Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Information and Experienced and Expert Advisers

Not a Trump Fan, but . . .

As a person grows and is exposed to additional information, ideas and opinions one would expect changing views. This is certainly not hypocritical. In fact, a person that receives new facts and opinions that should change personal views, but simply digs in and refuses to consider opposing views is not someone we would respect.

As a citizen engaged in multi-million-dollar business deals and not engaged in the office of president of these United States, Mr. Trump, like most of us, formed and voiced opinions with limited information. I suspect that those that surrounded him simply voiced agreement and continued with their real concerns: business.

As the President of these United States engaged in the Office of the President, the focus was shifted and additional information and opinions were front and center. Information not available to the public from National Security Advisors, intelligence agencies, and being surrounded by people with experiences and knowledge beyond the world of business, it is natural that President Trump’s views and opinions would change. This does not mean that he abandons his core principles, but that he aligns his actions to achieve things in a manner that includes his principles and current ideas or views that result from exposure to new information and views.

For example, Citizen Trump, like many, felt that Mrs. Obama should have worn a head-scarf out of respect for the customs of Saudi Arabia during a presidential visit. President Trump may now see that his wife’s choice during such a visit is not a substantial issue since almost all foreign women who are dignitaries or the wife of a dignitary seldom chose to wear a head-scarf in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the Saudis said that they have no issue with this situation. The media will be the only people to make this an ‘issue’ and the people that hate ‘all things Trump’ will call him a hypocrite. How sad. Both the media and the even Trump haters should focus on the substance of the visit, but instead are frantically searching for anything that is inconsistent with citizen Trump’s previous statements.

The media is almost in a frenzy to point out that President Trump did not use the phrase “radical Islam” because he often pointed out that his predecessor should have used that term. I have no idea what opinions and facts may have changed President Trump’s mind about this phrase, but I can explain why I reject the term.

Suppose for a moment that a group kidnapped and held Black Americans as slaves and proclaimed that they did so because they are Christian Fundamentalists who follow the teachings of the Bible and they quote such passages as Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves, obey your human masters . . .” and even quoted Jesus as he admonished slaves to be cheerful in their obedience. Would we call this group Radical Christians or Radical Fundamentalists or would we recognize that they are not true Christians or true Christian Fundamentalists? Would we not recognize that these are simply horrible people that are using the Bible to justify their horrible actions?

Applying this same way of thinking to the idea that terrorists are misusing parts of the Koran and Islamic history to justify their horrible actions. In other words, calling these people Muslims is offensive to the one and a half billion Muslims around the world. Would it not be more effective to say that these people are not Muslims? If that message was delivered, it could make recruiting terrorists more difficult.

Like many people, I wish that leaders in places like Saudi Arabia and Muslim leaders around the world would strongly condemn terrorists as pretenders and not a part of the true Muslim Faith. However, like every other major issue, it is complicated and I may never get my wish. All that I can do is to change my own thoughts and attitudes, and even that process is difficult.

The awesome pressures and responsibilities of any U.S. President certainly involve a constant flow of new facts, information, and opinions that require adjustments to the understanding of changing and volatile situations. Citizens should neither blindly support or blindly condemn a president. Mature judgment requires a degree of ‘the benefit of the doubt’ and recognition that those who disagree with us may be right. We should not simply ‘dig in’ and defend our beliefs, but we should explore opposing opinions for truths and then either hold firm or modify our own strong opinions.

I hope this is what every president of America will do.

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