When elites see a homeless person in the gutter, they assume he’s saving a parking space.

P. J. O’Rourke

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Perhaps my reading and movie going habits have taken me to “a perfect storm,” the Bermuda Triangle of understanding of the situation we are in with Trump and his appeal, a President who thinks of leadership as not being responsible for anything while lecturing others as to their failures.

Okay, perfect storm, Bermuda Triangle – what do I mean?

I am currently reading Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win at the very time we celebrate the birth of Christ and Christian faith, and saw, on Christmas night, the riveting movie Spotlight which recounts the Catholic Church’s cover-up of serial sex abuse by priests and brothers in the diocese of Boston, Massachusetts under Cardinal Law (interesting coincidence as to his name, but God does offer irony and broad clues for us).

So what do I mean?

This from Extreme Ownership – “the leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.”  And this from Spotlight – the corruption of the Boston diocese sucked a whole legion of religious and lay elites into the sustained task of sheltering sex abusers.

Leadership.  Responsibility.  Corruption.  Elites.

This reminds me most vividly of Christopher Lasch’s excellent book Revolt of the Elites and The Betrayal of Democracy written now about thirty years ago.

Lasch’s view was this: elites have lost their moral values (particularly in the media, education and politics) and this loss puts democracy at risk, the nation in decline, destroys community and pits people and groups against one another.

In Revolt, Lasch (a scholar and public intellectual regarded highly by liberals and conservatives alike) called for a return to morality and religion.

Alas, we have not heard this nor heeded it.  Enter a President who is immune to responsibility for anything while lecturing others, vacationing, making excuses, ignoring reality, keeping company with denials, and staying far from the actual events of life and governing – and a Church that (along with others in the lay community) made a cottage industry out of sheltering child sex abusers.

Lasch was right.

If anyone in the public media, position of power or in academia had made a habit to reading and thinking, Trump would be not surprise, but rather the predictable product of the corruption and failure of the elites.   

You reap what you sow folks.  Come to think of that – if you were faithful, you’d know that.

Do you really wonder how Trump can appeal to so many?

Interestingly, the average working person who lives in the real world knows, like Lasch, that the elites have betrayed the unique American experience – one that embodies the public expression of Judeo-Christian teaching.

Shalom.

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