Yesterday, while recording the latest episode of the podcast Exit 38 with Emily Van Duyne, link, the discussion turned quickly to a comparative analysis of Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The discussion spurred a thought that helped me reconcile something I’ve struggled with for some time.
I believe the invasion of Iraq to be the most harmful U.S. Foreign policy decision of the last 50 years. The later Bush administration was responsible for the invasion. Yet, if asked, I would prefer W to Trump.
That realization has led me to inspect what’s behind that preference.
My fear was that I was succumbing to the anti-Trump hysteria and shying away from the friction of positive change. And that I’ve been one of the sleeping sheep willing to simply go along with the rot of American politics. And my preference for the “swamp” and tolerating all that comes with it is what enables things like Iraq.
In reality though, my criticism of the Trump administration is based on something else. It’s the objection to the threat to our institutions and trust in the rule of law. That threat represents an existential and more permanent one. Policy missteps represent less permanent ones.
Excuse the following sports analogy if you can for a second. I’m aware it’s not a game but I don’t have a better way to break it down.
I’m critical of W. because he was the coach who called the wrong plays. I’m opposed to Trump because I feel like he’s going to ruin the game and render it unplayable for the future.
The latter is a graver danger for me.