David Heinen: Why it’s hard to be more open minded about Trump
Susan Kay McGuire’s recent “Other Voices” column asking for a more open-minded attitude towards Trump is appreciated for its civil tone, setting an admirable standard for discourse in this venue.
I hope to emulate that standard here as I explain why it is difficult for me, who voted the other way, to not be appalled by our president’s personal behavior, and therefore not to be somewhat closed of mind.
I accept that the wind is behind the Republicans’ sails — I believe that the election was as fair as an election can be in our age of information meddling. My conservative friends have had to live with eight years of Obama’s liberal bent, and now the tide has turned. This is how America is supposed to work — there is, in my view, an eternal tension in our country between policies that are informed by the rights of the individual, and policies that celebrate the well being of the commons, and those who support the former now have the favorable weather.
My difficulty is with the personal behavior of the president, which I find to be embarrassing, disgusting and humiliating. His feuds with mid-level media critics delivered in late night social media assaults are more like a middle school mean girl cyber slam than the behavior of the free world’s leader. His scornful references to the “bleeding” of females, from a face lift or from their “whatever” are beyond the tolerance of civility. Then there is his photoshopped clown attack on CNN, caged from a wrestling video. “Sad, really Sad,” to use his own Tweet.
That his “base” gives him a pass on all this gives one pause in considering the state of our American civilization. Trump claims that this is the voice of a modern president. I don’t think so. Obama and Bush the Junior were modern presidents as well, and had no need for such childish vituperation.
Trump has shown, in his recent foreign performances, that he can conduct himself in a dignified, presidential manner, as he reads from texts prepared by serious-minded staff, so we know he can do it.
But why does he constantly sabotage his credibility by becoming a childish buffoon? Perhaps he thinks his base requires it, and he forgets that this base is just a fraction of America, an America where a majority expect much more from him in the way of dignity, as he turns his face to the world.
If this behavior changes, perhaps more open minds may follow.
David Heinen lives in North San Juan.
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