Monday, April 3, 2017

Americans insult Trump; Americans insulted Lincoln. Discuss.

     A friend posted to Facebook his list of "25 names for the current occupant of the White House." Most can't be quoted in a family newspaper. But some can: "President Yam" and "Commander in Thief" and "The Tang-Toned Baboon," — my friend's an artist, so many refer to Trump's alarming sprayed-on tangerine skin tone.
     And while I admired them — "Cheetolini" is my favorite, as Trump has perfected that Il Duce lower lip pout of contemptuous authority — they also stirred up something that's been bothering me for three months, and I might as well try to figure it out.
     In mid-January, Trump's inauguration was looming. Being of a historical bent, I turned to the past for perspective. There was, of course, Nixon's 1969 inauguration. Protestors chanted "Four more years of death!" A press corps that had been smirking at Nixon, with justification, for 20 years, suddenly were aghast to find this grubby former Red baiter assuming power. Syndicated columnist Russell Baker described the festivities this way:

     "Physically, it was a day out of Edgar Allan Poe, dun and drear, with a chilling northeast wind that cut to the marrow and a gray ugly overcast that turned the city the color of wet cement. No graves yawned and no lions roared in the streets in the Shakespearean manner, but the gloom of the elements seemed to have infected most of the proceedings."
     The other inauguration that came to mind was Abraham Lincoln's, for the simple reason that half the country hated him, too, vehemently, passionately. As the South bolted for the exits, their outrage — caused, never forget, because Lincoln intended to take away their slaves — overflowed, and they damned him with all they had:

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5 comments:

  1. Having endured 8 years of insults of my president, I would feel like a hypocrite casting meaningless jibes at their president.

    john

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  2. Me too. And to Neil's final point it is unavailing. "Sticks and stones, etc."

    As for how the two Presidents might be contrasted, my favorite Lincoln quotes illustrate how different they are. One cannot imagine anyone so petty and self admiring as Trump earning the praise bestowed on his former Commander in Chief by U.S Grant: "Mr. Lincoln gained influence over men by making them feel it was a pleasure to serve him."

    Nor could Trump, who claims a magical ability to solve difficult problems if only he is put in charge, be capable of Mr. Lincoln's wise reflection on governance: "Democracy discovers its justification not in emergency actions, but in the ordinary and difficult work of passing laws, and the daily dedication of people who agree to live by laws."

    Tom

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  3. I think ridiculing and joking about Trump's appearance must be a built-in defense mechanism to protect us from thinking about the horrific catastrophe that lies ahead. Kind of like snickering at a faraway giant asteroid hurtling straight toward planet Earth.

    Tony Fitzpatrick was right, though; all the insults just roll off Trump like rain off an umbrella. Though "Trumpty Dumpty" is a good one.




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  4. Hell, for that matter, George Washington got his share of insults.

    Insulting the president may be silly and immature, but it's a sign that we're not living in a dictatorship. Yet.

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  5. i know tony, in fact i had to ask his permission to marry my third wife. while his list of derogatory names for the current president are humorous, his assessment that mr trump is a sociopath is mere speculation and is unlikely based on any formal training mr. Fitzpatrick has received . so if your trying to stick to the facts.....

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