I hear it all the time when the truth gets in the way of the narrative. It usually comes out right after the “but what about” so and so argument. I was walking in downtown Orlando the other day when I came upon a demonstration in front of Marco Rubio’s offices. Usually, drivers on the street shout out words, often of encouragement and other times disapproving of the protesters. Par for the course. This time, however, a woman stopped in the middle of street, holding up traffic on both streets and among the growing honks from angry drivers, she was shouting; “show some respect for your president!” She was angry and even with the rising choruses of irritated drivers she could be clearly heard. The spectacle ended when a police officer ordered to move on, but not before she flipped off the protesters.
The episode got me thinking about the notion of “respect for the president.”
There are two issues to consider, is it respect for the president or respect for the office of the president. This is an important distinction because one is respecting the individual and the other is respecting the office the individual represents. I mulled this over for a while, vacillating between the two distinctions, however, there was never any doubt in my mind that I hold no respect for Donald Trump. But how about the office?
Some of you will likely not believe this, but I respect the United States and its people. I stand for, and remove my hat during the national anthem, although I do not pledge the allegiance nor sing the national anthem, because I am not a citizen. However, I respect what they represent and act accordingly.
In the case of the office of president and of the man holding the office, I finally concluded that, as the adage says, respect is earned.
Plain and simple, and if you let go of party politics and nationalism you would see that Donald Trump has not earned anyone’s respect.
Put aside whether you believe that Donald Trump has delivered on the political promises that are important to you, such as border security, tax reform, or just “draining the swamp.” Those, and other political promises belong to you alone to decide whether Trump has delivered.
But, the question that has a clear answer is whether Donald Trump deserves the respect of the people and of other nations. To make that determination we simply look at his character based on his public behavior.
The first and most obvious public activity that Donald Trump made in announcing his run for the presidency was to disparage Mexicans, like me, by insinuating that we were are all “rapists.” Clearly, you must know where I stand, but for some of you, his words were necessary for your wants and needs.
Whether you watch CNN, or Fox News, or listen to White House statements or read Trump’s Tweets, you must admit that at best, Trump has built a reputation for uttering half truths and, at worst, for lying. If Trump cannot be taken at his word, how can he be respected?
But for some of you, that may not be sufficient, so let’s go on.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump has disrespected his three wives, by cheating on the current wife with the incoming wife, or having sexual relations with women he is not married to. For some of us, that is disrespectful not only to those around him, but to the women he cheats on and to his family.
However, it’s not just the cheating but his word about women as well. Consider the recent disparaging of multiple women, like Rosie O’Donnell or his comments about grabbing women by the ….
Disparaging a woman, especially publicly, does not garner respect for the individual, in this case Donald Trump, uttering epitaphs at them. Gentlemen know to treat all women with respect.
But some of you may want to believe that the past should remain in the past and has no bearing on today, or that it doesn’t matter how he gets the job done, as long as he gets it done.
Herein lies the single most disqualifying aspect of whether Donald Trump deserves to be respected, or not. The underlining narrative about Trump across the world is that he is a “buffoon.” Allies and enemies alike see Donald Trump as a joke. The United States has lost its standing across the world because of Donald Trump. He refers to dangerous leaders as Rocket Man, or he is publicly repudiated by allies, like the British who he has yet to visit because the British government is torn between having him as a guest or not. Other friendly governments have exposed Trump’s major diplomatic gaffs many times.
His own formerly close supporters like Steve Bannon, have called him a fool publicly or are under criminal scrutiny for many different crimes, not all of which are related to Russia. At least one staffer was unceremoniously escorted out of the White House under a criminal investigation cloud.
These, and many other examples, typify the character of Donald Trump. Objectively they do not demonstrate an individual that has earned the respect of his voters, much less those who voted against him. As for me, I see nothing, not one ounce, of a redeemable quality in the character of Donald Trump and thus I cannot hold any respect for him, whatsoever.
Whether you believe that Donald Trump is greatest president ever, or the worst, does not matter on the question of whether he has earned your respect, because if you look at it objectively, you will clearly see that Trump has not earned your respect, either.