what if the presumption of one‑another’s goodness is our undoing?

I was thinking about our president and how he got to where he is today. As he becomes more and more the ruthless dictator one associates with totalitarian regimes, it’s painfully ironic that his success has been based on the very qualities of decency that he is hell-bent on destroying.

Donald J. Trump as a child

Donald J. Trump as a child

Where would Donald Trump be, without the generosity shown him by others; yet he possesses absolutely no generosity. How could he have swindled so many others, without the good faith we daily practice and rely upon; yet he spews bad faith as consistently as he breathes. How does he continue to get away with lie after destructive lie, but for the value most of us place on honesty?
Our society is based in large part upon the presumption of goodness, and the expectation that others will follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

I’ve been mystified by the refusal of congress to assert control over Trump’s abuses. I’ve speculated (as have others) that it’s about political expedience. But I’m coming to think maybe the socially-mandated presumption of goodness is at least equally important as a motivator of misplaced tolerance.

This does not excuse our congress people’s failure to do their job. But it may partly explain their reluctance to make waves even in the face of Trump’s obvious intent to destroy the institutions and values we all depend upon.