Trump, man of action
Today is a day of pomp and circumstance. It’s also a day many people thought would never come: Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. But as I type those words, they seem far less strange than they did a year ago.
Some feel a sense of relief as they watch Obamas say good-bye and fly away. I am feeling that emotion plus a cautious optimism about what Trump will actually do as president.
Quite some time ago I noticed that people tend to describe themselves in different modes. If you were to ask people to give a brief summary of who they are, the first one might use words of emotion and relationship: I am a kind person who likes to talk to people and hear what they say. I have a good sense of humor. That sort of thing.
The second might be a “just the facts” type: I was born in Kansas. I have a degree in mechanical engeering. I have a wife and three children. In other words: I am my resume.
A third might self-define in terms of activities: I love to golf and ski, and in summer I go sailing in my sailboat. I’ve traveled all around the world.
Those modes of description may seem arbitrary, but they are not.
In my opinion, Donald Trump is that last type of person, a man who defines himself though action. That is one of several reasons why it would be difficult to think of him as an intellectual, although he’s sharp and canny and smart. Nor does he seem articulate—although his words certainly get the job done, don’t they? He hardly spoke on the campaign trail about conservatism (as a movement or a theory or set of principles), and doesn’t really define himself in terms of conservatism or any other particular political ism (he talks populist and populism but doesn’t tend to use the words).
It’s no accident that Trump is a builder and developer. He likes to create things in the real world, likes to be able to see and touch the fruits of his labors. It’s no accident he talks so much about infrastructure, too; it’s the sort of tangible accomplishment he knows best.
In sum: a man of action who conceptualizes himself as a man of concrete (pun intened) action and looks at the world that way. He defines himself by what he will do.
Parsing words is something I’m used to doing and something I do quite naturally. But with Trump it’s somewhat of a waste of time, although of course I’ll still do it—and now that he’s president, his words carry even more weight and might have even more repercussions than before.
But it’s Trump’s actions that will tell the tale. And since I’ve been thinking of Trump as an action-defined person for a while now, I was especially struck by the following passage in Trump’s speech today, words that might not have seemed all that memorable to most people:
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
The hour of action is at hand for Trump, as well. With a Republican Congress in place and probably several SCOTUS positions to fill, he has a chance for a great deal of meaningful accomplishment.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]