We return now to “The Julie Principle,” an ethics concept I introduced three and a half years ago. “The Julie Principle lies at the center of tolerance in its most productive sense. It also will keep you from going crazy “ was how the post was introduced. Here is the guts of it.
When a characteristic or a behavior pattern appears to be hard-wired into someone, it makes no sense to keep complaining about it. You either resolve to tolerate it ( and accept responsibility for the consequences of doing so), or decide that it is too much to endure, meaning that the relationship has to end. “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…” [ Note: this is the most famous lyric in the second most famous song in “Showboat,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man o’ Mine,” sung by the tragic, abused mulatto Julie.]
The Julie Principle comes in handy in resolving many ethical dilemmas. In making an ethical analysis requiring balancing, the illusion, when it is an illusion, that a major part of the equation can be removed by just a little more advocacy, education or pressure permanently warps the process. We have been debating same-sex marriage here in several threads, and the illusion that gays can change their orientation, that it is a choice rather than part of their essence, is a massive impediment to reaching a rational accord. The Julie Principle applies. Do we want gay Americans to be part, and feel like a part, of the American fabric, or do we want to make what is essential to their being a deal-breaker? We’re the ones with the choice, not them.
I think the Julie Principle makes the choice obvious. It makes the choice obvious in the immigration debate as well. All those illegals are here. They have ties to family, the economy and the community: they aren’t leaving. “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…” Does it make sense to keep punishing million of people for what they can’t change, or do we accept them for the good they can do from this point on? Sure, it would be preferable if we hadn’t allowed so many to walk across our boarders…But it’s too late to do anything about that.
“Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…”
The challenge in executing the Julie Principle is how you accept your bird or fish without letting that act corrupt your own values, or stop you from continuing to advocate and fight for them.
The left-wing media and still-bitter Democrats and progressives really need to learn the Julie Principle regarding Donald Trump, and fast. It might be too late to stop them from going crazy, but if they don’t learn it, they will drive everyone else crazy, and still accomplish nothing.
Yesterday, many, not several but many, of my Angry Left Facebook friends posted links to stories attacking Trump’s silly tweet about him really winning the popular vote and there being millions of fraudulent votes for Hillary Clinton. “Is he going to do this sort of thing his entire administration?” one friend asked.
YES! YES HE IS! OF COURSE HE IS! DON’T YOU KNOW THIS ALREADY? ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO FLIP OUT AT EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE WHEN TRUMP SAYS OR TWEETS SOMETHING STUPID LIKE THIS?
If so, then you are going to go nuts, and you will just become irrelevant and annoying.
The New York Times solemnly pronounced this morning that Trump’s tweet is a damnable lie. No, it’s really not. He is not making a serious assertion. This the President-Elect’s childish, unprofessional way of striking back when he feels he has been wronged, and indeed, he has been, and is being wronged. The bizarre Jill Stein-Clinton recount is nothing more than a calculated slap in his face, the latest in a long chain of unprecedented Democratic insults proclaiming that he should not be regarded as or treated as a legitimate selection in a legitimate election. We know how Trump acts; we saw it over and over again in the campaign. If we want him to address this bad habit, which only undermines his own credibility—really, who believes that there were “millions” of fraudulent votes cast for Hillary, except maybe Trump?—then the responsible, ethical approach is to respectfully, fairly, rationally explain why this tit-for-tat tantrum doesn’t work in the Oval Office, and will harm, not help, his image and power.
Acting as if every completely characteristic and usually predictable act by Trump is a shock and a horror is unproductive, and unnecessary, unless one wants his administration to be constantly bogged down by tangential controversies, like his campaign was.
The Julie Principle also applies to more substantive and less legitimately objectionable acts. For example, the news that Trump will appoint Tom Price, a determined Obamacare foe, as head of HHS, is being reported as if it is a complete shock and disgrace that Trump would do such a thing, and how dare he? It’s ridiculous. Trump said he would proceed with plans to dismantle Obama’s messy and dishonestly -sold “signature achievement,” and he has a Republican Congress that has vowed to do the same. Why are his critics freaking out about the obvious?
Donald Trump, more than any national figure in my lifetime, requires a careful, measured application of The Julie Principle to serve everyone’s best interest. Screaming “TRUMP IS TRUMP! ARRGHHHHH!” for four years will do no good at all. Find a way to co-exist with him so his negative proclivities do as little damage as possible and his positive ones have a chance to thrive, and save the explosions of indignation for substantive matters where opposition is essential.
“Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…”