Resentment can lead even the best of hearts into poor judgment, malice and even self-destruction. While life provides ample opportunities to hold a grudge, the resistance to do so remains a triumph of the human soul. Sadly, that triumph can be elusive — and seems to be the plight of the 45th president. From barbed comments against those in his party and the pulpit-pounding of outrage, Donald Trump’s resentment oozes through each insult since the 2020 election (and prior). Although an honest media and objective law enforcement might possibly prove his election misconduct claims, Mr. Trump’s well-being remains in his hands — not theirs.
In the play “The Mourning Bride” (1697), William Congreve penned the immortal phrase, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” Clearly, Congreve had yet to meet a spurned politician while writing that line.
Artists possess a rare gift that turns personal misery into gold. People such as Sam Kinison, Denis Leary, Lewis Black and others proved that with solid material, rancor and bitterness could even launch stellar comedy careers. With politicians, however, the audience needs more. Wit, comedy and talent help, but the oratory must primarily raise — not descend to vindictiveness.
Outrage motivates but fails to inspire.
Although living with quadriplegia for more than 55 years, Joni Eareckson Tada states, “Life becomes inspiring, not in spite of the problems and the hard hits, but because of them.”
The ability to see beyond the injuries and even injustices elevates one to greatness.
Mr. Trump’s accomplishments will speak for generations — maybe further. His policies of America First, a secure border, firm boundaries with trade partners and economic growth for the American people created a prosperous and healthy America in record time. Those things deserve recognition and should echo through the corridors of time.
Due largely to Mr. Trump, the Supreme Court finally rectified a national disgrace and reversed Roe v. Wade. While the political capital spent proved costly in the midterm elections, what better way to expend that capital than promoting life? These accomplishments and more serve as towering achievements for Mr. Trump that eclipse many other presidents. All of these things and more certainly qualify him for another term.
Yet, while wrecking balls are essential in tearing down the dilapidated, they make poor tools to erect new construction. Can Mr. Trump pivot to a “kinder, gentler” candidate? Should he?
Despite exposing the media’s bias and the extensive dysfunction in Washington, the transition to uniter has remained outside Mr. Trump’s grasp. Relentless fighting on multiple fronts allows little time for building — and turning adversaries into allies requires a graciousness that is rare with the bloody sword of warfare.
As the nation enters this uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, Mr. Trump would not only serve himself, the country, and even the world better by using his unique platform to promote personal and national gratitude — to the exclusion of grievances. In doing so, he (and others) would discover that under quality leadership, mistakes — and even misdeeds by others — become opportunities for growth and improvement.
America does not crave a monarchy, but most cry for nobility. The invitation to nobleness bids takers to step into the rare air of authentic leadership and greatness that can heal a nation and inspire beyond its flaws and limitations. If, as Mr. Trump states in every rally, we are a nation that bows only to God, then modeling that humility before God becomes paramount — and presidential.
Are the gains for one man, for the nation, or for God?
Katharine Lee Bates answered this when penning, “Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine.”
• Peter Rosenberger hosts the nationally syndicated radio program “Hope for the Caregiver.” @hope4caregiver