OXFORD — Five of us were relaxing around a table in the clubhouse after a recent round of golf when the conversation turned to a certain individual who obviously has some character flaws.
I don’t know him and don’t care to. Neither does one other who was at our table.
But the three who do know the man and associate with him on occasion began describing some of his flaws, which, according to them, include:
He talks too much, dominating the conversation at social events; drinks too much, which leads to aggressive behavior, sometimes even fights, one of which led to his sustaining a broken jaw, and reckless driving, which once resulted in a collision with a police car. But, said one of those at the table, “he’s a good guy.”
I exchanged glances with the other man who doesn’t know the subject of the conversation, and he mused, “I wonder when they’re going to get to the nice part.”
Actually they never did.
Apparently it is part of human nature to recognize good qualities possessed even by the worst of us. Most of us know and like people who, when they are on their good behavior, are “good guys” who become obnoxious when fueled by alcohol or anger.
Conversely, it’s possible to overlook character flaws in people who advance an agenda or cause with which we support.
I’m reminded of our president and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Kim, by all accounts, isn’t a “good guy” by any measurement of the term. Among other things, he is believed to have had some of his own relatives killed in securing his hold on the nuclear-armed country where many residents can’t afford to leave the lights on at night.
President Trump once ridiculed Kim, calling him “Rocket Man,” but after some face-to- face meetings and “beautiful letters,” the president said he and Kim “fell in love.”
However, the “love affair” failed to result in a deal with Kim to denuclearize in the recent meeting between the two leaders in Vietnam.
Trump, himself, isn’t a very “nice guy” by most definitions, although he certainly isn’t in the same class of “bad guys” as Kim.
The support the president has in the fundamentalist Christian community has long been a bit perplexing to me.
His lifestyle, language and conduct are usually the opposite of what a Christian is taught to be in the New Testament. No turning the other cheek for him.
Nor does he hide his good deeds under a basket. He needs no one to extol his accomplishments. He’s perfectly capable of bragging on himself.
What he has done, though, is appoint conservative federal judges, including two to the Supreme Court. He’ll probably have the opportunity to appoint more, especially if he gets a second term. Although he demonstrates little, if any, personal religion, he espouses other issues popular with the Christian right.
Meanwhile the Democratic Party and a plethora of presidential hopefuls are throwing out agendas that make Trump look like a better alternative, even with his flaws.
I have heard some Christians rationalize Trump’s conduct, comparing him to pagan kings in the Old Testament who befriended God’s people, the Jews, or assisted them on their journey.
God can use ungodly people to accomplish his plan, they contend.
I won’t argue with that.
But I prefer my “good guys” and leaders to have something of a moral compass.
• Charles M. Dunagin is the retired editor and publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. He lives in Oxford.