Going Down With the Ship, or Sinking It?

A U.S. president should only be truly relevant during a crisis, when someone — someone with authority over the military, for example, or even just having the sobriety and character to set the right national tone — must have the capacity and the will to make essential decisions on the fly, based on a combination of adequate information, sound principles, long-range vision, and, for lack of a better term, good instincts. No American president since Ronald Reagan has shown anything close to this combination of qualities; and remember, these qualities are not an ideal, but merely the bare minimum required of a man suitable to the role of president under the U.S. Constitution. And the trajectory for many years has been decidely downward.

Barack Obama was at least reasonably sentient, and apparently of sound mind; in every other way, however, and particularly with regard to principles and instincts, he was utterly unqualified. Donald Trump and Joe Biden, on the other hand, lack absolutely everything: native intelligence, an elementary grasp of current events, rational and moral principles somewhat consistent with freedom, a general feeling for the public good, an ability to think long-term — they are bereft of all of these. Trump instinctively tends toward brand salesmanship and plausible deniability in every situation. Biden seems barely to know who or where he is at any given moment. Trump would (and frequently did) sell his country’s interests to his own ego or his lust for fame without a moment’s hesitation, or even awareness. Biden’s mind, in its rare lucid minutes, appears to be lost in 1985, i.e., the days when he was merely stupid and incompetent, rather than actually senile, as he is now.

The stakes are as high as they can be, and the so-called free world is, and has been for many years now, at the mercy of secret manipulators and greedy self-seekers in the bureaucratic and corporate worlds, scheming behind the scenes, unaccountable to anyone, because the men elected to be at the helm during these critical moments of decision are constistently unable to steer the ship, or perhaps even to understand what a captain is, what such a man does, and above all, what he must be willing to do.

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