We’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us to create the kind of country America can be.
It would be a lot easier if we’d stop attacking and assuming the worst in each other.
Last week is as good an example as can be found.
After four American servicemen were killed in an ambush by militants in Niger Oct. 4, the White House got into a protracted – and still devolving – dispute with Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla. over whether President Trump was disrespectful in a call to one of the fallen’s widow.
The congresswoman claims Trump said something to the effect that Sgt. La David Johnson “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.”
Trump Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly explained that Trump had actually asked him what to say on the phone call – and Kelly recalled for the president what a friend and colleague had told him when his own son was killed in action. It included a statement similar to what Trump is alleged to have said to Johnson’s widow – that he knew what he was getting into when he signed up.
It’s the same awe-struck, respectful observation we might make of a firefighter who rushes into a burning building.
Perhaps Mr. Trump’s translation was bumbling. He’s been known to stumble over his tongue a time or two. But really – are we truly to believe that the president was intentionally disrespectful or dismissive?
That’s a stretch. Yet the allegation took a tragedy and rubbed political salt into an open wound. In the end, everyone was hurt, everyone looked bad, and the only ones covered in glory were the four fallen shrouded in the flag.
All in all, it was a stupid, childish counterproductive national dialogue. Especially for the most powerful nation on Earth.
We’re either better than this, or we sure as heck need to be.
The president is rightly excoriated for his own contributions to a coarse, divisive and pointless dialogue in this country. While we endorsed him for president, we’ve taken him to task a time or two ourselves.
But it must be said that the hysteria and hyperbole of the anti-Trump forces – and the constant cacophony of the hang-on-every-syllable media – have created an increasingly caustic climate in America.
Just two of the latest examples: An elementary school Halloween party in Gloucester, Mass., was sullied by someone’s bright idea of including a tombstone with the president’s name on it. And at an Iowa college, a Democratic Socialist’s anti-drug tweet included this little nugget: “The only dope worth shooting is in the oval office.”
These are no doubt the same people who believe they are morally superior to our president.
Even former Democrat President Jimmy Carter came to Trump’s defense, saying in a New York Times interview that “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about.”
In truth, this isn’t about Trump. It’s about us as a people.
We have a lot of important decisions to make in the coming months. What will we do about our collapsing health care system? How will we cut and reform our tax system in order to stimulate growth and help families get ahead? How can we get control of our immigration system? What to do about North Korea and nuclear proliferation? The questions go on.
But the first and most important question is, what kind of people will we be?
We need to get ahold of ourselves, instead of each others’ throats.