The Bible warns: “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” But could the same advice apply to the raising of future leaders? The flabbergasted spectator seated behind Donald Trump, when the GOP nominee talked about “Second Amendment people,” seemed to suggest as much.
“[W]e [Southerners],” Darrell Vickers told CNN, “would have taken Mr. Trump to the shed and said, ‘Don’t say things like that because people will misconstrue it.'”
For those unfamiliar with the term, being taken “to the shed” (or, more commonly, behind the woodshed) suggests more than just a good talking to. It implies a good spanking. And it got me thinking of the importance of being put in line—at least, rhetorically (I wouldn’t want to be accused of encouraging violence)—at some point in your life.
So I want to know: When was Mr. Trump last told to get in line? Military school? And who does Mr. Trump respect more than Mr. Trump?
It seems to me that especially attractive young women and incredibly rich old men are perhaps the only two groups of people who are (1) never told to shut up and (2) never informed that their jokes aren’t funny. This makes them out of touch with reality, and occasionally leads to a huge fall from grace.
Who has the ability to tell Trump either of those things?
Most of us have the opposite problem. As Studs Terkel observed, working a particular type of job is largely “about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.”
And it doesn’t end when we punch the clock and go home. The path to maturity passes through countless valleys.
Life, itself, takes us out behind the woodshed.
Not so with Mr. Trump. “I’ve been winning all my life. And that’s what I do, is win,” he boasted to Hugh Hewitt just this morning.
You can learn a lot from a bad job. And you can learn a lot from losing. This is why even privileged Americans ought to make their kids spend at least a little time in the service industry. This is why, despite the reports of head trauma that have become prevalent in football, some parents still find value in making their kids endure two-a-days.
Having, at some point, endured a good ass-kicking is therapeutic—and even necessary—to avoid problems in later life. This is because even decent people (who weren’t raised to be spoiled or entitled brats), are prone to becoming prideful and sloppy.
It is a common lament that elected officials, once ensconced, banish anyone who might inform them that “the emperor has no clothes on.” Powerful people tend to become cloistered and surrounded by “yes” men who do nothing but flatter. A really wise and diligent leader still must work hard to preserve a team of trusted hands who have the gravitas, permission, and inclination to shoot straight.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself, the saying goes.
But what about someone who is running for president, yet hasn’t been taken behind the woodshed since, I don’t know, 1966?
What you get is what you got. Donald Trump.