Michael Tabman

Where have you gone King Solomon, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you…

In Crime and Security on July 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm

While partisan politics ebb and flow, few would argue that we have hit a low point in our national divide. So much so, that the recent shooting of Republican members of Congress raised the question as to whether the level of hostility contributed to the shooting. Then, we were encouraged that this tragedy would give rise to a new level of civility and cooperation. It didn’t. Recently, some with whom I have spoken had to be reminded of the shooting.

Party loyalty, on both sides of the aisle, is and always will be counter-productive, at least for our citizenry. The inability to disagree with party positions, except at great political peril, suppresses intelligent discourse and meaningful change becomes elusive. Though recently and admirably, some Republicans have publicly distanced themselves from the president’s infamous tweet targeting a female newscaster with words fit for an obnoxious teenager.

Many articles written before the election recognized the threat of a Trump presidency, using descriptors such as demagoguery and dark ages. Those who did not support Trump believe those predictions have come to fruition. Trump’s base denies it.  They follow the lead of their new, self-anointed king. Following Trump’s lead, they blame the media, liberals and all who “just don’t get it.” They play Trump’s game of projection and reside in one of the most dangerous states of all: denial. The denialism has presented itself by refusal to acknowledge:

  • What their outrage would be if the situation was reversed.
  • That they are rooting against their own best interests.
  • That lies are not the truth, that superlatives and promises are not accomplishments.
  • That the president’s actions and words are beyond the pale of decency and the concepts of democracy and freedom.

This is not to say that President Trump does not have good ideas or has not made some accomplishments, yet they are obfuscated by his impulsive behavior. We must look at our state-of-affairs in totality.

Historical analogies to his suppression of the media are disconcerting as are comparison to modern era dictators. Trump’s rhetoric can and will lead to violence. Trump’s base explains his vitriolic messages as fighting back, or funny, or creative use of social media. Yet, such messages from opposing views are hateful, disgusting and reveal the ugly side of all who do not bow to Trump. Many studies conclude that hate crimes have been on the rise since the Trump candidacy and presidency. Yes, we can argue cause and effect. But, all of us are influenced by the words of our leaders.

“Trump is just being Trump” is neither an excuse nor an explanation of such puerile behavior; it is rationalization.  He is the president.  He must rise to the occasion. Trump must become a president, not mold the presidency into his image. The distressing scene of the president’s cabinet fawning over him was a national humiliation. Trump has crowned himself king and his base has hailed him. We must now turn to the sage words of a true king. King Solomon told us that there is a time for everything.

In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon tells us, in part, that there is

“…a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

…a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,”

Time for the latter options has arrived.


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