Friday, August 18, 2017

1833 Mr. President Please Step Down

At this point, sir, the single most patriotic act you can perform, the greatest good you can do for the greatest number -- including your base -- is to leave office.

Please, in the name of decency and love of America,  pass the reins to your vice president.  You have traveled the road into office and reached a dead end, an end where there is only one exit and for the country you say you love, you must take it. Go back the way you came in.

We know it’s hard for you to back down. For whatever reason, there’s something that prevents you from taking a step you think will make you look weak.

Resignation now would be not a sign of weakness but of strength.  It would demonstrate to all 330-million of us that you are a man of character, intelligence, foresight and righteousness.

It is not just that you are unqualified for the office. You have not used those few assets you do have in ways befitting a self governed people.  It is our fault, not yours.  We elected you.

Even those who voted for your opponents in the primaries, the caucuses and in the general election would accept values we oppose if they were voiced and acted upon in ways worthy of an American president.  Instead, you have offered a combination of ever-shifting views, internet posts that are impossible to believe, hired unqualified assistants and failed to fill vacancies that are critical to our courts, our international relations and our domestic security.

We have had presidents who didn’t understand the workings of government. But in most cases, they brought with them competent men and women who could either educate them or perform the duties they could not.

We have had presidents who consider some people beneath them, inferior in some ways.  In most cases this has been untrue and unjust.  But none of them openly advocated the degree of marginalizing you seem to be working for.

We have had presidents who bait, taunt and threaten enemies, real or imagined. But with few exceptions, their bait, taunts and threats could be modified and negotiated.  

We’ve had presidents who approved treaties that ultimately have hurt us.  NAFTA and its cousins have many a shortcoming.  The Paris Accord on climate change is a voluntary and our participation was symbolic of a stand: global warming is real.  The Iran nuclear deal is deeply flawed.  But we’re America.  We keep our promises, we don’t shrink from them, deny we made them or blame them for troubles they don’t cause.

Almost all of this is mechanics, getting to know the machinery of the executive branch and how it relates to the other branches of government, to the states and to America’s role as a world leader.

But the presidency is more than simple mechanics.  The winner of a presidential election sets the tone and mood of the country.  And the tone and mood you have set is damaging.

It’s not up to ordinary citizens to determine whether laws were broken in your business or presidential dealings. That’s why we have law enforcement and prosecutors. We are reluctant as a nation to start an investigation. But start we have.  And no matter how it ends, it will damage the presidency and the country.  It will distract you from the real business of the United States… of which you act as if you have no understanding.

We cannot afford a second Watergate. For all his flaws, Richard Nixon understood all these things and acted on his understanding. He quit.

Your personal instability, your reckless threats to our potential enemies, your courting of the Russian president all work against a united United States.  Your unwillingness to strongly condemn the so-called alt right and its white supremacists divides us and leaves us open to internal conquest.

You know this. And yet there’s something in you that won’t pull the plug.

You are driving your supporters in congress away  -- possibly the best thing you can do for them because they have the potential to soften the most rash of your proposals.

In this country, it is perfectly legal to dislike particular ethnic groups, to mock the justice system, to mock the legislature.  But it’s not perfectly right to advocate violence even when it’s met with counter-violence. It is not perfectly right to align yourself with others who would destroy America in the name of white supremacy or economic gain. You can not operate the United States Government as if you were CEO of a toaster company or the tin pot dictator of a communist or fascist dictatorship.

And you can’t seem to grasp that important but unwritten part of the office we have given you.

It’s hard to believe the chaos, fear, despair and weariness you have caused have only been present for about half a year.  It seems far longer. The thought of where this is headed if your term runs its four years is unthinkable.   

Maybe things moved too fast for you.  There are those who believe you never thought you’d win the election. Whether that’s true is irrelevant except to the point that your daily actions, your hourly internet posts and your failure to grasp the effects of your trajectory are ever more quickly destroying the country you say you love.

Please, sir, in the name of everything America stands for, do the right thing, the patriotic thing, the moral thing and tender your resignation.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own.
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© WJR 2017

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