Playing a little devil's advocate


To the editor:

I am so close to the ninth decade of my life. It’s barely a blink of the eye away.

In that time, I cannot recall (in whatever memory that is still left to me) a president that has, to such a great extent, polarized this nation as has President Trump.

Some persons, including those beloved to me, can barely deal with mentioning his name, much less having a discussion about him. To one such person, so livid in their feelings, I decided to play devil’s advocate in support of President Trump’s policies.

“I think the president is right,” I suggested, “in wanting better international trade deals.”

China has demanded American companies must surrender to China its technology in order to buy their products. This country has educated tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of their most talented students, and then outbid us in procuring their talents back home, making some of them multi-billionaires. So much for China’s socialism!

China’s government subsidized many of its nation’s products and then sells them below their cost of production (a practice called “dumping”) forcing American manufacturers out of business, also responsible for American workers out of jobs.

Last, but not least, China is the producer of fentanyl that, when added to opioids, so intensifies the strength of opioids, that it is largely the cause of opioid death of 72,000 in America in 2017.

To add unfair trade practices, Canada’s imposed 300 percent tariff on dairy products.

“And how about President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?” I added. “Doesn’t every nation have the right to decide where it wants to locate its own capital?”

In 1995, when Congress overwhelmingly voted in favor of the relocation of Israel’s capital, every major presidential candidate promised to do so. But none actually did — until President Trump. Were they simply angling for votes, knowing that it was favored by a large majority of Americans?

“Well,” the other person contended, “even a broken clock is correct twice.”

I took up that challenge as well. “America rescued a shattered world economy, and promoted liberal democracy after World War II. Besides tolerating unfair trade policies, it spent many trillions of dollars since World War II making it possible for democracies to win the Cold War. Many of these nations have prospered, but have not honored their commitment to meet their fair share of the cost of heirloom defense. Is it any wonder that America has a national debt of approximately $22 trillion?”

“I can name a number of other issues on which President Trump has acted appropriately. But since I never heard of a broken clock that is correct more than twice, is it wrong on countless other times?”

“Tell me,” I said. “Has Trump been wrong that many times?”

“Oops,” my challenger declared. “My cell phone battery is running low. We’ll have to continue our conversation another time.”

“Sure,” I replied. “And in case you have a problem coming up with responses, I believe I can give you plenty of help. Hello? Hello? Hello? Oh well, so much for cell phones made in China.”

Apparently, the broken clock analogy to President Trump’s derring-do seems to be a broken analogy in itself. It is certainly wrong countless other times. Perhaps readers of The Riverdale Press can recommend better analogies.

Theodore Fettman

Theodore Fettman,