“I, who have no character whatsoever, am now going to issue a proclamation on that topic, for the express purpose of telling young people how they can get what I don’t have and don’t even want nor understand,” would have been a much more realistic and honest communique to come out of the White House, but instead they issued this:
We celebrate National Character Counts Week because few things are more important than cultivating strong character in all our citizens, especially our young people. The grit and integrity of our people, visible throughout our history, defines the soul of our Nation. This week, we reflect on the character of determination, resolve, and honor that makes us proud to be American.
As President Reagan declared, “There is no institution more vital to our Nation’s survival than the American family. Here the seeds of personal character are planted, the roots of public virtue first nourished.” Character is built slowly. Our actions — often done first out of duty — become habits ingrained in the way we treat others and ourselves. As parents, educators, and civic and church leaders, we must always work to cultivate strength of character in our Nation’s youth.
Character can be hard to define, but we see it in every day acts — raising and providing for a family with loving devotion, working hard to make the most of an education, and giving back to devastated communities. These and so many other acts big and small constitute the moral fiber of American culture. Character is forged around kitchen tables, built in civic organizations, and developed in houses of worship. It is refined by our choices, large and small, and manifested in what we do when we think no one is paying attention.
As we strive every day to improve our character and that of our Nation, we pause and thank those individuals whose strength of character has inspired us and who have provided a supporting hand during times of need. In particular, we applaud families as they perform the often thankless task of raising men and women of character.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2017, as National Character Counts Week. I call upon public officials, educators, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.
DONALD J. TRUMP
When you finish picking your jaw up off the floor, read this from the Washington Post:
But the real problem has always been Trump’s fundamental unfitness for high office. It is not Trump’s indiscipline and lack of leadership, which make carrying a legislative agenda forward nearly impossible. It is not his vulgarity and smallness, which have been the equivalent of spray-painting graffiti on the Washington Monument. It is not his nearly complete ignorance of policy and history, which condemns him to live in the eternal present of his own immediate desires.
It is no longer possible to safely ignore the leaked cries for help coming from within the administration. They reveal a president raging against enemies, obsessed by slights, deeply uninformed and incurious, unable to focus, and subject to destructive whims. A main task of the chief of staff seems to be to shield him from dinner guests and telephone calls that might set him off on a foolish or dangerous tangent. Much of the White House senior staff seems bound, not by loyalty to the president, but by a duty to protect the nation from the president. Trump, in turn, is reported to have said: “I hate everyone in the White House.” And also, presumably, in the State Department, headed by a secretary of state who apparently regards his boss as a “moron.”
The time for whispered criticisms and quiet snickering is over. The time for panic and decision is upon us. The thin line of sane, responsible advisers at the White House — such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — could break at any moment. Already, Trump’s protests of eternal love for Kelly are a bad sign for the general’s future. The American government now has a dangerous fragility at its very center. Its welfare is as thin as an eggshell — perhaps as thin as Donald Trump’s skin.
Thin skinned is the least of it. Shallow, stupid, vindictive, spineless, we could go on and on. To quote G.K. Chesterton, “Brave men are all vertebrates. They have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle. But these modern cowards are all crustaceans; their hardness is all on the cover, and their softness is inside.”
In Trump’s case he’s flabby and soft on the outside and what’s inside is some even more unstable amorphous mass of whirling confusion and depravity — but nowhere is character to be seen. Not as that term is commonly understood. Trump would have done better to proclaim this week National Lack Of Character Week, of which he is indisputably the poster child.