Nothing trumps integrity

CARLY STAUFFER; Opinion Writer: stauffce@plu.edu

I log onto my computer and scan the Internet headlines before starting on some homework. After weeks of similar news, it’s no longer a surprise to spot an article proclaiming presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest surge in the polls or his most recent endorsement. The situation I once would’ve regarded as equivalent to Donald Duck striving to gain the title of POTUS has now become reality.

While time has dulled the initial shock I felt when witnessing Trump’s success in the race thus far, I’ve wondered the entire time who, who, on this planet is actually putting their trust in such a man to be the leader of the United States of America? And where are these supporters? Hiding out in caves?

While I understand the Pacific Northwest is most likely one of the areas of the U.S. least-populated with Trump-supporters, I struggle to envision any quality human being pledging their support to an egomaniac who claims that greed is good and who sexualizes everything in his sight.

A glance at the New York Times Op-Ed page as I ate breakfast on Saturday morning, however, shed some light on my conundrum, and I began to understand a little more about the average Trump supporters: they may not actually look like their party-favorite. Though some may take after Trump and be power-hungry, attention-needy misogynists that shouldn’t be trusted with children (let alone a goldfish), the others may actually be every-day people who mean well.

But, as I continue to learn in watching the presidential race progress, there’s an immense difference between “meaning well” and actually knowing how to put good intent into action, justly, effectively and with integrity.

The Times editorial I refer to is a piece called “The Case for Donald Trump” written by Chris Collins. Collins makes the argument many of us are familiar with regarding the “why” behind Trump’s success. Why do people like him? Why does he get such big crowds? Why is he doing so well? Why, why, why?d trump

Because, Collins answers, “Americans are angry.”

Try to think back to the last time you were angry. Like, really angry. Remember? Now think of a decision you made when you were that angry. Was it a good decision? Was it a decision you would have made had you not been so livid?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that there is not such a thing as righteous anger, or intelligent decision-making in times of frustration. But more often than not, those actions we take when steam is coming out of our ears are the ones we later try to block out of our minds, or recall with a sheepish smile and shake of the head. (My own personal examples include several strongly-worded letters, and that one time I hit someone with a bouquet of flowers. We’ll talk about that later.)

As you may have caught on, my point is this: anger is rarely the cause behind an intellectually-sound decision. It certainly should not be the reason behind a vote for the president of the United States.

To be fair, Collins did cite additional explanations besides Americans’ anger as reasons to support Trump. Collins communicated his belief that, as a successful businessman – though such a claim is dependent upon how one defines “successful” – Trump would likewise be a successful executive of this country. He also claims that Trump’s appeal lies in his willingness to “put forward proposals to protect our nation, rather than skirt uncomfortable issues.”

Yet, whether or not Trump would be such a successful executive, or effectively protect our nation, is, I believe, irrelevant. Even if such safety and security were guaranteed with Trump as the commander-in-chief, they’d come at a titanic cost – one that we ought to never be willing to pay, regarding any decisions we ever make.

What is this price? Integrity.

It’s impossible to truly be a Trump-supporter without sacrificing integrity to at least some degree. As Collins, a Trump-supporter, admits in his article: “Even some of his supporters don’t agree with everything he says.” While Collins’ follows this phrase with a defense for Trump, the defense really shouldn’t matter. There does not exist a good-enough excuse for the sacrifice of goodness and honorable moral principles.

Donald Trump bases a woman’s worth on her appearance. He lacks compassion and respect for those who have a different color of skin than he does. He has sexualized his own daughter, even when she was just an infant. It’s easy to discern his values: himself, money and boobs.

Case in point: Donald Trump has proven himself to have a severe deficiency of integrity.

I sympathize for the angry, every-day Americans – for the Trump supporters fueled by anger and frustration. Many have valid reasons to possess such anger. But I beg them to not let their frustration blind them to the colossal sacrifice that must be made in voting for Donald Trump.

Regardless of whether or not you believe Trump would successfully manage the United States’ finances or protect us from our enemies, there is no uncertainty about this: electing Donald Trump would tell the rest of the world that we are willing to sacrifice integrity for our own survival. Before you cast your vote, I beg you to ask yourself: is this a sacrifice you are willing to make?

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