It all comes down to balls.
Courage is abhorred more than admired, because cowardice is far more prevalent. Physical and moral courage require commitment to an objective or principle. Cowards abandon their objectives or principles at the first sign of pressure, resistance, or opprobrium and hate the steadfast, even if they’re ostensibly allied in the same cause.
Political venues are nowhere to look for courage. Politics is a popularity contest and its winners lie, flatter, and pander. They don’t generally stand for anything grander than their own advancement. The venal pursuits of politicians and bureaucrats—power, money, sex, intoxication—don’t lend themselves to stirring moral defenses. Power ebbs and flows, but there’s a community of interest—perpetuation of a corrupt system. They’re all “part of the same hypocrisy,” and revelation of it serves no one’s interest.
Truth is the enemy of hypocritical regimes, which makes telling it, as George Orwell noted, a “revolutionary act,” bold and dangerous. President Trump spouts his share of nonsense, bombast, hyperbole, and lies, but it’s not those excesses that frightens and enrages the regime. Rather, he has shattered the veneer of respectability that cloaks its incompetence, corruption, and carnage. He challenges elite consensus on interventionism, immigration and trade, and the whole canon of political correctness.
His most recent truth bomb was telling Bill O’Reilly that the US has its share of killers, and implying the country’s killing doesn’t always spring from innocent motives. That unremarkable statement sent the chicken-hawk, “exceptional nation” crew into a mindless tizzy. Trump reveals in real life what Francis Ford Coppola captured with the cinematic confrontation between Michael Corleone and US Senator Geary: our rulers are criminals. It’s telling that at scene’s end, the audience hopes that Mafia killer Corleone “wins” his standoff with the vile senator.
Exposure is not Trump’s worst transgression. He’s got balls, the exposed don’t, and at a primal level, the neutered reflexively resent the testicled. Since rulers began ruling, courage, at least of the physical variety, has been a primary job qualification. Much of human history is not far removed from Game of Thrones-style intrigue and bloodshed. Those who couldn’t screw their courage to the sticking place found themselves in a dungeon or on the gallows. Machiavelli advised leaders to cultivate fear, not love. At the Al Smith dinner and his inaugural address, Trump displayed a full frontal fortitude never seen among the high and mighty he challenged.
Balls explain two well-recognized sociological phenomena. Warriors challenge death, knowing they may not win, which is contrary to every biological imperative hard-wired into the human species. Demanding and relentless training, complete immersion in follow-orders and brotherhood indoctrination, and the exigencies of life-or-death situations override instinct and inculcate martial courage. With rare exceptions (see “Much More Than Trump,” SLL), societies pay homage to the warriors who defend them, saluting that courage.
It’s virtually a law of nature that statuesque, strikingly beautiful women like Melania Trump end up with alpha males. Courage, and the confidence and strength that flow from it, rank high on the list of alpha male traits. They exercise a compelling and evolutionary attraction, given the necessity for women to protect themselves and their offspring. Not coincidentally, balls are symbols of both courage and reproductive prowess.
When Faustian bargains are struck, supplicants trade away not just their souls but their balls. Washington is a Faustian bargain flea market, making it the City of No Balls, Eunuchville. In vanquishing Eunuchville’s chosen Republicans and Democrat, Trump shredded its shibboleths, existentially embarrassing the eunuchs, revealing them as purveyors of puerile pap. His deprecatory “low energy” was code for “low testosterone.” Political correctness has excused the eunuchs from challenging manifest idiocies and thereby offending legions of idiots. Trump says things many “ordinary” people believe but which in Eunuchville—smothered by the sanctimonious stultification of political correctness—can’t be said.
The Democrats’ brain trust must grasp this source of Trump’s appeal if they hope to attract voters from Trump’s base, not only at the presidential level but on the state and local strata where they’ve been decimated. Psychologically, it’s far more important than programs to address income inequality or help displaced factory workers. They’ve got a long row to hoe, and they keep making it longer. Nobody has ever accused Hillary Clinton of moral courage, and the only physical courage she’s “demonstrated” was her made up story of being under fire in Bosnia. Then there are the Million Woman March’s pink hats and vagina costumes, the “fundamental” right of men dressed as women to use women’s restrooms, and Chuck Schumer sobbing over refugees. None of this plays well with the F-150 crowd (it plays just as poorly that many Democrats don’t know what an F-150 is).
There’s one hope for the Democrats, if the brain trust is smart enough to seize it (the betting odds go the other way). Tulsi Gabbard is a Democratic representative from Hawaii. She’s a veteran who served two tours in Iraq (physical courage), resigned from the Democratic National Committee last year to support Bernie Sanders (moral courage), and has been an outspoken critic of US involvement in Syria (more moral courage), recently strolling through Syria’s bombed-out streets with former Representative Dennis Kucinich (more physical courage).
Predictably, that trip and her renewed criticism of US policy has elicited a storm of criticism from other politicians and the mainstream media, who focused their vitriol on her meeting with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. She has not backed down. Here are the balls the Democratic party so desperately needs. Her gender, military service, support of Sanders, youth (she’s 35), athleticism (she surfs), photogenic good looks (never an irrelevant consideration for candidates of either sex), and willingness to take on the Deep State and its interventionism offer a sharp contrast to the Democrats’ enfeebled gerontocracy. Embracing her would be a significant step towards erasing the party of FDR and JFK’ s courage deficit.
A tidal wave of trouble approaches. It will swamp the cowards and may overwhelm the courageous. As they did during his campaign, President Trump’s supporters will stay with him if he meets it forthrightly. If he loses his nerve, he’ll lose his support and his presidency. On the other hand, if he can, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, force his “heart and nerve and sinew to serve” his “turn long after they are gone” (“If—”), he may be remembered as this generation’s FDR.