Just a cursory reading of the life of Teddy Roosevelt reveals striking similarities and differences between the two Republican presidents. Both men were products of their times. Both were considered unpredictable and “loose canons” by their party. Both were reformers that wanted to use the office of president to bring positive change to America. Both believed they answered to the American people more than to Congress or the Constitution. Both enjoyed the spotlight and had a love-hate relationship with the Press. And both were judged by their contemporaries as crackpots.
Where they differ most is in their personal lives. Teddy was a man of action, a man’s man, a man who believed in “the strenuous life,” a soldier, a rancher; but also a man of letters, a deep thinker and a man of high character. Trump is a city boy, a businessman, a TV celebrity, a real-estate mogul. His idea of writing is to dash off a tweet. And as for character… very different. But both men were catalysts for change.
Both Roosevelt and Trump shook Washington to its core. (And Washington needs to be shaken to its core at least once every hundred years.) For the past 30 years, since Reagan, Washington has festered in lies and grown increasingly corrupt. Professional politicians on both sides of the aisle have not challenged the corruption because they are part of it. The Press has been in bed with the very people they are supposed to be keeping an eye on. And the absence of any discussion of integrity in the last election indicates just how far off-course we’ve gone.
The word “hypocrites” comes to mind when I think of Washington politicians – the same word Jesus used to describe the leaders of His day. He called them “whited sepulchers” – whitewashed tombs, “full of dead men’s bones.” In other words, they looked good on the outside but were corrupt on the inside. They lacked integrity. By the way, Jesus was considered to be a “loose cannon” in His day. Those in power don’t trust people they cannot control. They couldn’t control Jesus, they couldn’t control Teddy and they cannot control Trump.
So, whether you like Trump or not, he’s a catalyst for change in a town that desperately needs change, and that’s a good thing. One reason so many people in Washington are against him is because he is exposing the corruption and dysfunctionality that they take for granted. Washington has needed a political enema for a long time. Now they’re getting it.