Sunday, July 09, 2017

"...People Used To Get Behind The President After The Election Was Over..."

     I still hear that from time to time and it's utter nonsense.  To take one of the more obvious, plenty of people disliked FDR during his terms of office and plenty of newspaper editors and columnists criticized his Administration's polices, even during WW II.  Presidents Truman and Eisenhower had their critics, and so on and so forth--

     So this business of claiming that after the election, the public and the Press all just lined up and went along is pure bunkum.  Americans are not now and have never been the falling-into-line type, as even a cursory examination of the early Presidencies demonstrates.

     There was, however, one difference between those "good old days" and recent history: Presidents and their Administrations were generally questioned and criticized over matters of some substance.  Even if it was gossipy or salacious -- Warren G. Harding's mistress, for example -- it was something big.  Any more, Presidents are criticized for petty, stupid things at least as often as matters of policy: Mr. Obama's "Mom jeans," Mr. Trump's unlikely hair color and style.

     Our parents, grandparents and so on might not have got behind Presidents they disliked, but they didn't question what tie the Chief Executive wore to state dinners or snicker over mishaps like his staff not making hotel reservations on overseas trips.  I don't remember hearing much of that until President Ford fell down the stairs from Air Force One, and it was slow to ramp up afterward.  I'd like to tell you we're at Peak Derp, but we probably aren't.

     Maybe venting over the petty stuff is better than ignoring it; maybe it's a safety valve.  But I think it's more like a rash, itchy and constant.

     Don't pick at it.  You'll only make it worse.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

The new thing is that the sitting president is either ignoring it, or punching back twice as hard. Plus, while the press and the opposition are concentrating on the petty, some actual, substantive change seems to be happening under the radar. I'm staying tuned for scenes from the next episode, popcorn in hand.

Monty James said...

What's happening this time is a little bit more than laughing at his tie or his staff's flubs. The hysterical effort to whip up sentiment for removing the winner of the election from office, starting from before the Inauguration, I don't recall seeing before, the silly move to invoke the 25th Amendment being the latest example of this.

pigpen51 said...

Yea, that 25th amendment thing is obviously a no go. But even with the many things that Trump has done on the periphery that make it easy for his enemies to shoot at him from afar, he has done some things of substance also. Whether or not one thinks they are good things or not, doesn't matter, those are the things that used to be debated, at least by people who actually cared about the direction of the country and not simply partisan politics. I also remember this slide towards insanity, if I may call it that, and it does seem like it began in earnest after the sixties, and the end of the innocence, as it were. With things like Kent State, and the truth of the Vietnam war, then Watergate, which really was not that big of a deal, until we found out that it was not that big of a deal, at least as far as the political insiders were concerned. Their only concern was in hiding the kind of dirty dealings that had been occurring with frequency on both sides of the aisle.

The rose colored glasses that I wore until my late teens were shattered not all at once, but torn apart piece by piece, as I saw that the country that I thought I lived in was merely the ideal that the leaders wanted me to think I lived in. When I finally opened my eyes, and saw that good, decent, honest men and women who went to Washington, with the intent to create change, and to make a real difference, soon found out that they either had to change their ideals, and become what they despised about the place, or simply leave in disgust, I realized that it is probably too late to affect change by that route. So then, I decided to look more at my local level, and even closer to home, at my own inner circle. I can't abandon the national debate completely, but I am more passionate about my family and my friends circumstances. Does the President have his adult children as close advisers? Who cares, I seem to remember other presidents having unofficial cabinets, or advisers as well. Is Melania a former soft porn model, or whatever, who is now the first lady of the country? Again, who cares, first lady is not an elected position, and from everything that I have seen of her in action, she is handling her position with the same grace and dignity that the best of the past decades have seen. Do you personally hate Trump and who he is and what he stands for? Now there is something we could debate, if people would at least be honest about it, but instead, they wish to raise the argument that if someone voted for him, then they, too, must be cut from the same cloth.

I have to say, I thought I had gotten used to dirt in politics. What I never expected was this much vitriol and hate shown towards someone simply for how they voted. If Lady Liberty, the statue in the harbor, were real, she would be weeping for America.