My head just isn’t capable of absorbing and sorting out the barrage of political information that news outlets flood us with (of course, it’s only a “flood” to the extent that I pay attention to it. I could watch fewer news broadcasts and slow the flow, as it were). It really doesn’t help to talk with other people, because — just like me — they all have their reasons for believing what they do and virtually nothing I say will change their minds, just as virtually nothing they say will change mine.
So, we’re in a stalemate.
Specifically, I have a hard time giving much credence to the current occupant of the White House. Proponents will point to the nation’s stronger economy and lower unemployment figures; they’ll appreciate D. J. T.’s support of the military and even throw their support behind his “bully pulpit” tactics. Except for that last quality, I see nothing wrong with those arguments. (There are, however, some who have pointed out that the stronger economy can be found disproportionately among the upper echelon of the country who are benefiting at the expense of the lower tiers.)
I was recently in a conversation with a neighbor who argued that the country is better off under the current Administration. The whole time she spoke, however, I got the uneasy feeling that there were discriminatory undertones going on. She didn’t speak to the situation among the poorest of the poor; simply to the cream that we in the upper levels of society seem to enjoy.
D. J. T. simply makes me uneasy. I don’t have a problem with a person who changes his mind if new information comes along that helps clarify his previous understanding of something or even is proof that he was wrong; but D. J. T. has been shown to change his mind for no reason other than to suit his purposes in that moment. His contradictory statements are a matter of record.
And now we have to digest his pardoning of Roger Stone, an action that Matt Ford (NewRepublic.com) says “cemented his status as the most corrupt president in American history.” There’s mountains of evidence to show that this was just the latest in an ongoing “good old boy” relationship between D. J. T. and Stone — a “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” thing. The most amazing part of this story, to me, is that D. J. T. actually kept up his part of the bargain. Stone really went out on a limb to trust a man who has no qualms about firing people for simply irritating him. It would have surprised no one, and would have been more in keeping with his behavior, if D. J. T. found some excuse to leave Stone in prison.
There are those who have their comebacks to the issue. Andrew McCarthy (NationalReview.com) makes the argument that there have been worse incidents in the “sordid history” of presidential pardons, citing Bill Clinton’s pardon of his brother after a cocaine conviction and that of Marc Rich, a “fugitive financier,” after Rich made a $450,000 donation to the Clinton Library. But this is nothing more than a “your sin is worse than my sin” argument. Clinton wasn’t right to offer those pardons any more than D. J. T. is right to pardon Stone. Finding examples of worse behavior doesn’t make the behavior in question any more right.
I guess it’s just too easy to find fault with our current president (recent example: Chris Wallace’s challenges to D. J. T. in his recent interview on Fox News). At a time when he should be setting an example for the rest of the country, he prefers to present himself as outside the norm, believing that this makes him look strong, independent, no-nonsense. In actuality, it erodes the confidence of people who look to our president to lead.
The American people have expectations of their president. D. J. T. is simply too busy drawing attention to himself to hear what the majority of people outside of his base are asking him to do.
But that’s just my opinion. My head still hurts. I give up.