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Expat Life

Some thoughts on the U.S. presidency

Okay, so it’s been a while since I took this column into politics.   But I have no choice but to vent today.  Because I’ve had enough.

Never in my life did I expect to see the chaos that was unleashed this past week in New York (and by association, in Washington, D.C.). 

The FBI actually raided the home, office and hotel apartment (what is that all about?) of the President’s personal lawyer.  This is almost unheard of.  So, of course some people are painting this as a Democratic plot.  But, the truth is that a Republican president appointed a Republican attorney general, and assistant attorney general, and they hired a Republican prosecutor as a special investigator.  He then gave information to a Republican judge, who gave the FBI authority (based on what information, we do not know), to raid this lawyer’s office.

So, it’s not a Democratic thing.  It’s a justice thing.  Obviously, something so serious has been committed, that a Republican judge felt he had no choice but to allow the warrant to be served.

Donald Trump and Bill Clinton

And this really bothers me.  Not that there is this intense effort to get to the truth on some things, but rather, that it’s even necessary.

Yes, I lean left.  But, I am first and foremost an American.  And I respect the dignity of the Office of the President of the Untied States.

I was 12 years old when President Richard Nixon resigned under pressure from the Watergate scandal.  And even though I was too young to really understand all the complexities of what happened, I knew that the presidency that I had been taught about in grade school had been tainted.

It can be argued that it was further tainted, when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.  But I think that was the best thing for the country at the time.  And I think it helped push the presidency back to a somewhat dignified stance.  Gerald Ford was a very good politician before he became president.  He acted with dignity before reaching that office, and he held onto it when he became president.  And I never worried what he was going to say in a meeting with other heads of state.

Then we had Carter, who, no matter what you think of him, kept the office with dignity. He was even involved in creating what at the time, looked to be some type of peace in the Middle East.  Like Ford, I never worried what Carter would say to other world leaders.

Ronald Reagan

Follow that by Reagan (who’s economic policies I completely disagreed with), but whom I felt brought even more dignity to the office.  The “Great Communicator” was truly that.  He knew what to say and when to say it.  He was a firm president, not a rude, hateful man (at least not in public).  He knew how the president of the United States should act, and he played the role well.  He also worked “across the aisle” for what he thought would make America great.  He was a very dignified president.

Follow that with George H. Bush.  In my opinion, this is where the concept of presidential dignity started to go off the rails (again) a little bit.  I personally didn’t mind him as a president, except for his lying under oath (before becoming president) that he did not know anything about the Iran-Contra affair.  How can anyone be expected to believe that the vice president, who had been the head of the CIA at one time, knew nothing about this event?  I even understand why he lied about it.  But he did in under oath.  So, for me, his dignity could in no way reach the level that Ronald Reagan held.

Then, we have William Jefferson Clinton.  There’s no need for me to go into this in detail, we all know what happened.  His behavior was more than undignified, it was scandalous and it dragged the Office of the Presidency though the mud. Not only did he put a stain on the office, he made me feel shame as an American.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t support the work he did as a president, because as I’ve said, I’m a Boston-born liberal and that doesn’t fade way too easily.

George W. Bush

After what Bill did however, George W. Bush could get away with a lot before I would have said he damaged the dignity of the office.  But then we had the Iran war and the false pretenses that Colin Powell was forced to use to get that war action approved.  Clearly there was something not right in the path these men took.  I’m not going to debate whether that war was necessary or not, let the real historians make that distinction.  I’m just saying that we are a country that is supposed to be founded on laws and a government that works for the people.  The “weapons of mass destruction” justification that George, Dick and Collin used was, well, a made up story.  So, while I’m not sure I would use the word undignified when describing their actions, I would say dishonest and possibly illegal.

Anyway, I still always felt okay with the idea of how President George W. Bush would act or what he would say in meetings with the representatives of the rest of the world.  The jokes always implied that he wasn’t the smartest President we ever had, but I did feel he acted in a manner that he thought was best for the country.

Then of course we had President Barack Obama.  Yes, I supported him, though I thought his decision to go for health care reform in his first term was a huge mistake. I think he ended up with a watered down plan and used up most of the political capital he built by his landslide election.

That aside, he was at least in my opinion, dignified. He helped to rebuild our image in a world that had become increasingly anti-American after the Iran and Afghanistan wars.  The fact that he was an African American also helped that image externally (of course in the U.S., there was still huge portion of the population that had problems with that).  All in all, I felt he carried the Office of the Presidency with honor.  And like Ford, Carter, George H. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush, I felt comfortable with how he acted as our representative worldwide.

And now, we have Trump.  Where to start?  How about this, “…just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Grab ’em by the*%^&* . You can do anything.

That’s where all of this really started.  I mean much of what he said before that was pretty rude, and you could sense what his behavior would be when he became president.  But this was where it became 100% clear this man had no dignity.

And yet the people of the United States elected him.  With all the mud he threw and the crudeness he spewed through the election process, we still elected him.  Some say they did it because they thought he would change once he became president.  Clearly that hasn’t happened.

Anyone who would say he has brought dignity to the Office of the President, obviously doesn’t understand what I mean by dignity.

And anyone who wants to say this is a conspiracy of the left, of the Hollywood elites, of the “Fake News,” needs to take their head out of the sand and listen to what the man says.  What comes out of his mouth everyday.  This is not a dignified president.  This is not a leader.  This is not, what the Office of the President is supposed to be.

I don’t know if we will ever find out if Mr. Trump, or his campaign, were involved in collusion with the Russians to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

Not my point.  My point is that he is the president, and even in times of personal problems, he still needs to act like it.

Because based on how he acts on television, he is NOT a president I trust behind closed doors with other heads of state.  He is not a person who I believe is trying to make America great.  What I see is a man who has created an image of himself that is so oversized, that he can’t put the Office of The Presidency before the need to praise himself, or defend himself.

So I am bothered by what happened this week.  Not because I think the people who made the moves for that to happen, did it as a political move.  I think they actually put Justice before partisanship.

And I’m not bothered by what it portends for Mr. Trump.

I’m bothered because it is one more step toward turning the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America, once again, into an undignified position.