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January 28, 2016

Outraged or Impressed?

Ken Kellar

I can’t decide whether I’m outraged or impressed with Donald Trump’s refusal to attend the next Fox News debate, scheduled for 9 P.M. tonight from Iowa. I suppose I’m undecided. My only negative feeling is toward myself.


Am I waiting for the most skilled pundit to tell me how I should think about Trump’s decision? I hope not. But I’m not sure.


How often do I wait for some “journalist” or political commentator to spin my opinion from facts that are available to me? It’s easy to let someone else do the heavy lifting. I might read an article that lists a few facts associated with an event. Sometimes those facts lead to an obvious conclusion. If the issue is important to me I will try to find multiple articles on the subject to get multiple angles and, hopefully, a larger set of facts to work with.


I often find a political news item which lists just the information to lead me to a conclusion the writer wants, listing and emphasizing supporting material while downplaying – or even omitting – facts that might lead me away from the writer’s conclusion. Often the same set of facts can support opposing conclusions.


So, back to Trump. He has been rocking in the polls because of the hope he has engendered on some important topics such as foreign relations, borders and trade.


He has said “outrageous” things predicted to end his run for office, yet his popularity grows. He is operating in a different world than your typical politician.


So, is Trump’s withdrawal from the next debate admirable or contemptible? I think I could be convinced to draw either conclusion.


I’m inclined to applaud Trump’s refusal to play the debate game. If I recall, the first “question” Fox News gave Mr. Trump last round was an accusation that he was a misogynist. He didn’t forget that swipe and it appears Fox News is paying for their decision. And maybe they were irresponsible for asking such a question at a presidential debate.


I personally think Mr. Trump is scary in the same way capitalism is scary. There are no guaranteed outcomes. In our founder’s view of capitalism, a citizen is free. Free to choose, decide, risk or play it safe. One may fail or succeed. In that way capitalism offers unbounded hope, but also the dread of the unknown.


I think capitalism is a fare metaphor for Donald Trump. He does not accept the yoke of tradition and protocol his competitors choose to wear. Without that yoke, he might achieve great things, but he may also do horribly foolish things.


So, while tomorrow a pundit might guide me to a different conclusion, for now I am inclined to admire Mr. Trump for his confidence and, yes, arrogance to chart his own path.


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