by Blair Bess
Once again, our fearless leader has insinuated himself into the national dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, the president is entitled to his opinion, just as you are or I am. The difference, however, is that when words are impulsively spouted by someone in a position of leadership, the message being conveyed sometimes sounds ominous.
While criticizing the separation of powers to a talk radio host earlier this month, President Trump whined about his inability by law to direct the FBI and Justice Department in matters related to criminal or civil investigations. He stated emphatically, “I’m the only one who counts!”
Not according to the Constitution.
The president’s latest distraction from corruption investigations, as well as domestic and world affairs, is once again the NFL — specifically, Oakland Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch. Apparently, the Quarterback-in-Chief was dismayed by Lynch’s standing for the Mexican national anthem, while sitting it out for the “Star Spangled Banner” during this past Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, in Mexico City.
In the wake of published photos showing Lynch allegedly dissing the flag, the president proclaimed that he should be suspended from play. It’s apparent the president has never personally tangled with energized Raiders fans. While respectful in their own inimitable fashion, they do not take lightly slings and arrows launched against their beloved team. This was in evidence during a ferocious battle between Raiders fans and Miami Dolphins fans a few weeks back.
The brawlers in question, unfortunately, did not have members of the Secret Service in between them. It was brutal. Had the president attended the game, he may very well have cheered them on, especially if one of the maligned fans was wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.
During the ‘70s, another presidential Armchair Quarterback – one who failed to earn a varsity letter when he played in college – regularly called then-head coaches George Allen of the Washington Redskins and Don Shula of the Dolphins to offer advice. Yes, former President Richard Nixon took time away from plotting bombing missions over Laos to strategize over the downfield movements of players with those who knew better. But, hey, he was the President of the United States.
There is a difference, however. Nixon offered behind-the-scenes opinions, unwanted or unsolicited though they may have been. Trump dictates. Publicly. There is a distinction between private opinion versus public edict. While many readers may share the president’s sentiments, he huffs, puffs, and thrusts out his chin, Mussolini-like, before launching broadsides at whoever he deems to be his enemy.
Take, for instance, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, the latest casualty of inappropriate behavior. Evidently, sexual misconduct is not reserved solely for church-going Republican conservatives like Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore. Democrats and liberals are equally as culpable when committing this type of an offense. As is the president.
Tweeting and opining away about matters regarding unwanted touching, groping, grabbing, and molestation is a hot topic the president should probably avoid. But he can’t. Even when there is clear indication that claims related to the president’s own intrusiveness and unwanted sexual advances is documented on tape.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, whether the subject matter of a photo are the actions of a U.S. Senator or those of a professional football player. In the president’s case, however, a thousand words, more or less – even spoken off-camera – are equally as telling as pictures. The president’s taxed and selective memory probably doesn’t include his infamous bus ride with reporter Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood,” where he confessed that he could do anything. Of a daytime television actress: “I did try to ‘F’ her.” (For the sake of propriety, I removed a few letters.)
How about this gem: “…I 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.”
Sounds like something Sen. Franken and candidate Moore have been accused of and might believe.
Or the most infamous of all: “Grab ‘em by the p—y. You can do anything.”
Which is clearly how he feels about being president. To the umpteenth degree. Nice to know when the person in question possesses the ability to blow the entire planet to kingdom come.
Many readers familiar with scripture may recognize this verse from John 8:7. “Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone…” The president is probably unfamiliar with one of the great cultural, moral, and religious lessons of all time.
When asked by a radio talk show host during his presidential campaign whether he had a favorite Bible verse, candidate Trump replied: “An eye for an eye.” Which Jesus actually repudiated during his Sermon on the Mount. Makes sense that this is President Trump’s favorite verse, though. “An eye for an eye” is the guiding principle of his life. That and “lock her up.”
Words count. Words matter. But when issued as commands and decrees by the President of the United States, we are on the threshold of tyranny.