For more than two decades, some Americans have vilified their presidents.
The visceral level of hatred is unsettling to me.
George H.W. Bush was strongly disliked by the Left, but the disdain was expressed as ridicule rather than poison, portraying him as a man hopelessly out of touch.
The hate started, in my memory, with Bill Clinton, who was disdained by the Right as a frat boy and unworthy successor to Bush, who was a war hero, ambassador and CIA chief.
How much did Republicans hate Bubba? They impeached him over a blow job. (Impeachment was the process that failed to remove him from office. It actually made him stronger, which is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hitting the brakes, fearing impeachment would energize President Trump’s base.)
Clinton was followed by George W. Bush, whom the Left regarded as a simpleton, a spitting, cowboy boot-wearing faux president given the Oval Office by the Supreme Court.
Like Clinton, W was re-elected, which drove most Democrats batty. The hate was palpable.
Next up, our first African-American president whose birth legitimacy was challenged by the man who was to become, unbelievably, his successor. Barack Obama was painted as a Marxist by Republicans, even after Obama rescued Wall Street after its own excesses nearly killed the economy.
There were probably places in America where Obama would not have been welcome — his State of the Union speech was interrupted by GOP congressman Joe Wilson shouting, “You lie.”
Are you saying he did lie?
Even if he did, Wilson’s disrespect was unacceptable. He was reprimanded by the House and he apologized to Obama.
Wilson was called a “racist,” with some Dems saying, without proof, he never would have done that to a white president.
Because I regard “racist” to be among the worst things anyone can be saddled with, I would apply it only with the strongest of evidence. I don’t believe the evidence was there in Wilson’s case, and I even question it in Trump’s case.
So I find Joe Biden saying Trump has “fanned the flames” to be more acceptable than Beto O’Rourke’s charge that Trump is a “racist.” He may be, but I am unsure and until I am sure, I will avoid it.
I can’t deny that Trump has invited such attacks by his careless language and aversion to facts.
When he started out by characterizing most illegals from Mexico as rapists and murderers, that was insanely stupid, but not “racist.” Mexicans are not a race, nor are the other “invaders” from Latin America.
I know many don’t like the term invader, but it means to enter forcefully without invitation and that’s what millions from Latin America have been doing for decades. How else did we get some 11 million undocumented among us?
Trump’s big problem — something he shares with liberals — is a failure to distinguish between people coming to America legally and those arriving illegally. (I am setting aside the issue of those seeking refugee status, which is a relatively new development.)
One of the major planks Trump ran on was shutting down illegal immigration. He could not get Mexico to pay for the wall, but has received some cooperation lately from our neighbor to the South.
When Trump arrived in Dayton today, he wisely avoided public settings. Mayor Nan Whaley courteously met with him, but also gave him a piece of her mind. Same with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, as hundreds, if not thousands, of American citizens peacefully protested against their president.
Earlier in the year Trump said El Paso has a high crime rate when the opposite is true and characterized illegals as murderers. Because he is a sloppy speaker, some thought he was calling El Pasoans murderers.
It’s doubtful our hypersensitive, combative president will change his tune, but maybe — in the words of an earlier vilified president, Richard M. Nixon — he will lower his voice.
Or perhaps, like Nixon, leave the White House in shame.