In the wake of the intense interest in thefirst
Republican presidential debate for the 2016 election season, many
are seeking to explain why Donald Trump has rocketed to the top
position and whether if he modifies his voice he will lose
supporters whoappear to be drawn to his style of oratory.
Listening closely to the debate in the company of others at The City
Club of Cleveland and reading the transcript afterwards, I suggest
that first and foremost Mr. Trump’s supporters believe that he has
the insight and ability to effectively lead the country and would
not be off put by a modified tone as it is the substance of his
positions which most attract his supporters.(N.B. As most people are
aware, Mr. Trump’s oratorical style is controversial, a full
discussion of which is beyond the scope of this article.)
Particularly important to U.S. citizens is the now widely heldview
that passage of the Iraq Resolution of 2002was most unwise. During
the debate, Mr. Trump pointed out that he early voiced his
opposition to the use of force as he could see that it would act to
destabilize the region.
Moreover, while many of those in Congress who voted to authorize the
use of force will say that “everyone” thought that weapons of mass
destruction existed in Iraq, in fact 29% of those in Congresshad the
wisdom and insight to vote against the use of force. As we now know,
the 29% of Congress who voted against the use of force were correct.
While some degraded weapons were eventually identified, the
suspected stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have never been
shown to be extant.
Herein lays the conundrum of our representative democracy: while the
Congressional majority rules on certain matters, the majority is not
Granted, the right decision might be more apparent in hindsight, yet
the essence of leadership in part consists of possessing
foresight.Surely we all make mistakes, and mistakes may range from
the inconsequential to the highly consequential. As most people now
believe that the destabilization of the Middle East has had enormous
negative consequences, it is valid to consider the early positions
of each candidate on this issue as a measure of foresight and
Inearly forming my opinion against the use of force I considered
myself fortunate for what I had learned from my father, who had been
anengineer for TRW, now a part of Northrop Grumman.My father had
worked on projects as diverse as an early artificial heart for The
Cleveland Clinic as well as military aerospace projects with
necessary security clearance. He had long ago told me that all
things require maintenance to avoid falling into disrepair.
This knowledge coupled with the fact that the United Nations had
already located and destroyed much of Iraq’s weapons and equipment,
and knowing something about human nature,it appeared to me that
Saddam Hussein was likely embarrassed that any of his remaining
weapons would by analogy be more akin to a jalopy up on cement
blocks than a high powered Maserati sports car.
Of course, Saddam Hussein had committed horrendous acts against his
own people, therefore when the decision was made by elected
officials to invade Iraq, I endeavored to keep an open mind and
waited to see what justification would be presented to the American
people and what joint sacrifices would be suggested. I still have my
parents’ ration book, ration coupons and ration tokens from WWII and
while times have changed, I expected that some small sacrifice would
be asked of the people in view of the enormous sacrifice that was
being made by each and every person in military service. That no
sacrifice was asked of the U.S. citizens further convinced me that
the invasion of Iraq at that time was not the optimal decision.
As a U.S. citizen, I am still undecided as to how I will cast my
vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and much can transpire
between now and then.
However, in analyzing the rise of Donald Trump in the polls, it
appears to me that it is his positions more than his oratorical
style which attracts his supporters. Additionally, it appears to me
that more than any other candidate, he conveys the sense of urgency
needed to address the myriad of pressing issues facing us today.
A conundrum of democracy rests in the fact that only time can tell
whether the majority of voters arrived at a wise or less than
optimal decision on any given issue or in context with other issues.
That so many people are paying attention to the debates is a tribute
to the seriousness with which U.S. citizens are taking their
responsibility to make their greatest effort to choose the best
candidate for the issues and the times.
There are many factors beyond those discussed in this brief article
which U.S. citizens will consider when casting their votes in 2016.
I wish all of us the greatest foresight to in turn choose the
candidate with the greatest foresight and abilities.