Please note: Today’s blog tackles a different topic, in a different way which I hope you’ll enjoy, find thought-provoking, even “like” if you like! Your feedback is always appreciated. Also, two comments from readers have been posted on the previous blog, “Canada at Triple Gold and Beyond.” Both bring insight; I recommend you take a moment to check them out no matter where you live.
It’ll be H U G E!
In a polarized America it may even bring together Republicans, Democrats and Independents like nothing else has done. In a torn-apart world it could even rally Canadians and Ukrainians, Koreans both South and North, Syrian refugees and Iranians in support of a single goal: to honor the world’s most powerful office, recognizing that whoever holds it wields power that shapes our lives wherever we are. Whatever our politics.
That office – no surprise here – is POTUS: President of the United States.
The present incumbent, Donald J. Trump, has problems, as everyone knows. His approval rating among his own people has dropped lower than that of any of his predecessors at this point in their term.
But the focus of this modest proposal is not any one president. Rather, it is the office itself. Think “Honor the Office” or “Three Cheers for the Presidency” or even, “Mr. President, how can I help?”
One Small Step Forward
Any such grandiose goal needs specific actions – let’s call them small, concrete steps – for starters. Sohere’s my idea-to-try-on-for-size: Take Trump to Lunch. Get to know him personally. Hear his side of the story. In the relaxed atmosphere of a quiet restaurant or at your own kitchen table, lend a sympathetic ear. Listen to his ideas; offer your own. Frank and open exchange can work wonders: the process can open new vistas for him, for you or for both. There’s little to lose, and a whole lot to gain!
… Long-Term Gain
If this simple step works at all, it is infinitely adaptable. For example, it can be projected far into the future, being made available to any president. Or applied to leaders of other countries. Do we not regularly claim that two heads are wiser than one? Then wouldn’t it be a smart move to share what’s in our heads? In a country like the United States, where power derives not from force of arms or coup in the night… not from some supposed “divine right” of leaders or high privilege by birth or the right to bribe voters or purchase power… but from “We, the people,” are we not under obligation to speak up?
Who can predict what fascinating turns your conversation may take? But surely you’ll get to “Make America Great Again” – stressing the importance of American factories turning out the products used in America. A realistic exchange might run like this:
You: Mr. President, did I understand correctly when you said, during the campaign, that you didn’t want automobiles being built in foreign countries and shipped to the United States for sale here? Isn’t that what you also chose to highlight with the “Made in America” exhibit in July on the White House lawn?
Trump: True! Fiat-Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are American companies, but when they close plants here so they can manufacture in Mexico or China, they’re killing American jobs. When all Americans can drive real American cars, designed here, with parts made right here and assembled here, we’ll be on our way to making this country great again!
You: Does that mean no foreign-label cars?
Trump: It’s very simple: If foreign companies want to sell their product here, all they have to do is use only American parts and then do the assembly here. That way they’ll create good jobs for American workers and we’ll give them the green light to sell here. But we’re through with welcoming foreign competition. We’ll all buy American, and “Made in America” will be a badge of pride!
You: Mr. President, we may safely assume, then, that the vehicles you drive are 100 percent American-made?
Trump: I’m not going to go on record as preferring one American brand over another. That would be unfair!
You: Still, with all due respect, Mr. President, I have it on good authority that at your home in Florida you keep two cars, both Bentleys. Twins, as it happens, one black, one white. Hardly all-American, would you say?
And on the list of your top favorites – vehicles you own other than the Bentleys --- almost all are imports. Do not misunderstand my point, Sir: I offer this not as an accusation but as information. If it is fake news, please correct me. I have not secured this info from the Russians or even the Democrats… in fact, it is a matter of record for anyone who will do a little forensic work. Here is the list of what I gather are your five favorites:
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Its supercharged power plant churns 512 h.p. You took delivery in front of Trump Tower in 2005. List price $455,000.
Rolls-Royce Super Cloud, a classic model from 1956, said to be Trump’s “first“ favorite car ever since he bought it new.
Lamborghini Diablo VT. The Italian manufacturer (currently owned by Volkswagen-Audi, a German company) claims it is capable of speeds in excess of 700 mph; to date no one has challenged that, saying “I never got more than 699 out of mine on the freeway!” Trump’s, in electric blue finish, sports his name prominently on a plaque.
As President, Trump is provided with a specially-built, armored Cadillac limousine. To that he adds a Cadillac Allente: a convertible registered in his name. This was a gift from an admirer (finished in gold, which carries special meaning for him.) Currently he also owns a Cadillac Escalade SUV.
Tesla Roadster. This car, being different, raises questions: Can Trump really fold his 6’2” frame like some lanky accordion into the undersized, low-roofline cab? Has he become a sudden convert to saving the ozone layer, a stance not exactly evident in any of his speeches or his other life choices? Is Tesla technology – or electric cars in general -- turning into a major contributor to making America great again, or the world’s air safer to breathe? Does Mr. Trump own it because he really likes it, or does he hope to placate the environmentalists? Was it a gift? What’s the real story?
So your conversation might continue, you and the President. If you (like me) are an aficionado of cars, you might even spend time learning about why he singled out these, among all the other options, as special objects of his pride. You might also ask a leading question:
You: Mr. President, while I appreciate your savvy, I’m still confused. You’re calling on all Americans to be patriotic when they buy… yet your clear choices in the car department are imports. How do you explain that?
Trump: I’ll have to get back to you on that. Right now I’ve got to get back to my desk; it’s time to send out another tweet.