Sunday, July 2, 2017

I know you are, but what am I? . . . heard at a preschool

Any leader of a Democratic Republic enters office with large numbers of detractors. Despite lofty statements by those not elected, about ‘all Americans will now come together’ people do not suddenly lose their passion for their beliefs and instantly love the elected president and his beliefs. This much is obvious. Elected officials must expect a vast number of people to be critical and nasty. He should be expected to be burned in effigy. He must expect his words to be taken out of context, twisted and laughed at because that has always been the case going all the way back to George Washington.

Decisions made by the elected leader will never please everyone. Some decisions will even anger his or her supporters. The best a leader can do is to sincerely explain his or her reasoning and try to win over people to his or her views.

Humans want to immediately respond to nasty remarks, especially those that are completely unjustified. Maybe it is part of our nature. Even 3-year olds lash out. Of course, responsible parents correct that behavior.

A leader must put aside those human desires to strike out. A leader must control emotions and respond in a dignified and measured manner that raises the office above our most base desires. Even the smallest of nations are noticed when a leader is petty and behaves poorly. Those nations lose respect.

It has been said that a capitalist democracy is bound to become gridlocked where laws cannot be enacted, where enacted laws are ignored, and where loyalty to a political party will replace loyalty to the Republic. Are we moving towards that prediction? If so, does that not require a firm leader who garners the support and respect of our people and all nations?

In my opinion, both major political parties chose petty, self-absorbed candidates that believe that they are above the law and cannot be held to the same standards as mere mortals.
Although both candidates had and continue to have rabid supporters, to millions of people, our presidential election became a matter of voting against someone and not voting for someone.

It would be Pollyannaish to expect millions of people to learn to respect opposing views and to rise above nasty and petty remarks. But is it too much to expect the elected leader to rise above nasty and petty remarks? 

When the President of the United States sneezes in public, the world takes notice and speculates about his or her health. Imagine the speculation when the president responds to the nastiest of critics with his own nasty and vile remarks. Wit and dismissal of the most outlandish remarks seem presidential. Nasty and vile responses seem like a childish temper-tantrum.

Imagine if a President made adult, presidential statements to the world through Twitter. Imagine if he told the world that 7-powerful entities control 90% of the U.S. media and he wants to be certain that everyone hears exactly what he says.  Imagine if he said that he uses direct social media because he respects the intelligence of the American people to form their own opinions without media influence.

We might still disagree with many of his opinions about taxes, jobs, health-care and world affairs, but at least we could respect the dignity of his office. Instead, we have nasty and unseemly remarks that demean the office that he holds.

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