Anyone who has read recent blog posts, follows me on Twitter, or has my trust and knows my actual identify on Facebook (shockingly, my parents did not name me Pete Peter Peters) is familiar with my feelings towards the president elect. I'm critical . . . to say the least. I find offense by many of Trump's words. Not personally; and not in the statements he makes; but by the fact that his conduct is, apparently, deemed acceptable to many.
In response to my criticism, people frequently contend that this is simply the other side of the Obama coin. In other words, Republicans have complained about Obama for years; and, now, Democrats are lashing out over Trump. "It's the same thing." I disagree.
I've yet to take issue with any of the new administration's proposed policies (to the extent anyone really knows what they are at this point). True enough, I'm sure I'll have disagreements; but this is not about that. When it comes to policy, I have my beliefs; but I'm not conceited enough to believe I'm always (or, even often) right. More importantly, I understand that people come from different backgrounds, live in different situations, and certainly don't view issues the same way I do. Circumstances color perspective on many things. I enjoy my "liberal bubble;" I tend to think most things are right inside of it; and I have little desire to live beyond its borders. But I'm cognizant that others are not in my situation and live, perhaps, drastically different lifestyles with different priorities and different perspectives on what our society should be and look like. I, for instance, disagree with Trump that The Affordable Care Act must be dismantled. Do I think there are problems with "Obama Care?" Sure. Do I think changes should be made to the program? Perhaps. Am I willing to pay high[er] premiums so that others can have health care coverage? Yes. But I recognize that others are situated differently, and I understand that others believe differently. And I respect peoples' differing opinions on this and other matters.
My criticism of Trump is not that. It's simply about decency. It's about setting an example. It's about leading in a manner that we -- all of us -- can be proud of.
To slightly digress . . . the legal profession is generally a miserable thing. It's often, by nature, an adversarial setting. Perhaps largely as a result, lawyers often behave atrociously to one another. Conduct that would be deemed unacceptable in many settings often seems encouraged in the law. It's gotten to the point that many jurisdictions require lawyers to take a course on professional civility as a requirement of joining the bar. Think about that. Grown adults are forced to endure lecture on how to treat other adults. The lesson of these courses is that you can be an effective advocate while still treating opposing counsel and clients with respect and civility. In short, you don't need to be a dick . . .
This is the lesson that Donald Trump seems to have missed. It's as if Trump looks for opportunities to demean; to offend; to personally attack; to trigger conflict. Trump talks about bringing people together; yet his words are designed to divide.
Today was just the latest example:
Today was just the latest example:
Then, several minutes later:
Does this seem like a guy who is trying to foster a collaborative environment between the White House and Congress? Does name calling foster the type of environment that brings opposing sides together? I'd assume that the vast majority of people reading this would not treat another person in this manner, let alone a colleague. This behavior is reminiscent of a grade-schooler hurling insults at a classmate. If a lawyer walked in to court and referred to the opposing party as "Crooked [xxxx]" . . . or to opposing counsel as "head clown," there would be immediate consequences. For obvious reason. That's simply not appropriate behavior; and it's not the way professionals are expected to treat each other.
So, why is it OK for Trump to engage in this type of conduct on a near-daily basis? If anything, shouldn't our President be held to an even higher standard of decorum than the average person (or dime-a-dozen lawyers)?
And, as for Trump's supporters . . . You may be dissatisfied with the past 8 years; you may believe Obama was the worst president ever; you may believe that Trump's policies will Make America Great Again. That's fine; and I can respect that. But, don't we all deserve more? Don't we deserve a president who both has ideas and will represent us graciously and in a manner that we can all be proud of? People may believe Obama was a terrible president. I'm not here to debate that belief. But I would, however, submit that President Obama was, and is, a charismatic leader who governed with respect and dignity. And that is the difference.