A response to “Fr. Jenkins has one hell of a job” Each day, I open the Opinion section of The [Failing] New York Times and often quip, “I wonder which President Trump tweet has people pissed off today?” After an anonymous op-ed flatly stated that a deep state coup was being prosecuted against President Trump, nothing surprises me anymore. Part of me gets it; this is a free country, and, after all, it’s called “Opinion”: It exists so that citizens of America can sound off on the most important issues of the day, and harsh criticism isn’t necessarily off-limits. Even so, it wouldn’t be wrong to re-dub the page “Complaints and Criticisms.” As I previously noted, many of these complaints and criticisms are directed at Trump or his administration. For example, over the past few months, you might have seen Opinion headlines such as “Trump’s Trail of Fears,” “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” and “Jorge Ramos: Trump Is the Wall.” But they’re unwarranted because Trump has a grueling, thankless job. Here are just five of the many reasons why Trump has one hell of a job. 1. America and its people Pundits can be intimidating, sure, but a sincere desire to serve the American people is why any president should run for office, and they, as the sovereign, are the ones no leader can or wants to let down, Trump least of all: He lives and breathes America; he wants to “Make America Great Again”! On Jan. 20, 2017, he took an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and … to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” This means that he swore, before God, to secure the safety and happiness of America’s people — a solemn burden that he shares with only 44 other men in our nation’s 241-year history. 2. The world As if living up to Americans’ lofty expectations weren’t enough, Trump, in exercising his presidential duties, must also navigate the complex — and often unforgiving — waters of leading an exceptional country, a country dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal” in a world that either spurns this “self-evident” truth or actively rejects it. The founders probably would never have guessed how different our world would become — especially post-WWII, when America was charged with slaying the largest, atheistic empire the world had ever seen, in addition to rebuilding Europe from the ashes and out of the rubble. 3. Allies Unfortunately, many of them have taken for granted the world we have created as well as the last several decades’ worth of stability our strength has secured. They are wrong to do so, for it is not lofty declarations and soaring rhetoric that secure peace and prosperity but, instead, toil and sacrifice and hard choices. Actual, skin-in-the-game policies are what improve the world, not wishcasting about a better future — or endless, whiny criticism. 4. Pay Donald J. Trump, before he was elected president, even by the lowest estimate floated, was a billionaire. He was successful beyond belief. He could have had a peaceful retirement. Instead, he chose to enter the public arena to be smeared constantly and work long, brutal hours for far less pay than when he was a private citizen. What are the odds you would leave behind fantastic wealth and nearly unlimited leisure time to be regularly and viciously castigated as the Racist-in-Chief? 5. You That’s right, you. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re an American citizen — and even if you’re not, this probably still applies to you, honestly. You are needy. You are opinionated. You have a perspective that is uniquely your own. But you know what? There are so many “yous” out there, but, here is only one President Trump, and, quite frankly, it’s impossible for him to please every one of America’s nearly 330 million people. Now, having read this far, you might be inclined to say: Criticism is part of the job. Yes, you’re right, but if you are confident that you would do the job better — or rather, that you could somehow make it look easy — you, Dear Reader, are a fool. To be clear: I do not mean to imply that all criticism of Trump and his administration is invalid, unjustified, or even unreasonable. However, as Saint Teresa of Calcutta explained that “[h]umility is the mother of all virtues,” and there is a shocking lack of said humility in the Opinion section of The New York Times — and many other outlets. I hope we all readily see and reject Mr. Spicer’s faulty logic and glaring sycophancy, both of which are especially unwelcome with respect to a public figure like Notre Dame’s president: someone of whom it can be said we expect much because much has been given to him. Citizens have a duty to criticize their leaders, and the more important they are, the more spirited their criticism should be. So, why do some easily grasp that truth when it means critiquing President Trump — but not Fr. Jenkins?
Notre Dame Law '20