I was reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and came across a passage which helped me put Donald Trump’s vanity into perspective. I thought it might help if you have trouble with this aspect of his personality. For this purpose, I will put aside his quite extraordinary and expansive policy agenda, which will take America to a much better place if he succeeds in even getting half of it done. I will also put aside the empowerment and inspiration that Trump’s win gives to those opposing the shroud of political correctness the progressive elites are foisting on the entire Western world.
A first thing to say is that unless you meet someone and spend considerable time with them you can never know them. That’s a caveat. A second caveat is that no one feature defines someone’s personality. Finally, a third caveat, I am not a shrink.
Trump has come under fire for making demeaning remarks about his critics including, God forbid!, women, and his opponents in the Republican primary contest. My observation is that he is a counterpuncher. In other words, he doesn’t initiate the exchange but sets out to finish it. Sometimes this takes him too far. Tweeting an unflattering picture of Cruz’s wife juxtaposed with a picture of Melania, in reaction to the release of a picture of his wife in her modelling days, is the prime example. Though, to be fair, he did express regret over this.
Trump is overly sensitive to criticism. As a counterpuncher, to mix my metaphors, he lets little or nothing go through to the keeper — as he showed with Mr Kahn. Coming as part of the same territory, he is susceptible to flattery. Being overly impressed with Putin’s compliment that he was “brilliant” is symptomatic of his vanity.
Not surprisingly — in view of my support for Trump and his polices — I do not think this flaw is fatal. Great leaders have flaws, as do we all. This is the way Lewis put it into perspective for me when discussing pride and vanity.
Pride… has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. As long as you are proud you cannot know God….The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise [of others], the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care for the praise at all you have reached rock bottom.
That is why vanity, though it is the sort of pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable kind. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a childlike and even (in an odd way) a humble fault…You value other people enough that you want them to look at you.
So there it is. Trump may be vain but this is not a mortal sin. I am prepared to live with Trump’s vanity. You should too. It will help drive him to make America great again.
Need any convincing? Imagine a nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue. Hillary is victorious. More of the debilitating same is in store: more regulation; more wind farms; more taxation; more illegal immigration; more Muslim refugees; more political correctness; more welfare dependency; more abortions. Now awaken. Bountiful possibilities are in sight. Sure, life has a way of bringing disappointments. But still, right now, the pall has lifted and promise has replaced “fearful fatalistic apathy” (to purloin Churchill on Islam). Oh, for it to happen in Australia! Are there any vain leaders out there?