Scott Cawelti Photo
  • Wise Conservatives Needed

    • Posted on Sep 27, 2015
    Here's this morning's (9-27) Courier column.  It's about how little wisdom we see on the national political scene, particularly among the GOP candidates for President.  With the Pope's visit, we're seeing a huge split among conservatives--instead of changing their minds about climate change, etc. they reject the Pope, as do Catholics, amazingly enough. 

    Do adults ever change their minds?  I'm beginning to believe that very few ever do.  Where are the wise conservatives who can, in fact, change their minds.   

    Wisdom—the “better angels of our nature,” as Lincoln so memorably put it—is never in long supply.  We all need more from everyone.  

     It’s the ability to take the high road, the long view, to accept the things you cannot change, to radiate gratitude and kindness, to empathize more than criticize, to recognize that we’re all in this together.   

     On the current scene, Pope Francis best exemplifies wisdom, and Catholics rightly and mostly support him for what he’s doing for their Church.  He’s energizing and challenging, a transformative figure.  

     He’s still a conservative, understand.  He supports the basic tenets of Catholicism, yet wisely challenges aspects of them. 
    Conservatives believe in tradition, authority, sanctity, and loyalty as core values.  Pope Francis has exhibited all of these in his speeches and behavior.   Yet he also insists that authority can go too far. 

     “Who am I to judge?” he said in reference to gay priests.  He’s also been following the humble path of all genuine spiritual leaders, literally washing the feet of poor and homeless people.   That startles everyone.   

     The polar opposite of the Pope, would be—duh—Donald Trump.  He’s the role model for fools and folly, for ignorance and ego.  He currently leads the Republican field.  Wise conservatives must feel mortified.   

     I’m among the first to admit that any working government needs a balance of conservatives with their insistence on tradition, etc. and liberals, whose core values 
    of equality, justice, diversity, and change inevitably clash with conservatives’ values.     Ideally, somewhere between those two a balance emerges.  Too much of either ideology leads to indefensible policies and unsustainable practices. 

     That’s where we need wisdom.  And that’s where the current crop of GOP contenders fall short.  Perilously, frighteningly, shockingly short, with Trump leading the pack to the bottom.  

    He’s probably the most foolish human being in the western hemisphere, a fool’s fool.  Worse, he’s probably a phony fool, putting on a bully mask to garner support.  
    In contrast, wise conservative leaders, from Pope Francis to Eisenhower to (at times) Reagan, the elder Bush, and Colin Powell all deserve respect and credit for upholding conservative principles, but doing it wisely.   

     Where is such wisdom in the current GOP field?  They use Obama as a scapegoat for all the world’s ills, they lie about his background and record, they cannot give him any credit or gratitude for his accomplishments.  That would include lowering the deficit, expanding health care coverage, growing attention to climate change (which the Pope supports), serious use of negotiations to resolve conflicts (Cuba and Iran) and so on.  

     Wisdom begins with giving credit where credit is due.  That sets the stage for focusing on where real disagreements lie.  Then the work starts, and everyone benefits.    
    A reverse case in point, now generating massive controversy, is the GOP’s Planned Parenthood defunding.  Carly Fiorina’s impassioned address at the GOP debate could have begun with her admitting that abortions cannot legally be funded by the government, and that abortion services amount to just 3 percent of women’s health services that Planned Parenthood provides.  

     Then she might have asserted that those videos were in fact disturbing, and she would support an investigation to determine if the group was selling “body parts,”
    which is flat-out illegal.   

     That approach would have boosted her wisdom credentials. Instead, she took the fool’s low road, referring to stock video footage not related to Planned Parenthood, and made a blatant attempt to smear the organization.  

     GOP lawmakers continue on this path with threatening to defund the entire federal government over a non-issue that whips up their base. 

    Where are the leaders who would side with the Pope and other wise conservatives to stop this foolishness? 

     We need them, now.   

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Hot Button Issues
    • Conservatives/Liberals
    • Politics
    • Cedar Valley Chronicles
  • Donald Trump for President

    • Posted on Aug 02, 2015
    Here's this morning's Courier column--my take on Donald Trump and why he 
    would make a great president.  

    Satire, anyone? 

     Universal agreement is as rare as humility these days, but lately seems to have emerged from pundits and politicians alike.   All agree: Trump will never serve as our 45th President. 

     No Air Force Trump/One.  No White House with “TRUMP” emblazoned above it in 20-foot neon letters.   No parade of Trump-ettes as First Ladies.   

     Even the GOP, not known for its rational and level-headed candidates, agrees that their party is not suicidal enough to nominate him.  

     He’s never held office, he has no real political allies, he doesn’t seem to know how to delegate, his power stems from wealth, not respect, they cluck.   

     Picky, picky, picky.  

     Come on, people.   Trump would make a great American President.  

     Why?  Let me count the ways: 

    (1) He’s the loudest candidate ever.  He doesn’t talk so much as bellow. A typical American, let’s face it.  Or rather, stereotypical. 

     Travelers in every country I’ve visited, and I’ve visited plenty, comment on how Americans raise noise levels.  I’ve noticed it myself. Enter around a quiet bistro in Paris, a sedate pub in London, a street corner in Munich, and if there’s a group of people shouting, laughing, hollering, and goofing off—who will they be?  Invariably, Americans. 

    We’re the world’s noisiest people, and Trump’s the loudest of all.  We deserve a President who’s more like us than we are.   

    (2) He shoots from the hip, or in his case, the lip.  Again, that’s America at its core:  shoot first, ask questions later.  

     The cowboy mentality is the most beloved and most common image of America we project, from the Marlboro man to Billy the Kid to Jesse James—outlaws and rogues all, and folk heroes to boot.  All action, no reflection.   

    They’re cousins to gangsters, another American type who provoke the world’s envy and anxiety—an unbeatable combination when it comes to grabbing headlines.  That’s where Trump usually resides.   

     A gangster cowboy President.  Yeeehaah.  

    (3) He’s richer than Croesus, the ancient billionaire Greek king who was eventually burned alive. 

     Never mind, that won’t happen to President Trump.  Americans admire wealth, they seek it, they consider themselves millionaires-in-waiting.  
    They’re sure that really smart people who work hard get rich. The richer they get, the smarter and more hard-working they must be.  Hence, they love Trump, and a Trump presidency would represent American wealth-worshippers perfectly.   

     How much is Trump worth?  Depends on who’s counting.  Trump says at least ten billion, whereas real accountants say fewer than three billion.  That’s still real wealth, no matter who’s counting.   

    (4) He answers to no one, thanks to his billions.    As his campaign proves, he can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to whomever he wants, and not worry about going broke or to jail.  Billionaires live in an ego bubble where everyone tells them what they want to hear.  Those who question him get bullied off his stage, immediately, with name-calling and semi-false assertions spoken as full truth.    

     We’d have a true bully-pulpit President.    

    (5) Finally, and the best reason:  Full-bore, all-out pride.  Donald Trump, without doubt, is probably the proudest Presidential candidate in history.  He trumpets his wealth, his accomplishments, his intelligence, his certainty that he’s right.   

     What a relief and contrast he presents to Obama, the diffident consensus-seeker. 
    That alone will make him attractive to Obama haters.  

     Of course some will object that pride means hubris, and that’s the deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Pooh-pooh. 

     Pride is what made America exceptional, and Trump’s pride will infuse America with a powerful national ego, a new insistence that we’re the best, the most, the richest, the smartest, the utter center of the universe.  

     If the GOP wakes up and actually nominates him, he’d likely win based on pride alone.   

     President Trump would then make America grate again.  
    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Humor
    • satire
    • Politics
    • Hot Button Issues
Contact Scott Header
Contact Scott Photo
Brothers Blood Book
James Hearst
Landscape Iowa CD