A president in love with America

I am writing in response to Elizabeth Paull’s July 7 letter to the editor, “A president in love with authoritarians.”

I am always glad to see people expressing their right to free speech and a passion to address what they see as problematic in today’s political environment. The more we can actually talk to each other, the better the outcome every time.

That being said, I respectfully disagree on most of the points raised. I completely agree the Founding Fathers’ risked everything to overthrow tyranny. The uniqueness of the Constitution designed to protect the frailest and weakest of all minorities by limiting government and instituting a system of checks and balances was and is inspiring and laudable.

It is not clear, however, that Donald Trump wants to be a dictator. He has only exercised the same powers as any prior president. He has not created new powers, nullified any Constitutional checks or balances or encroached on any citizen’s freedoms. He has attempted to work with both political parties, but he has also not shied away from pointing out conflicting priorities and personal attacks for what they are. He’s not asked for anyone in Congress to “rubber stamp” anything. He has repeatedly left the path forward legislatively to Congress while being clear about what he would like to see happen. Clearly communicating his values and principles is hardly asking for a rubber-stamp approval.

The additional ad hominem attacks listed by the author are without justification. A level of transparency of all of his financial dealings is being demanded here that has never been demanded of any prior politician. There is still a presumption of innocence in our nation. The accusation that he has “never had a meaningful acquaintance with responsibility, truth, respect, honor, morality, integrity, philanthropy dignity, statesmanship or ethics” is such painted with such a broad and blatantly false brush that it fails on absurdity alone.

Sadder still are the continued attacks on those who agree with his political values and principles as being “ignorant” and “unthinking.” Just because someone does not agree with your views on something, this does not make them ignorant and unthinking. Just because half of the country want a smaller more limited government, lower taxes, sound immigration policies, less involvement in foreign conflicts and the like does not mean they have surrendered their intelligence or capacity to think critically.

The ridiculous and offensive comparison of Trump to Hitler is astounding! To compare Trump’s conservative political views with those of a violent diehard leftist-socialist focus reeks of intellectual dishonesty. Like nearly every point raised in the letter to this point, it is heavy on personal opinion and utterly devoid of factual content.

To illustrate this, let’s deal with the main premise of the letter, that Trump loves tyrants and hates our allies. One should be able to understand that holding one’s allies accountable for promises made by calling their bluffs is substantively distinct from trying to open friendly diplomatic dialogue with a historic and despotic foe. Trying to draw the “Hermit” kingdom into real meaningful discussion relies heavily on the ability of the president to build a personal rapport with the sole single individual who makes that decision. Diplomacy with free and democratic nations is easier since they have divisions of power and responsibilities similar to our own. This is not the case with North Korea.

I would hope that it would be transparently clear that no small degree of cajoling and respect would be critical to getting a dictator to approach the discussion willingly and openly. At the same time, Trump has clearly demonstrated that he will walk away when real progress is not occurring. Being willing to try to talk with someone for peace is a worthy effort as long as it is done with realism and firmness. Trump has displayed both and should be recognized for this. Diplomacy is not love — it’s an art.

While I freely admit that Trump is not the great communicator that Ronald Reagan was, I applaud his efforts and honesty in what he has promised, delivered and is working toward. Perhaps we all should learn from his positive and negative traits and be more open and honest in our communication as well.

RON MURPHY

Lynchburg

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