Every week, I make an attempt to write a column with social commentary that is non-specific to any particular person or event. Now I find I am compelled to break with my normal stance and jump into the political fray and take my lumps.
For many decades, crude and offensive political rhetoric has become the norm. Backbiting, vilification, defamation and smear campaigns have become the stock and trade of American political discourse since the founding of our country. When you have a constitution that allows free speech, I suppose it is to be expected. That is a very unfortunate characteristic of human nature at its worst.
Even though it’s accepted as what we might expect from our politicians, what we should respect and accept most is true statesmanship. Merriam-Webster defines a “statesman” as “a wise, skilled, and respected government leader”. Who was the last politician in your lifetime that exemplified those characteristics? I wager many of you can’t think of one quickly but can think of many that have demonstrated the opposite. Surely, no reasonable person can mistake Donald Trump for a statesman. Although he may have stated over time some very appealing ideas, his rhetoric is in such poor taste that even many of his greatest advocates are now withdrawing their support.
If we wanted to elect a president that would “shake up” our political system, we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. I doubt his most staunch supporters could have imagined a president sending out multiple tweets daily, like some teenager, each tweet more outrageous than the last and, in many cases, in conflict with or opposing earlier tweets or even statements from his own staff.
Call me old-fashioned, but naming everything reported you don’t agree with as “fake news,” politicizing a Boy Scout Jamboree, implying police should use brutality on suspects, and a myriad of other similar actions has brought me to the point of writing this piece. To be fair, I know that Donald Trump is in step with the majority of politicians regarding the mudslinging, especially on the campaign trail. But he has brought it to a whole new level, and unlike most politicians that tone it down after the election is over, he seems to have ramped it up and is stuck perpetually in attempting to discredit others.
However, it is time to look on the bright side. Yes, there is one. We know what we have. If he has a hidden agenda, it must be buried deep. He appears to have no filter on his thoughts, directly voicing them on Twitter or alibiing on the spot. He throws out insults and condemnations with great vigor. Furthermore, he stands naked before the world, and the world is shocked. Nothing subtle there.
In the next election cycle, will someone please, please, please, (I humbly beg you) help us all find a true statesman to nominate and elect as president? Either political party will do, just someone that can rise above the fray and exhibit common sense.