The President, The Man

To The Reader’s Forum:

Wow! Deann Nelson comes out swinging in response to Derek Smith’s op-ed, “Realizing Trump Is America” (Nov. 16-17, 2019). Citing “mind-boggling stereotypical characterizations and platitudes, lack of critical thinking and statements made without any supporting evidence,” Nelson’s over-reaction is a prime example of the charged environment today in America. And that is just the first sentence of her scathing response!

As is her right, Nelson eagerly jumps to the defense of the President, but unfortunately misses the point of Smith’s op-ed. What the original op-ed points out is that President Trump reflects the feeling of many Americans and the societal tendencies of over-indulgence, complacency, comfort-seeking and superiority that we have created for ourselves. I read Smith’s comments to be more about Americans than the President.

However, President Trump is included in Smith’s assessment of contributing to negative behavior and speech. While Nelson recognizes that “there are times when President Trump acts in a boorish manner,” she quickly cites that his supporters overlook these behaviors. This is really what Smith is saying — many Americans are OK with his words and actions!

There are a number of positive things that Donald Trump, the president, has accomplished that I recognize as positive: economic growth, low unemployment, strong support for our military and law enforcement, pride in our country and supposed support for Christian values.

Donald Trump, the man, however, is responsible for more than “boorish” behavior. Ridicule of a handicapped man, misogynistic references of women, characterizing third-world countries as “expletive” countries, encouraging supporters at his rallies to inflict bodily harm on protesters and a penchant for not recognizing or telling the truth are a few examples that come to mind.

I do not think it is unreasonable to expect that the leader of our country do more than merely reflect the attitudes of disgruntled supporters. That’s easy. What’s difficult, but noble, is to lead with high moral and ethical behavior, speech and attitude. Instead of confirming and reinforcing our most negative traits, we need a President who challenges us by example of word and deed to aspire to our most positive and admirable traits.

Nelson and those who agree with her are tired of America being used for benefits by illegal immigrants. I hear you. They are angry with the decline of social mores. I understand. They are fed up with liberalism, corruption and elitism. I get it. But, if we continue to use anger and fear as tools of our discontent, we will reap the divisive consequences to the detriment of our nation.

Ken Gaiser



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