It’s just the way things work sometimes, my daughter had sent me a text expecting to stump me on a quote contained within it. Her text was the Teddy Roosevelt “Arena” speech that I know so well, so I quickly texted her a response. It is always good to read the “Arena,” especially these days. Within minutes of that little correspondence I was arguing with an industry bureaucrat about the nature of paperwork for which I said, “you know, the same people who think all this paperwork compliance is good for any business are the same idiots who think that we should save all these trees. How can you save trees when you want to produce mountains of paperwork to essentially make people with worthless jobs feel useful?” That of course set off an argument, but the anger came from the truth in my statement. We have entire industries these days of pin headed academic types who want to feel like they are in the “arena” but are actually too scared to do anything there. So they produce mountains of paperwork that they can point to and say, “look what I have done” when really they are just chicken to do anything real in their lives—and they expect to be treated as equals. They are not equal to those in the arena who fight and push to become the best at whatever they are doing. They are just bureaucrats.
Because nobody wants to deal with them, because they are sticks in the mud who eat up time with lots of unnecessary tasks regarding paperwork, these academics have started to call themselves “the elite.” Now I’m not saying that they aren’t important, academics are good for analyzing things and bouncing ideas off of, but they should never be in the lead of anything, because they are typically terrified of life in the “arena.” But their statuses as “the elites” are only by default, because nobody else sees value in what they do, so there are no challengers. That is how the legal profession has evolved into the mess it is, because unchecked paperwork lovers have built an industry around their secret language of legalisms and made themselves appear valuable to society by their specialized knowledge. But they don’t bring anything positive to human advancement, only redistribution and regulation that artificially caps off human endeavor and that is something that Donald Trump managed to work into his speech with supporters at a Charleston, West Virginia rally on the same day that Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen found themselves in massive legal problems just because they were associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.
The assumption as it was leveled at President Trump was that the paper pushers, the press, the government bureaucrats and the television pundits have confused themselves with the people in the “arena” and assumed that they are critical to American life. And that if someone like Trump disrupts the norms established by those paper pushers then all hell could be brought down on them, such as what was happening with all the people surrounding Trump’s presidential campaign, with Cohen being squeezed with raids on his law office and bent over a barrel for tax evasion. Cohen was in the arena with Trump, yet the bureaucrats wanted to believe that they were important and could pick and choose how justice is dispersed. For that Trump addressed the issue in front of the West Virginia crowd.
Trump pointed out how many homes he had that were fabulously expensive, all his successes in life, his financial ability and asked the question of the audience, who is the elite? The paper pushers aren’t the elite, it is we who do things in the world who are. The people in Roosevelts “arena” are the elite. Yet we have most of our current civilization believing that all the action is happening among the paper pushers and that actual work within the arena is subservient to the bureaucrats which brings me back to my original point about paperwork. People who function as academics are those who watch what happens in the arena and think about what they see. There can be valuable information from such analysis, but it is not more valuable than actually doing something. People in the world who risk themselves and their reputations doing things are far more valuable than the people who just watch things for a living. It is much harder to make something and to do something than to just produce more forms to fill out which represent action but, in all practicality, are as worthless as the paper they are printed on. Making more paper does not make more value, which is quite heart breaking to the academic paper pushers.
This Mueller investigation into Trump is just such an occurrence. As President, Trump is making decisions every day in the arena, and he’s doing a good job. The economy is doing well, respect around the world toward the United States is occurring and innovation is being taken seriously once again. But the critics are not in the arena. Bob Mueller is the perpetual armchair quarterback who sits and watches other people do things then studies ways to undermine the players in the arena and tries to make one side win against the other by fouling out the players of the team he doesn’t like through rules. What Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen were found guilty of is child’s play compared to the illegal procedures of the other team of Democrats which Mueller and his intelligence friends are obviously cheering on. It’s disgraceful when viewed through the proper context.
Yet even worse is the assumption that the critics, the one who points out how the strong stumble, or the doer of deeds could have done them better, are the ones who design fate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because as Roosevelt said, the credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at leas falls while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. We have a world built these days by those timid souls because they have convinced us slowly over the years that the paper pushers were among the “elite,” and that there was nobility in resistance to progress.
The government that is against Trump, and us all ironically, is not in the arena. They are not fixed toward performance and achievement. They seek to avoid failure by avoiding action all together and that is not how the games of life are won. But Trump knows how to win. There are stumbles here and there which come from anybody who fights in the “arena,” but the real elite know how to turn those foils into successes, which is why Trump is President, to bring those skills to the Executive Branch. It is not for the timid paper pushers to rob us of that achievement. It is for them to shut up and get out of the way. And let the real people conduct their business free of their corrosive sentiments.
Personally speaking, I do listen to the critics and the paper pushers. I find value in their opinions even when I don’t agree with them, because there are always things that can be learned by the arm-chair quarterbacks. But I fully desire the arena to the point where its an obsession. I would rather toil about in the arena with bones broken and sticking through my skin and in painful agony fighting with everything I have for a victory than to sit in the stands watching other people. It is in the arena where everything really happens and the people with the courage to reside there are special. Trump is a man of the arena and there are bodies in his wake, and he has earned the right to be considered among the elite. He’s elite not because of some unsaid merit, but because he has a reputation for winning, and when all is said and done, that’s all that really matters.
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