Letter: Where is a president for all the people?

Published 11:04 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote for president of the United States. The election was decided in a state in which his opponent’s brother served as governor. The Supreme Court, in a vote along party lines, ordered the Florida recount (which by many analyses Gore would have won) to be stopped, throwing the electoral college to Bush. For the sake of the country, Al Gore accepted his loss and urged his supporters to accept it as well. In 2012, at campaign events for John McCain, particularly those head-lined by Sarah Palin, racism and xenophobia reared their ugly heads, but at an event in Minnesota, that decent man, John McCain, had had enough, and said to a chorus of boos among his “low information” attendees, “I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.” Meaning McCain wanted to be elected, but he knew the country would also be fine if he lost the election to Obama. To a woman who said, “He’s an Arab,” McCain replied, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man and citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign’s all about.”

Last night,  Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Florida ostensibly to help the campaign of a Republican candidate in that state. But, with Trump, everything becomes about him. His speech was all about “fake news,” “crooked Hillary,” the Mueller “witch hunt,” and the media being the “enemy of the people.” It was filled with his unending lies. As usual, his “low information” supporters lapped it up. I saw footage of the loud, foul- mouthed, ugly mob they became after being egged on to hate by this president!.They became threatening to the reporters covering the event.

We have had 45 presidents in history. Forty-four have realized they are president of all the people — even the people who did not vote for them and those who hated them. But not this president. Instead of seeking differing points of view in order to make more informed decisions, he attacks and demeans everyone who criticizes him or who even dares express a contrary opinion. We have seen him at campaign events telling people to “beat up” any protesters there — that he would pay their bail if they did. At every rally he deliberately encourages hatred against those who disagree with him and those who report his lies and misdeeds.

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Trump is what he is. It is his rabid supporters who are truly scary. Who believes, in similar circumstances, Trump would do what McCain or Gore did and put truth and the well-being of the country and its people first? More likely, he would incite his followers to violence simply to feed his own ego. Because to him, their willingness to commit violence on his behalf would demonstrate how much they loved him. He has a sick and sad need to be adored!

Lonna Gooden Van Horn