I don’t remember who taught me to do this, maybe it’s just the way my mind works. But if I hear that, for example, some otherwise successful and prepared leader lost a battle because he underestimated his enemy, I try to live under the mindset of the other extreme. In this case, I live always overestimate my enemy. (Enemy is a bit harsh here, but it’s quick.)
What’s on my mind, today, is that the pundits won’t stop. It’s been four years of Trump and they won’t stop. They somehow believe that today is the day I’ll rise up with them in indignation that Trump lied. (“Up-played.” It’s brilliant.) But until recently I couldn’t answer the question, “Why do the pundits press on? What drives them?”
It cannot be love of country. They cannot be driven by their love of the USA because that’s what drives me. That’s what drives Trump. If I felt they loved America, then I wouldn’t care what they said, anymore than I care what Trump says. But I do care about what they say, rather I do struggle to understand how and why they continue to point out the obvious as if it isn’t obvious. And so something else must be driving them.
At first, I wanted to treat the pundits like children. Like children, I thought, the pundits just didn’t like the man. But then I remembered that underestimating my opponent can lead to disaster, so I have given up that line of thinking.
What, then, would the wisest, most educated and well-read humans who ever walked the earth (here’s the intentional overestimate) be so ate up with that they’d persevere day in and day out against Trump? That became my question.
The answer: Vanity.
If I was wise, well-read (let’s not forget camera ready and funny), and lived in the United States of America right now, I’d hate that no one noticed me. I’d be super pissed that all my brainpower was not translating to real power. Sure, I may live in opulent comfort, but I would know that if I had been alive only a few generations ago, then I would have found that my abilities would have placed real power within my grasp. I’m talking Trump-like power. I would know that I could have very likely been KING OF THE WORLD!! (Flat or not.)
But, as it stands, we all live today. Right now. And no one, not-a-me, and not-a-you, (and not the pundits—from either side) are going to live on in history. President Donald J. Trump will, though. He, in all his buffoonery and apparent lies and orange hair and every other flaw the wise and well-read (perhaps even physically fit) pundits point out unrelentingly, will live on.
Do I care that Trump lives on and I do not? Nope. But if I was as wise and well-read as my (overestimated) opponents must be, then I have to think I’d resent that despite all my education and training and ambitions, that I, daily, was proving to be impotent and forgettable.
This perspective, achieved by overestimating my opponent, allows little ol’ me to admit that this would be a hard truth to face. I could even admit that this hard truth might just drive me into an incessant, blind rage.