Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lessons in coveting from Donald Trump

People are voting for Donald Trump. It seems inexplicable. He doesn't strike me as a likable guy. Yet he's not going away. Instead of being forced to exit stage left, he's gaining momentum. America is willing to covet those things that Trump covets, and let him lead us to them.

According to Thomas Aquinas, “In whatever things good consists in a due measure, evil must of necessity ensue through excess or deficiency of that measure.” So covetousness is “immoderate love of possessing."

For those on better terms with Webster than the Angelic Doctor, covet: to want (something that you do not have) very much.

So the average conservative sees that our country is going to pot, so-called gay marriage, and terrorism, and Donald Trump appeals to them. He promises to get what he wants, and in doing that, get them what they want. For somebody to come in and make things better—for good to triumph.

And Trump is a bit like Goliath. He's a bully, and he's got a really big appetite.

Mr. Conservative has been married three times. When asked about whether this is “traditional” marriage, he says his previous wives were “very good" and he's currently in “a great marriage.” His divorces were because he worked too hard, but he says, “I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.” His current wife has posed pregnant wearing a gold bikini exiting the Trump jet. And struck a whole lot of other poses as well. Covet as Mr. Trump covets.

He's also out for vengeance, and Americans appreciate that. Every action movie tells them they should want it, that it satisfies. We've lost a religious perspective on ISIS and terrorism, so we're willing to follow the leader on this. And it's easier to shout about from a platform. “We have to beat the savages,” according to Trump. He's also talked about “taking out their families.” He wants blood. Covet as Mr. Trump covets.

At a rally in Iowa he said, “I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy – I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?”  He loves money, and he wants to get money for America, and money for all of us.  If a couple makes less than $50,000 per year, they won't have to pay taxes. “They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, 'I win,'” according to Trump's tax plan. His home is decorated in 24K gold and marble. But you win if you make less than 50K annually. Covet as Mr. Trump covets.

In his 1987 book The Art of the Deal, Trump wrote, “I play to people's fantasies. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” So when he said, “If I become president, we're all going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again," that probably won't happen. But when he said, “No one is going to touch us, because I'm so unpredictable,” that has a slight ring of truth.

Maybe Americans are anticipating four years of reality TV in the White House. They can't wait to see what Melania will be wearing at the inauguration. Trump can be a stand-in for every wronged person in America, working out the justice we want to see done—in the Middle East, in the CPA's office, or at the local House of Cannabis. Whatever the reason, fight the urge. Wise leaders are men of truth, integrity, and faith—not men who appeal to our basest instinct for revenge, money, and the last word.

For the record, I do want people to say, “Merry Christmas,” again. I just don't think Donald Trump is going to make that happen.