BY JOHN L. HORTON
An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep. — Alexander the Great
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. — Theodore Roosevelt
A nation gets the government that it deserves. — Joseph de Maistre (French Philosopher and Diplomat)
As I say, “dynamic and inclusive leadership is needed for times like these.”
Again, President Trump and some of his supporters are pushing conspiracy theories such as: (1) Dr. Anthony Fauci has caused more HIV deaths than he has prevented, is benefitting from the COVID-19 crisis (financial/stock investments in pharmaceuticals), is a “closet/partisan” democrat, anti-Trump, and should be fired; (2) Bill Gates, according to some right-wing conspiracy theorists (Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, Fox News, etc.), is the mastermind who created the novel coronavirus pandemic and had prior knowledge of its distribution.
Some would say that Trump has been in a “foul mood” lately. During this time, Trump has repeatedly called for his detractors, critics, opponents and investigators to be locked up. To ensure this is done, his DOJ/AG William Barr is launching investigations to discover and convict these “evil doers,” Among other actions, the Trump Administration is presently “investigating” the relationship between Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service. This is continuing the “fight” between Trump and Jeff Bezos (net worth of over 150 billion dollars and owner of Amazon and The Washington Post). Too often, this is treated as “Trump being Trump,” rather than as an unforgivable transgression against our nation.
Sometimes, speaking “truth to power” is necessary. These are such times. If you are not part of the “solution,” then quite possibly you are a part of the “problem.”
Understandably, we can be disagreeable and debatable, however, we don’t have to be divisive and destructive to the detriment of “others.”
I agree with those who say that “crisis and power will (usually) reveal a person’s true character and integrity.” And, once that happens, you should “believe it.”
Inasmuch, I profoundly believe that leadership, morality, character, integrity and competence (should) begin at the top: encouraging, motivating and empowering those positive traits and innate qualities from “others” (the society and nation at large).
President Trump, unfortunately and unequivocally, fails at this. Trump sows division and disruption, most likely for political and reelection purposes. For example, he regularly calls various women critics and media reporters: dirty, nasty, fake, disgusting, unattractive, unfit, and the like. Trump appears to have serious “problems” with some/strong women. Just recently (May 24, 2020), Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as a “skank,” Stacey Abrams as “obese,” and Nancy Pelosi in need of “dentures and facial repairs.”
Also, Trump perpetuates hatred and drives discontent by calling his political opponents and those who disagree with him: disloyal, traitors, unpatriotic, un-American, and other profane names.
Recently, Trump has called some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, “suckers.” He has accused some military (Navy Seals) and DOJ officials of being a part of the “deep state” and “scum.” Additionally, he has intervened and pardoned military members who have allegedly been found guilty of “war crimes,” calling them the “real heroes,” and “true patriots.” Only the other day, Trump defended Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, saying that Flynn was mistreated by government officials and the legal system.
Trump has recently (May 3) attacked former President George W. Bush’s “bipartisan unity” message, saying where was Bush during Trump’s impeachment proceedings. Currently (May 27), Trump is threatening to sign an executive order targeting social media firms (Facebook, Google and Twitter) over allegations of political bias.
During a televised FOX News Town Hall at the Lincoln Memorial (May 3), Trump says his treatment by the press is worse than Lincoln’s. (Must we remember that Lincoln was assassinated…much worse treatment than Trump’s so far…)
Supporters of Trump, in Michigan and other places, are carrying guns, Confederate flags and swastikas to protest state lockdowns, and Trump calls them “very good people,” who are just angry and should be listened to by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Occasionally, Trump has referred to the governor as that “woman in Michigan.”)
Moreover, Trump has questioned if deceased political opponents, John McCain and John Dingell, have gone to heaven…or hell, at various political rallies.
In the past several days, Trump has promoted “liberation” of Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota (Democratic – Governors) in fighting against the shuttering of these states against the coronavirus pandemic…encouraging demonstrations against these states’ policies and practices. (Additionally, in Virginia, Trump has warned citizens to protect their “2nd Amendment” rights, which according to him are endangered.) To date, Trump has not taken any such action against any Republican – Governors states. This is a way of “pitting them vs. us,” and does nothing to bring us together as a unified society in a common cause.
Further, Trump accepts no blame or responsibility for anything dealing with our present coronavirus pandemic. For example, he blames the “Chinese Virus,” and the World Health Organization for all of these problems. He has threatened to defund the WHO and blames them for America’s and the World’s problems, although it has been reported by reliable media sources that dozens of Americans who work for the WHO forewarned the Trump Administration as early as December 2019 of the pending effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And, as usual, Trump denies any knowledge or responsibility for any of this. Meantime, deaths have gone over 100,000 and total cases heading towards 1.8 million and counting.
Additionally, the Trump Administration reduced funding and eliminated many of the scientists and doctors responsible for containing the spread of such deadly diseases as Ebola, HIV, influenza, and now COVID-19. Therefore, the infrastructure and undergirding were not present to prevent a major outbreak or societal disaster. (Some believed these steps were taken to wipe out any traces of the policies of his predecessor, Obama.)
Is this the kind of “leadership” that is needed at a time like this? Some have said that Trump is the “Chosen One,” a “stable genius,” and even a greater president than Lincoln. Trump says he has a “big brain” and is “super smart.” And, that he only hires the “very best people.” Quite often, Trump proclaims that he knows more than so-called experts, scientists, doctors and military leaders, because he has a natural gut-feeling and basic instinct when it comes to most things.
Therefore, I would ask why would Trump not be the great compromiser and POTUS for all of the people…as much as possible? We need a “Lion for a Leader” at times like these.
To quote Alexander the Great (army leadership and military wisdom): “An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.”
Notwithstanding this “leadership failure,” at this critical time in our history, I see glimpses of common decency and good works occurring among us. As has been said, “This is who we are…we are in this together.”
To those who would say that no one should ever criticize a sitting president, I would answer with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Now, if only “we” can receive leadership (guidance, support and inspiration) from the top – down, from the POTUS of all the people. Then, “we” will be able to quickly and fully recover from our present circumstances and ongoing dilemmas. For, I sincerely believe that “a nation gets the government that it deserves.”
As I say, “dynamic and inclusive leadership is needed for times like these.”