Americans have a new president. He’s been in office for nearly six months and quite frankly, it’s been a rough go so far. I expected some disappointment from portions of the populace, especially considering the shift in power. However, I’ve been voting in presidential elections since Bush v. Dukakis and I have never before witnessed such venom and disdain for the leader of our country. For Illinois leaders, sure, but we have a rich and well-known history of political shenanigans that quite frankly, don’t even occur behind closed doors anymore (politicians today have no appreciation for tradition). This may be a result of the age we live in, where nearly every thought is posted to social media as it's formed.
Social media platforms have revolutionized how we communicate, receive information, market our businesses and more. However, social media has also lowered the bar in terms of the acceptability of the type of information shared and the tone of the messages we communicate. Since President Trump was sworn into office, there has been a barrage of negative, obscene, violent, vulgar and obnoxious posts, tweets, articles, videos and comments directed at the president and his family. We live in a wonderful country where we have the First Amendment to protect us and I fully endorse a person’s right to free speech. I’m also a democrat, so I’m included in that disappointed portion of the populace. However, doesn’t there have to be a limit? Shouldn’t we as human beings not wish death or bodily harm on others whose only faults are being mysoginists, liars, thieves and all around amoral tools?
There is not enough room in this post to review what I’m sure are thousands of negative comments and unflattering monikers assigned to Mr. Trump. There are a few, however, that stand out.
5/15/17: An article posted on Bloomberg.com refers to Mr. Trump as "ignorant," "misguided" and "uninformed"
5/17/17: An article by The Huffington Post reporter Nick Wing refers to Mr. Trump as ‘lazy’ and ‘indifferent’
5/18/17: Yahoo News reports White House staffers saying the president should not be “held accountable for his lapses because he doesn’t really understand what he’s doing”
5/18/17: In an article by the International Business Times, Twitter users reportedly referred to the president as the “Whiner-in-Chief” and someone who "ruins" peoples’ lives
5/18/17: Ed Mazza, in an article for the Huffington Post, reported parts of a Tony Schwartz (co-author, ‘Art of the Deal’) interview with Anderson Cooper where Mr. Schwartz described Mr. Trump as having a "meltdown" and being "reactive," "impulsive" and “not capable of reflection”
5/23/17: STAT News reporter Sharon Begley describes Mr. Trump as “linguistically challenged”
6/12/17: Eric Anthamatten of The Opinion Pages, NY Times, penned a fascinating and startling article entitled, “Trump and the True Meaning of ‘Idiot’”
6/24/17: Juana Summers (reporting for CNN.com) discusses actor Johnny Depp’s “joke” about killing the president
7/1/17: Found a listing on Amazon.com for a t-shirt for sale ($18.99) with “Impeach the Idiot” imprinted on it (7/1 is when I came across the listing and not necessarily when it was placed)
It’s a conundrum because I’m appalled by most of what comes out of Mr. Trump’s mouth, but equally appalled by things like Kathy Griffin’s idea of ‘art’ – the faux severed, bleeding head of President Trump. Yes, we are protected by the First Amendment, but the thought of Mr. Trump’s young son seeing that horrifying image bothers me. Barron Trump will have that image seared into his memory for the rest of his life. It’s collateral damage like this that makes me want to take a step back from the vitriolic spewing of really, really, really, really angry Americans and take a breath. But, can I afford to?
The answer to the question, “What’s missing from a Trump presidency?” is respect. Some may argue that Mr. Trump doesn’t deserve our respect. After looking at his past behavior as a long-time businessman and more recent behavior as a newbie politician, I would agree. He does not “have time to read” (5/18/17, Theweek.com), but has plenty of time to golf! He has lied, gone back on his word, and shown little concern for some of our most vulnerable populations including the disabled, the homeless, children, veterans, seniors, the LGBTQ community, refugees and anyone battling an illness. He favors the super-rich. Period. The gross unfairness of Mr. Trump's actions and efforts, therefore, outweighs my reticence for jumping into a fray where the rhetoric frequently turns my stomach.
In the last several weeks, I have noticed an increasing number of calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment. Is that the answer? Twitter followers of #TheResistance and #Resist seem to think so, but I’m not so sure. After all, VP Pence is next in line and while he may lack the embarrassing, bombastic personality of the president, he harbors many of the same views. Just take a look at his track record as Indiana’s governor. He's not much of an improvement! So even though I have little respect for my president, I remain unconvinced on this point because I can't help but feel that impeaching Donald Trump would be like leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Where do you stand on these topics? Do you find some Trump-related content to be over-the-top? Are you in favor of impeachment? Find us on Facebook or @AJBCSurveys on Twitter and let us know what you think and what you'd like to see done.
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