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Trump’s Strength

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In my high school and college track and cross-country days I was accustomed to the usual unflattering comparisons between runners and football players. Runners were often mocked as weak and unmanly, while football was a sport for manly men. When Trump’s followers praise his strength, this reminds me of those days and leads me consider the concept of strength. My conception of strength was influenced by one of my fellow runners. After some joking mocking by football players, he replied by saying that anyone could hurt somebody else, but it took a real athlete to hurt themselves. To be fair to football players, they do endure being hurt by others and when doing serious training they hurt themselves. But this remark does provide a good starting point for a discussion of strength in the context of Trump. As a runner, I tend to think of strength in terms of the ability to overcome pain, fear and vices in order to achieve excellence. As an example, getting up at 5:00 am to do a 12-mile training run in the freezing rain is an example of strength. Completing a marathon despite the pain and exhaustion is also an example of strength. While running provides a serious test of strength, there are obviously far greater tests. A good example is the case of someone Trump loathed, Senator John McCain. While I disagreed with McCain on many political issues, I respect the moral courage and strength he showed during the Viet Nam war. As is well known, McCain was shot down and captured. Severely injured, he endured torture and survived as a prisoner of war. When his captors offered to release him as a sign of preferential treatment, he refused in accord with the military Code of Conduct.  McCain showed incredible strength—he endured pain and fear and resisted efforts to corrupt him. One can find other accounts of the strength of American soldiers—enduring fear, pain and danger. Strength, obviously, is not limited to the military. The parent who endures the burden of working multiple. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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