The Trump Conviction through a Taoist Lens


The floodgates of speculation in the wake of the Trump verdict have not only opened, they’ve blown off their hinges. All this is in the face of reality which is: we don’t know. It is reasonable to contemplate that Donald Trump and his lawyers don’t know other than the near certainty that the case will be appealed.

Some experts we have not heard from, and likely won’t, are the lawyers who predicted confidently that the case against Donald Trump was weak and not likely to end in a conviction. Trial lawyers know that verdicts that are returned quickly, as this one was, are often bad news for the defense.

But the swirl of commentary, punditry, and predictions that range from “won’t matter much” to “bad news for Trump’s chances” — all need to be heard with the skepticism they deserve. A friend offered a Taoist story as a guide to how to navigate the swirling water:

There was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Peter Herford
Peter Herford
The Seattle-based author has many years of experience in national broadcast news, including years teaching journalism in mainland China.



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