Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump Compromises ability to "Respect the Office"

The United States of America has long been a complicated place in terms of its dueling ideologies and political parties, and there is little doubt that the intensity of the differences have been magnified in recent years. Yet Americans have generally been able to disagree about candidates and administrations while still respecting the institutions of society and government, most especially the Presidency. The historical expectation has been that Americans "Respect the office, not the man." But that condition and agreement has changed with the election of the Ivanka's dad. Simply put, the current occupant of the office of POTUS does not respect the very office he holds. And if the man in the Oval Office cannot hold himself to a standard of decency, then Americans cannot simply agree to respect the office while he is in it.

That issue came to a head today on a CNN panel as a group of pundits and commentators discussed the rally that he held in Pennsylvania in opposition to the tradition of the White House Correspondents dinner: The sharp exchange began when Democratic strategist Paul Begala unleashed a withering attack on the President, calling him both a "moral midget" and "needy little baby."  It is simply not possible for many Americans to condone or accept the embarrassingly deplorable behavior of the current occupant simply because he holds the office. He has shamed the office with his behavior, and that has sadly changed the percpetion that America and the world has for what was once reverentially called the Highest Office in the Land.

The man who disagrees with Paul Begala says "We owe this man ... respect," and he could not be more wrong. That man has dishonored the office of the Presidency at nearly every chance he gets, and as a man he deserves no respect because he is not even a man. As countless critics have pointed out - both liberal and conservative - he has said and done things that no sitting President has or should have the gall to do. There is an expectation of restraint and tact and reserve and maturity and poise that must come with the Presidency, and that man has sneered and spit upon all of  that tradition. I'm saddened to say shame on him, and I'm disappointed in anyone who seeks to excuse or justify or accept such indecent and un-Presidential behavior. For me, this is not about politics or ideology - it's about character. And the current occupant simply has none.

Of course, this view is simply my opinion, and I may clearly take "things" more seriously than many. In that way, it's worth noting the views of people who supported him before and still do. Former newsman Greg Dobbs of Evergreen, CO, recently explored the supporter world, and he summed up his findings in a piece for the Denver Post: What My Conservative Friends say about Donald Trump 100 Days after the Election. Dobbs offers some valuable insight into reasoning for Trump support, and while it saddens me, I do accept that these are reasoned positions. They simply don't ground themselves in the same values I do.

I asked everyone the same questions. The first one was: Are you just as enthusiastic now as you were on Election Day? The answer across the board was yes, with a few caveats. Like this one: “In my mind I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, I voted for Mike Pence — a man of character — and I voted against Hillary Clinton.” Another qualified her answer this way: “We didn’t vote for him because we loved him. We didn’t want Hillary.” Another put it bluntly: “It was as much (maybe more) about not giving the Left another four years as it was Trump.”Others were purely positive. One said, “Trump has surrounded himself with experienced business people and I think a perspective on what is going on not only in the United States but worldwide. I think it’s also encouraging that he questions so many things.” Another explained that he’s “getting more accustomed to Trump every day.”


Mike Thiac said...

Mike, interesting.

Over 8 years I showed my contempt for the previous occupant of the Oval Office, B Hussein Obama. And you seemed offended by the fact I showed him no respect. I made it plain the narcissist nihilist thin skinned man-child hated this country, a nation I’ve given blood, sweat and tears to. If he loved America, would it need to be “fundamentally transformed.”
So yes, I showed him the contempt he’s earned.

Now you are free to show contempt for Trump, be my guest. I’ve pointed out to you repeatedly that in a free country, the leadership is subject to not only criticism, but ridicule and contempt. But at least I’m not changed my tune. A bit hypocritical Mike?

mmazenko said...


This is where we are just having two different conversations. I fully understand your criticism and disagreement with President Obama's policies and politics. I completely respect that. I am talking about a man's outright indecency as a human being. So, no, not hypocritical at all. I could respect a man like Rick Santorum or Mike Pence though I greatly disagree with their positions on many issues. But they are decent human beings, and they understand the decorum of the office. That simply cannot be said of the current occupant.

If you don't see the behavior as radically different from all Presidents and public leaders you've seen in your lifetime, then we are simply speaking a different language.

Darren said...

Do you support the following? Would you participate in it? Would you want your family to participate in it?

The anti-Trump fervor at California’s Democratic Party convention this weekend can be summarized in choice words from outgoing chair of the California Democratic Party, John Burton: “F*%! Donald Trump.”

The always foul-mouthed Burton, 84, stood before thousands of Democratic delegates at Saturday’s general assembly and as a rallying cry asked the crowd to join in. He then shoved two fists in the air, flipping the bird. Across the room at the Sacramento Convention Center, others onstage and in the audience followed suit.

Read more here:

mmazenko said...

I think you know me well enough to know I don't support it, wouldn't participate in it, and it has no place in my family.

That sort of crass inappropriate behavior disqualifies anyone from a respected leadership role in my view. That's basically the point I'm making. It's not party or politics or ideology or policy - it's character, a sense of decorum, and basic human decency. All of those things John Burton and POTUS-elect lack.