While helping a friend build a retaining wall in his backyard to prevent water from seeping into the basement, Donald J. Trump’s slogans began to make sense. “Build the Wall!” Yes, I want that wall built. “Drain the Swamp!” Exactly, that’s what we’re doing.
These common affairs of humankind, necessary behaviors to ensure survival throughout the millennia of civilization—diverting water, building fortifications— are essential and profitable. I was engaging in the daily task of countless Americans…and Brazilians, and Filipinos, and any number of people the world over who perform manual labor to alter the physical reality around them. Trump’s slogans are appealing on a visceral level. Everyday actions are acknowledged and celebrated.
Throughout history effective leaders have ensured the survival and prosperity of their societies through mastery of the arts of water control and fortification construction, as well as marshaling people to concerted effort. China’s legendary first emperor, Yu the Great, was famed for his flood control abilities, being able to tame the unpredictable and frequently fatal bursts of a river-based society.
Biden would do well to learn the ways of Yu, and Trump, adopting the slogan, “Git ‘R Done.” Things need doing. The slogan acknowledges this as self-evident; the doing as good. Getting it done is positive. It implies movement, progress, and a level of excited enthusiasm brought to bear against perhaps unpleasant, but necessary, tasks.
In this rallying cry for the country, the R – let it not be said that Biden is only braying to the mob – may be understood as ‘X’ in an equation where R equals whatever the objective of the moment may be. Replace ‘R’ with ‘Coronavirus’ — “Git Coronavirus Done!” – or with ‘Iran’– “Git Iran Done!” and suddenly an appealing, if not rational, potential action emerges.
In the course of daily life there are things that need to be done; getting them done is seen as good. There’s plenty that Joseph R. Biden needs to do. He’ll need to marshal all his available resources if they’re to be done. Let Biden not neglect the help of half the country to get R done.