Scott Pruitt is gone, finally. A lot of people lost bets on this one, figuring about 10 ethics investigations would be his end.It took half again as many. This might be a good time to think about what – or in whom- we invest our support.
There are people who support the policies that Pruitt & Company purveyed. Fair enough; people can argue policy with passion and substance. Challenge reasoning and call out facts from opinions. Anything less would be downright Un-American.
Some also defend Pruitt and others whose conduct or performance fall short. One may like their philosophies – so be it. But can anyone say Betsy DeVos knows anything about education, beyond her philosophy? That Ben Carson knows anything about urban development or housing? That either of them prepared for their duties? Those are rhetorical questions. They have philosophies, but they are not up to their positions.
There is a problem with such blanket defenses. If you say Pruitt is a great American hounded out of office by the press, you devalue the policy arguments you have. Pruitt’s misbehavior, bad judgement, and dishonesty were broad, deep, and visible. Defend that and I know your politics are more important to you than your values or your judgement. I would see little reason to invest any time in hearing what else you have to offer. You have the Pruitt Syndrome.
But, tell me you think Pruitt had sound policies, that you hate how he risked them for aberrant behavior. Now, I can give you credit for at least having some priorities. I will disagree with you completely on the policies, but let’s have it out. You sound like you could be a serious person.
Pruitt, of course, is the easy case. But the same applies to all in government. People are free to support Trump’s policies as they understand them (more on that topic in a later blog). But they only can have effect if they also acknowledge his faults and failures. Otherwise, it’s a cheerleading effort without substance.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander. This expectation of honest evaluation applies to all, not only Republicans. Case in point: I have long been a big fan of President Obama. I find him to be a man of singular intellect and character. History will rank him in the top tier of Presidents for many reasons. I worked hard for him in two elections.
But I also felt he could have worked congressional relations (on both sides of the aisle) better than he did. He could have done far more to build his party. He underestimated Putin, with Syria as the culmination of that shortfall. This particular failure started a sequence of events we are still paying for today.
When a leader fails, I am required to acknowledge that. Otherwise, my own moral and intellectual foundation is weak. No leader is perfect; we fail to call them out at our peril.
So, how about it America? Let’s be honest enough and smart enough to admit it when someone we admire falls short. To support someone, no matter what, only makes you irrelevant to the discussion. We have more important things to settle – don’t waste your personal integrity.
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