Archive for Sunday, August 13, 2017

Opinion: With Trump, subtlety the greater sin

August 13, 2017

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A few words on trash-talking the president.

Said words are occasioned by emails from a large number of readers who have noted an increased propensity toward that practice in this space. Many found that rather ironic in light of an admonition that appears in the auto response received by any person who sends me an email. It warns that the reader who engages in name-calling will not receive a personal reply.

How, these readers demand to know, can I square that delicate concern for decorum with the fact that yours truly has repeatedly name-called the present tenant of the white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.? I plead guilty as charged, having dubbed him the “so-called president,” the “boy president” and “President Dumpster Fire,” among other choice epithets.

“Amazing,” wrote one person. “So it’s OK for you to name-call the president of the USA and then exclaim that you don’t respond to name-calling?”

The short answer is yes. The longer answer goes like this:

As a general rule, I’ve always tried to avoid excessive name-calling in this space, particularly of the chief executive. The one big exception was back during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when I dubbed Bill Clinton a “human oil slick,” “manipulative slime,” “Gomer” and “President Hefner.”

There is a simple reason — beyond decorum, I mean — for not going to that level too often. You see, two things happen when you call someone names.

The first is that you signal your lack of respect. The second is that you foreclose any possibility of engaging that person in a substantive manner on whatever the point of contention might be. The woman you call a stupid so-and-so is unlikely to then sit and have a calm discussion with you about police brutality.

So the reader who is affronted by my views on police brutality or any other topic has every right to call me names, but no reasonable expectation of any response beyond a tap of the delete button. Similarly, when I call the present president a human dumpster fire, it signals that I do not expect to engage with him or any of that shrinking minority of Americans who think he’s doing a bang-up job.

It is a tacit surrender, an admission that I don’t believe I can persuade him or them. That is, trust me, a bitter pill for someone who has spent more than 40 years as a professional persuader. But it says less about me than about the fact that many of us now live beyond the reach of reason and logic.

I won’t subject you here to another listing of the president’s many extraordinary shortcomings and acts of incompetence. I’ll just say that anyone for whom those things are not manifestly clear by now is unlikely to see them, ever — unless it be by the light of a nuclear explosion, which he is even now working to bring about.

The rest of us are in a fight for the life of our country. The memory and promise of America is our last redoubt. It is our Alamo against those who ask us to accept and normalize this madness.

I, for one, will not.

My preference is always to persuade. But when you cannot persuade, you can still protest. And yes, I know someone will advise me to respect the office, if not the man. My answer: I will if he will.

Until then, conscience requires me to treat this president, this singular existential threat, as I’ve never treated any president — liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican — before him. Meaning with utter contempt. I understand that some people will find that offensive. But our country is at stake here.

And I think subtlety would be the greater sin.

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Smith 3 months, 1 week ago

Wrong again, Fred. BTW, you should have known that radical leftists wouldn't be able to keep a monopoly on violent demonstrations.

Bob Smith 3 months, 1 week ago

Not buddies of mine. Quit making things up, Dorothy.

Justin Hoffman 3 months, 1 week ago

James Hodgkinson would be so very proud of the angry leftist posters on here.

Bob Smith 3 months, 1 week ago

I've got a running bet with myself over which poster will be the first to snap and get all postal.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months, 1 week ago

Justin.......what can I say.......you seem so devotedly obsessed with this murderer. Like you are proud that someone finally "got" one of those damned congressmen.

Bob Smith 3 months, 1 week ago

Fred, Fred, Fred, you are hardly the person to judge someone else as being obsessed. Motes and beams, motes and beams.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months, 1 week ago

Read the books........I have said it repeatedly.........read the books....."The Nightmare Years" and "the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer.

He was there. He watched as the people of Germany gladly gave the government to Adolf Hitler. Before they knew who he really was........but by then................it was too late.........the Nazi party had taken over and the Gestapo was out killing all who opposed them............

Read the books........."Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

George Lippencott 3 months, 1 week ago

Fred,

By all means people should read these books. Yes, the German people did hand Hitler the keys to the kingdom. Yes, the German people marched off to war willingly. Yes they remained loyal well into the war. And yes, by the time they lost faith Germany was losing the war. If Hitler had been winning would they have hung in there with him???

Michael Kort 3 months, 1 week ago

During the Night of the Long Knives, Hitlers SS murdered the leadership of the SA who were Hitlers own brown shirted Nazi street thugs who brought Hitler to power early on .

It is fascinating to watch Trump turn on one after the other of his own early supporters with their public humiliation as he describes the failures that he blames on them .

Trump is never responsible for anything that goes wrong .....always it is others ?

For dictators, anyone with a functional reputation or independent power of any kind is a threat to their total control .

HItler was selling the idea that he would Make Germany Great Again in the Germans minds..... like before WW1s failure .

How long did that GREAT AGAIN last ? with the German people paying a heavy price in the death of generations of soldiers, civilians and their total national destruction in WW2 .

Twisted Up Pride Goes Before The Fall.......nothing wrong with supporting ones nation but "nationalism gone wild" has its' dangers as does following people who show dictatorial traits .

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