Jim Schultz

In a mere two months, our great nation will decide who will lead our country for the next four years. This decision, according to many pundits, is only about the personality of the candidate. How wrong they are to make this the singular point of a selection process. A gamble of that magnitude is illogical and fraught with dire global consequences for the country that I love.

While many today seek to dismantle the history of our country by removing vestiges of our great past, and not so great record, I will not ignore our past. Learning from the past has been core to the progress that has made ours the greatest country in the world and we must continue to listen to the lessons of history as we forge our future.

Case in point. Last century, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill was considered by almost every historian to have been a great and successful leader. However, the disdain for his personality was palpable in his time. Dean Williams, a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, wrote of Churchill: “When it came to dealing with this leadership challenge, Churchill was pig-headed. His stubborn attachment to his own point of view, coupled with a can-do attitude that verged on the hubristic, led him to ignore, discount and distort vital data.” (1)

Sound familiar? Winston Churchill was hated by his own party, the opposition party and the press. The world is safer because Churchill stood up to Nazi Germany – just as President Trump is doing today against the many who seek a weaker United States. As Mark Twain is famously quoted: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

In January 2019, Psychology Today identified a mental health condition coined as Trump Deranged Syndrome (TDS). (2) They attribute this behavioral issue as an emotional regulator problem – in other words, a person who is consider to be suffering from TDS can only react to the mercurial personality of President Trump with a distorted cognitive and behavioral imbalance that blinds them to the true facts.

I analogize the current election between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden to a Homecoming King selection process. It appears that many individuals who will vote wish to make this November’s election about who is the most popular and not base their decision upon who is the most qualified. We can be thankful that this popularity contest approach is bound by the Electoral College. Our country’s founders had great foresight and wisdom.

A recent columnist in this paper noted that “Joe Biden is a good and decent man.” (“Trump gamble did not pay off,” Opinion Page, Aug. 26, 2020.) Okay. So what? Does that make him qualified? If you were told that you need to have heart surgery tomorrow and you could pick between two heart surgeons, which one would you choose? The kind and nice-looking individual who attends services at the local church each Sunday, but has a dozen malpractice suits (i.e. think of Joe Biden and his opposition to Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent legislation in the 1970s). Alternately, would you choose the surgeon who is a womanizer, foul-mouthed and generally not a nice person, but is considered one of the finest heart surgeons in the country? The decision is yours. I know where I stand.

The accomplishments of President Trump and his administration are staggering. Here are a few examples: record low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanics, women and other minorities; rising wages for the first time in decades for the middle class and poor; a GDP growth rate that is more than twice the previous administrations; the defeat of Caliphate; and a show of strength in trade policy.

It is not worth the gamble to pick someone based on their personality. The future of our country deserves more than that from us. We need a president who gets the job done despite a personality that may be seen as offensive by some. The job of President of the United States is more important than that. And, for this reason, I strongly encourage you to cast your vote in favor of the best person for the job … join me in doubling down on Donald J. Trump.

(2) Psychology Today – psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-men/201901/is-trump-derangement-syndrome-real-mental-condition

Jim Schultz is the CEO of Open Prairie in Effingham. He is the former Director of the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity under Governor Bruce Rauner. Currently, he is a Vice-Chairman to the Trump Ag and Rural Advisory Committee.

(1) Forbes – forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2015/04/24/winston-churchills-terrible-leadership-failure/#27bacf794dbe

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