Commentary: Can the President refrain from behaving like a spoiled child?

Commentary: Can the President refrain from behaving like a spoiled child?
September 28
01:00 2017

By Frederick Adams

In one week, Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, rescinded the Golden State’s Warriors’ White House invitation, and referred to peacefully protesting NFL players as “sons of bitches” that need to be “fired.” That happened in one week. Actually, it was more like five days.

These actions compel us to ask questions with obvious answers.  Is it too burdensome to ask the President of the United States to refrain from behaving like a spoiled child for one week?  Why do we demand better behavior from kids who melt down on airplanes and throw temper tantrums in toy stores than we demand from a grown man who was elected to lead our country?  

During Trump’s campaign, we saw substantial evidence for the potential of this type of senseless and reckless behavior.  Eight months into his presidency, that potential is reality, and we have officially eclipsed a threshold, where even the President’s most ardent supporters cannot continue defending him, without simultaneously sacrificing their own credibility and rebuttable presumption afforded to most adults as being reasonable and fair-minded people.

Therefore, we are compelled to consider when we have ever demanded so little or invited such baseline standards from a President.  Remember when President Obama wasn’t “presidential” because he wore a tan suit? Or not “presidential” when he filled out a March Madness bracket?  Or not “presidential” because he played golf?  That type of criticism exemplifies the extreme level of pettiness to which we were subjected during the Obama administration.  

However, this past election cycle seemingly created new rules and astonishing double standards.  Suddenly, presidential criticism appears to be prohibited, and if that criticism persists, it is confronted with hateful rhetoric and unprecedented backlash.  

Critics of Trump are routinely and unfairly stigmatized as being unable or unwilling to accept the election results or accused of possessing some secret agenda for him to fail.  Reporters who merely highlight Trump’s inconsistencies, discrepancies or outright lies are broadly painted as peddlers of “fake news.”   

Truly, we are living in precarious times that require deep self-analysis.  Should we be less critical to convince people of our patriotism or to avoid the vitriol that flows from voicing displeasure with this President?  Are we committed enough to oppose Trump’s actions, which we perceive to be racist, sexist, or disrespectful to the poor and underprivileged citizens of this country?  Then, we must determine how we can move forward with someone who seems incapable of embracing the reality and necessity of presidential responsibility – he represents everyone who lives in America, even those who disagree with him or didn’t vote for him.  

It’s overdue for all of us, especially Trump’s supporters, to demand more and better from him.  We must decide which course of action we will take because the most telling measure of a person who claims to love America is not whether we stand for the national anthem, but the degree to which we will go to improve the lives of all who live here.    

Frederick Adams II is an attorney in Winston-Salem.

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