Post-Trump, We Have to Return to High Standards

Milt Shook
Dec 18, 2019 · 3 min read

It wasn’t all that long ago that anyone who even ran for president was expected to have at least some sense of personal decorum and at least some sense of dignity. For example, in the job, George W. Bush committed war crimes, but he didn’t hand out insults to 16-year-olds and then dismiss criticism of her because she was an “activist.” He may have been one of the worst presidents in history, but he at least tried to comport himself as an adult. Most people who met him personally note that he was very charming.

Likewise, no one could possibly even imagine Barack Obama lashing out like a spoiled tween boy at everyone who criticized him. He was slapped with the moniker, “No Drama Obama” because he never publicly shamed anyone; in fact, if he had tantrums at all, he at least had the good sense to keep them away from the public; he never even tried to publicly embarrass anyone; his Twitter feed featured no insults or attacks; most of his Tweets were policy statements and tributes to people who had done something notable. He never projected his insecurities (did he have any? If so, they weren’t apparent.) onto others. He never used his social media presence to attack those who he felt had slighted him, and he didn’t Tweet insults to those who had opposed him politically.

It is quite obvious that the end of the Trump era — which should be little more than a blip on our national radar, if we as voters do our job on Nov. 3, 2020 — will require us to change a lot about governance, but our biggest and most important job will likely be to return our government to standards of civility and decorum that we used to take for granted as “normal.”

As of now, all of the Democrats running to replace Donny seem to have that sense of dignity and decorum, as do the few Republicans willing to primary Donny, so it shouldn’t be hard to restore a reasonable level of dignity to thew office and the government, since virtually everyone at least pretends to believe in such a thing.

So, I suppose the question is, where is everyone NOW?

Where are the decent Republicans, who understand that Donald Trump is an embarrassment to the country? If he’s embarrassing thew country, he’s obviously also serving as an embarrassment to his political party. And yet…

  • When he mocked Serge Kovaleski’s disability during the 2016 campaign, not a word was heard from the GOP.
  • When he started the 2016 campaign by labeling all Latinx as rapists and drug dealer, there was no call for decorum from the Republican Party.
  • When he constantly calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahantas,” thus not only insulting the founding ethnic group on this continent as well as an honorable U.S. Senator, Republicans ignore it, if they don’t laugh and go along.
  • When Trump calls the press “Enemies of the people” and lies about “fake news,” Republicans either ignore it or join in.
  • Trump calls women who oppose him “fat” or derides their looks in some other way and Republicans largely ignore it or go along.

Being a patriotic American does not mean going along blindly with whatever the “president” says or does without criticism. In fact, being patriotic means “speaking truth to power,” which means we should all say something when any politician says or does something that we find wrong or embarrassing. Other countries are laughing at us because of Trump and his constant stream of bullshit, especially when it is clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There are very few world leaders who haven’t mocked him — and us for electing him in the first place.

It’s time we demand standards from our leaders, which means the person who occupies the White House. We have to make sure the next “president” is actually elected by a majority of the American people and we have to make sure they adhere t basic standards of decency and decorum. No more middle schoolers running the country and occupying the White House, unless they are the children of the elected president.


Originally published at The Pragmatic Progressive.

    Milt Shook

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    I know what I’m talking about.

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