Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1807 A Tale of Two Presidents

The whole Trump controversy is about policies only to the point they frame the situation.  It doesn't matter what he says, it doesn't even much matter what he does.  It's what he IS that's troubling.

He could be advocating redistribution of the incomes above one million dollars.  He could be advocating unlimited access of Mexicans and Muslims.  He could raise taxes. Doesn't matter.  The reaction to trump, positive or negative is visceral.

You can unwind that to a point. The angry white men have reason to be angry.  The environmentalists have reason to be angry.  But as the song title says ... it ain't what you say, it's how you say it.

And everything Trump and his lackeys say has this smarminess about it.  He looks, sounds and gestures like a perpetual liar.  He looks, sounds and gestures like someone with something to hide.  Both probably are true.  But even the truth doesn't matter.  In this, perception is reality.

You can find examples every day.  You KNOW he wants to fire the special prosecutor and probably badly enough to throw Sessions under the bus.

People here tend to forgive easily.  More about that later.

But what we don't forgive is being treated like fools even if we ARE fools, at least for the moment.  And what we don't forgive is anyone who damages our highfalutin' international reputation even though there are times we don't deserve anything above  C+ or B- for falutin.

We want our presidents to be people we can respect. We had no one like that in the 2016 election.

"Character" is like porn. It's hard to define, but we know it when we see it.  We also notice when it's missing. And Trump and the people surrounding him don't deserve it, haven’t earned it, evidently can't earn it.  Same goes to the Republican leadership in congress.

Now about "easily forgiven."

There was a video on facebook of Jimmy Carter the other day. He was shaking the hand of every fellow passenger on his flight from Atlanta to Washington.

It looks like a campaign appearance.  But Carter is 92 years old and unlikely to run for anything. Plus, he has the best job in the world: Ex-president of the US.  Plenty of perks, plenty of money and especially since his cancer scare, plenty of affection and respect.  Deserved, I think.

Now why would a guy like that campaign on a plane?  Think of it this way.  An ex-president is on your flight or sitting at a booth at the local eatery.  You do a double take.  Gee, that guy sure looks like (Carter) (Bush) (the other Bush) (Clinton) (Obama.)  

Soon the joint is buzzing.  Some people want to approach him. Some wonder why he's there.  By getting out of his seat and moving in the aisles, Carter deftly took  everyone off the hook.  Hi, I'm Jimmy Carter, and I just wanted to drop by your seat and say hello.

After that, everyone can go back to his in-flight magazine, the movie or the nap and later gets some bragging rights. You know who was on my flight?  Can you beat that! He stopped by and said hello to everyone.  And after that, no one on the flight bothered him. He was free to read HIS in-flight magazine undisturbed.

I didn't like candidate Carter in 1976.   I thought Ford deserved a chance to help heal the country after Watergate. I ignored his glaring shortcomings and voted for him.

By 1980, it was "oh my God," Reagan's going to win. That can't be good for the country. So I voted for Carter.

Since then, I've disagreed strongly on his bashing of Israel. But other than that, I see him as someone to respect, maybe even like.  A completely unimposing guy with a good brain and the right ideas about most everything but the Middle East.

When he was diagnosed with cancer and gave that moving talk about the end of his life, I thought maybe I had the wrong idea about this guy. Not that it mattered. Not that my slow movement toward him means anything.  But I'm sure I'm not alone.

So I left a comment on the video that I didn't care whether he was 210 years old, I'm voting for him for a second term in 2020.

To see the video, with credit to the photographer, scroll down on this page

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2017

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