America’s ‘Titanic’ is not about Trump

Will Alexander
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Posted: Jun 24, 2017 12:50 AM
America’s ‘Titanic’ is not about Trump

As Trump’s enemies attempt a “coup d’état by due process of law,” they fail to see that a Trump-less government would still leave America with big problems of Titanic proportions.

Short-sighted hostilities against Trump miss the point, completely. Ratings-addicted media, hallucinating on knee-jerk anti-Trump bias, use all sorts of journalistic wizardry to conjure up the illusion that Trump is America’s biggest problem. He’s not.

The deeper issues dividing us are not, and never have been, about Trump; they’re about how the main sides see the predicament of the American ship.

One side sees it as unsinkable. No matter what damage it’s suffered from social, political and economic icebergs, “We’ll get back on course,” they say; “just as we’ve always done.” They put the tectonic cultural shifts of the Obama years in the same category as Elvis’s bad influence over the teens of his day – just a hiccup in history. “People resisted change back then, too,” they say.

The other side has pored over every detail of the ship’s actual damage, and they see trouble.

They see our national finances so severely mismanaged that politicians have stopped pretending they know how to fix it. They see the rule of law becoming flimsy as politicians sworn to uphold it, openly defy it to stitch together tribes of voters from any mob screaming for “social justice”. They see the same politicians applying laws partially and harshly against critics. They see American schools and universities becoming secular madrassas that act as re-education camps for a brand of tolerance that’s intolerant to any pupil, parent, preacher or politician who disagrees. They see political racism eroding historic strides achieved against real racism. And year after year, they see no one doing anything to really fix things – so it’s becoming normal to live with holes.

Their assessment? This ship is sinking. “Anything’s possible,” they say, “but defying nature is not one of them. You fix a boat by repairing the hole, not by punching more holes in it.”

But Utopians don’t see the “Titanic” sinking – it’s too big. Since they’re blind to desperate times, desperate measures seem crazy. “Why’s Trump throwing passengers onto tiny boats in frigid waters on a pitch-black midnight? He’s nuts!”

But if the ship really is sinking, he couldn’t toss them over fast enough; sipping tea to the serenade of violinists inside an opulent Café Parisian is nuts.

I believe our ship is sinkable – and sinking.

“Crazy” Trump just might be the one person nuts enough to cut through the politics, see problems as they are, and fix things.

The Titanic tragedy provides a good metaphor for how the two sides see America’s predicament.

Shortly after the ship collided with that iceberg in 1912, no one knew at first how severe the damage was. After a closer look, the ship’s designer broke the news to a stunned captain that the damage was fatal. Titanic, four hours into her maiden voyage, was headed to the ocean floor.

The collision forced the ship’s starboard hull plates to buckle inward, opening five of its 16 watertight compartments to monstrous ocean waters. With five compartments filling up, keeping the ship afloat was scientifically impossible.

To avoid panic, the captain ordered the crew not to tell passengers.

According to survivors, that’s why passengers were so optimistic about the predicament of their ship: They had no idea it was sinking. For one thing, the descent was too gradual to cause alarm. Secondly, the crew – who didn’t have all the facts in the beginning – assured passengers that the ship was safely back on course.

With that assurance, passengers fell asleep.

“Having been told that there was no danger, and believing such to be the fact from the general conduct of the passengers … “scribbled Dr. Washington Dodge while aboard the RMS Carpathia (the ship that saved Titanic’s survivors), “I insisted that my family remain in bed and await developments.”

“Everybody was most cheerful because they never thought it was so serious,” said a female survivor in a 1957 TV interview. “I didn’t realize that there was any danger; I didn’t think it was possible that a big ship like that could sink.”

But the ship’s predicament was extremely serious. About 1,500 passengers had less than two hours to live. With no hope of saving the ship, Captain Edward Smith ordered his crew to issue vests and deploy the life boats.

Like these passengers, many Americans have fallen asleep after collisions with cataclysmic social, political and economic icebergs. Looking at the splendor above water, they don’t believe the ship is sinking. Oblivious to a flood of institutional dangers, they’re “remaining in bed and awaiting developments,” – resting in the assurances of those they’ve entrusted to navigate the ship: “We’re back on course,” they say, and they are “believing such to be the fact ….”

Like the Titanic, time-tested institutional structures are buckling under the weight of neglect and mismanagement, and waters are gushing into five major “watertight” compartments: the Judeo-Christian ethic, the family, government, the economy, and education.

But unlike the Titanic, there’s time to save the ship.

With Trump’s election, both sides have an opportunity to make the hard decisions. America appears to be on course, but she is severely damaged after Obama’s historic attempt to “fundamentally change the United States of America.” He tried, in eight years, to reverse generations of institutional wisdom grounded in centuries of experiment in the laboratory of American history – the kind Will Durant warned against. It didn’t work.

Democracies are fragile. They were never designed to be indestructible when the very structures that keep them afloat are severely altered or damaged. Without repairs, staying afloat is naturally and scientifically impossible.

For the sake of the country, Trump deserves “all hands on deck” to create policies designed to restore the rule of law; restore the non-theocratic supremacy of the Judeo-Christian ethic; keep the fed’s regulatory tentacles from strangling enterprise; build a lethal military that our enemies fear; and generally give the country the surgery it needs to restore our national splendor.