Oh how the Fox News and the CNNs so perfectly capture our current political environment. “Harsh tone, divisive rhetoric, partisanship.” Sound familiar? If you’ve scrolled Twitter, watched the news, really – if you have a pulse – you’ve probably heard these catchphrases thrown around.
So maybe the pundits could diversify their vocabulary, but the truth is, they are absolutely correct. Right now, we have a president who embraces his platform by coughing up hairballs of complete nonsense, whether spewing Twitter conspiracies or lashing out against anyone bold enough to disagree with him. We witnessed the aftermath of a horrific act of violence, one in which a disturbed liberal man fired mercilessly at Congressional Republicans at a baseball practice, nearly killing one. We heard the inexplicable innocent verdict for a police officer who shot a black man seven times, killing him in front of his girlfriend and daughter. And we felt – and continue to feel – the tension between misogynistic “Make America Great Again” hat-bearers and irritable, “march-in-the-name-of-anything” protestors. This landscape is far beyond the politically-correct “divisive, harsh rhetoric.”
I’m not a writer or a historian, so bear with me for a moment. But I thought back to the saying, “the buck stops here.” Soliciting some help from Google, I recalled that this was a favorite of President Harry Truman. Truman, it turns out, was so fond of it that he had the text inscribed on a plaque and placed on his desk. Embodying “the buck stops here,” means taking full accountability. I can’t speak to Truman’s effectiveness as a president (I can assuredly say he never tweeted insults at his predecessor) but I can appreciate what he stood for in this mantra. Truman was big enough to hold himself accountable for decisions and accept responsibility for outcomes.
See, this got me thinking about our current state of complete disarray. To imply that there is a sole person responsible for this debauchery would be insane. We’re human. We live in constant exposure to evil. So the proverbial buck needs to fall on about seven billion shoulders. 14 billion shoulders, really. But there are a few positions of power in which, in my view, should really take – rather, embrace – responsibility. That could really hold themselves to a standard of bringing about unity, of bringing about peace. And this man sits in the same office as Harry Truman once did.
Now if you have a Twitter account, look at some of the president’s recent tweets. Common threads include, but are not limited to (prompt speedy telemarketer voice): Hillary’s poor performance, Hillary’s emails, Hillary’s ‘collusion’ with the DNC, Obama’s lack of integrity, FAILING Obamacare, the “Obstructionist” Democrats causing setbacks, the witch hunt that targets only Trump, the need for a real TRAVEL BAN, how good he is at winning, how fake news is the enemy, and just about anything else negative. Someone with such an HONOR, with such an OPPORTUNITY to reach millions of people is openly mocking United States Senators on a social media account.
So my question is this. Why doesn’t the buck stop at the president’s desk? Why does he insist on the bitching and the bragging, rallying his supporters and riling up his critics? Imagine for a second if Trump tweeted about his desire for a unified America. Imagine watching him say that he cares for the poor, for those without healthcare or fearing losing their healthcare, for the unborn, for women’s rights, for minority lives, for refugee safety, for the middle class, for the LGBT community, for ALL HUMAN LIFE. Imagine scanning @realDonaldTrump and seeing something comforting like, “hey – I’m going to fight for you. I want to bring us together. Every human has dignity and deserves to be treated accordingly.” Imagine the most influential person in the United States of America taking accountability for some of the maliciousness that has spread like a virus through every crevice of our nation. Imagine.
Again yet we wait. And sides grow further apart as they continue to tear at each other’s throats. We the people need to do our part to settle the disagreements and to see eye to eye. But Mr. President, it’s time to cut the bullshit. Time to stop mocking those with whom you disagree. It’s time to step up, and not just say but show us that the buck really does stop at the president’s desk. And then, MAYBE then, we can start to make this country truly great.
Note: All opinions expressed in this commentary are solely my own, and they are just that. They are not to be treated as facts, nor as alternative facts.