What is sacrifice?
There has been a lot of talk about this word over the past several days as Donald Trump tried to somehow equate the service of a fallen Muslim soldier and the loss felt by his family to those things in his life he views as “sacrifices”—working hard, hiring people and building buildings.
I wasn’t going to comment but yesterday morning I heard one of the many Trump surrogates [ for a man who so readily proclaims his own brilliance he requires an army of people to explain and interpret his often incomprehensible words] saying that opening a business is a sacrifice, similar in many ways to serving one’s country in the military or public service.
It is not similar. It is so different that it is offensive to even try to defend his statement in that way.
Yes, opening and operating a business is a risk and a gamble. True, there is a choice made to do this rather something else and devote time to this. But it is not done for altruism but with the desire and goal of creating personal gain and wealth for the person taking the risk.
When a businessperson hires an employee (or thousands of employees) it is because they are necessary to create and maintain profit. I doubt that Trump has ever hired a person who did not serve his personal goals or could not serve his needs or help enrich him in some way. This is an expense and an investment. This is not sacrifice in any form.
Erecting buildings is much the same. It is done with the desire for wealth creation and sometimes, as in Trump’s case, self-aggrandizement. It is not done to serve the public good unless that somehow coincides with increasing one’s wealth and brand. This, too, is an investment, not sacrifice.
And as to working hard, I consider myself a hard worker. I consider it a positive personal trait but would never consider it a sacrifice. Working hard is a privilege, a right and, to many, a pleasure. It is the opposite of sacrifice.
Sacrifice is the giving of that which is precious to you for something greater than yourself. It can be, as in Captain Khan’s case, the giving of one’s life to save his fellow soldiers or it can be in giving up personal gain and rewards to serve the greater good.
I didn’t want to write this. I want to stay a million miles away from this whole thing. I would much rather focus on painting and almost anything else.
But it must be addressed. We have someone who is so close to attaining so much real power in this world yet does not understand the meaning of personal sacrifice and displays so little empathy for those less privileged than himself. This is a man who has had advantages and privilege in every aspect of his life from the day he was born yet doesn’t even recognize that simple fact.
His goals are his goals alone and not ours.
The only things he has sacrificed in his vain and cynical grasp for power are dignity, honor and truth. But realistically, even that has not been a sacrifice for Trump—those were never of any value to him in the first place.
And still there are people who ignore these most basic character flaws and his almost endless ( and proven) lying, still believing that he has their best interest at heart when there is absolutely no evidence beyond his empty boasts.
It is beyond my comprehension.