But being able to defend an idea is an altogether different kettle of fish. Hence the reason that intellectual debate no longer exists in the mainstream and has instead been replaced by watered-down populism.
Trump has, in my view, been mislabelled an imbecile. In fact, Trump has proven that by having convictions and not being afraid to challenge the status quo and ingrained expectations can end in triumph. Trump has also demonstrated by winning the Presidency that liberalism has become a misguided and dangerous movement intent on reinforcing privilege over right and determined to keep things the way they are. Most shocking of all, the liberals were prepared to overlook the criminal allegations that have dogged the Clintons and put one back in the White House. Our 'me, me, me' society addicted to convenience and immediacy has resulted in non-thinking, shameless egoism cloaked in liberalism. The overall impression appears to be not what's best for my country but what's best for me. (We Brits are facing the exact same problem of the liberals versus the patriots in the current Brexit debacle.) Perhaps we have gotten too used to seeing politicians enter office for the sole purpose of enriching themselves and not actually in order to make the world a better place that we too want to grab whatever we can. When the noble purpose of life, which the Romans called 'virtue', is no longer the pinnacle of human endeavour, what then remains?
As a conservative person, I was impressed to see Trump's family well-dressed and well-mannered during the campaign. It would appear that Trump's children have never publicly embarrassed him neither have his ex-wives made lurid allegations about him. Consider that vile other family beginning with the letter 'K' whose matriarch encourages the recording of a sex tape in order to achieve fame and fortune and otherwise known as liberalism in the extreme where all standards completely disappear. How do these people look at themselves in the mirror? Yet they represent a society that considers being degenerate a virtue.
Who knows if Trump will be a productive President and the desperately-needed tempering force in a chaotic and precarious era. I do believe that his convictions will help him succeed. And that can only be a good thing.
Photo copyright SvD.