“Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that.” — Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire; preacher, journalist and activist (1802-1861)

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Reading a letter last week from a “fan” of one of the papers I’m involved in got me thinking about how entrenched both sides are when it comes to our President; it has become apparent that neither side is going to change their mind. So, what next?

Let’s look instead at the two sides of this.

Trump promised to drain the swamp. Did he succeed in draining the swamp or has the swamp gotten thicker with all of his new critters? That’s an easy one; it’s all in the eye of the beholder; no need to argue this as I would be either “hitting my head against the wall” or “singing to the choir.”

Trump promised to make America Great Again. Again, “eye of the beholder” is the barometer. The idea of the Muslim ban has polarized the nation. While the Trump world wants to think banning immigration, building walls and keeping refugees out of our country will make it safer, it is fair to say the other side thinks America became great because we are a melting pot. Immigrants have been the life blood of the work force, and the idea of the “American Dream” is what made America great in the first place. Banning and limiting our work force seems counteproductive and it could create more hatred and loathing from our enemies. Terrorism must be fought vigorously, but is this really the way to do it?

Trump promised to be a man of the people. This seems a little clearer cut; if you believe in his rhetoric, his supporters are still waiting and hoping for him to deliver, but the facts get in the way of the promise. All the policies and regulation shifts, to date, have enriched the rich, like Trump himself, leaving the poor and middle class the scraps that come with the trickle down philosophy. Bernie is a man of the people; you may not like him, you may want to classify him as a socialist, but Bernie believes that building up those in need by offering them education and tax breaks will lift them, taking a trickle up approach where the rising tide raises all ships (including the rich).

Trump; the truth and the fake news. This is an interesting one because, by all accounts – even his most ardent supporters understand that Trump lies (and lies a lot); they just don’t seem to care. His advisors say “he fights fire with fire” when he insults the media or makes insanely personal and ugly attacks on those who publicly take him to task or embarrass him. These mostly intelligent people are finding euphemisms to justify anything he says or does and are part of his underlying support base. Perhaps in this sense, he is a “man of the people"; his supporters admire that he says what’s on his mind, regardless of what it is. What is most interesting is that they trust whatever he says, even if they know it to be false. The idea and notion of fake news has been hammered on by Trump, his advisors and the media that supports him; Hannity and FOX trumpet it over and over knowing that the more they say it, the more it will resonate. The “fake news” mantra seems simply a ploy to take the American public’s mind off the real issues confronting his administration, like Russia meddling in our election process and his desire to create a more totalitarian government where he minimizes Congress, the Senate and the mainstream press.

Trump and the obstructionists. Here is the charge by the fan: “You have jumped into the fire with fake news, and anything that can be dreamed up to take down and destroy Donald Trump, who was duly elected by the American people. He did not fly in from outer space and just take over, but that concept is what you would have us believe by your articles. The American people sent him there to do what he said would do, and you and some establishment boneheads, some Obama leftovers, the DNC (what there is left of it) and misguided media sources are at work to try to accomplish the take down.” While those are strong words, it is rhetoric. I have read very little that has tried to delegitimize the election of Trump; rather the facts about the popular vote and the size of his inauguration crowds remain facts that, when reported, become disputed and attributed to the fake or liberal news machine. When Trump and others complain and whine about being the most maligned President ever, I remember the obstructionism during the Obama years and think that memories might be short, or that I am missing something.

Trump and the concept of “utter disrespect.” Then the fan wrote, “You have lost track of and show utter disrespect for those of us who have a different view.” With the President, tweeting this and tweeting that not called into question; first his calling Rosie a "fat pig" during a petty personal battle, then calling his primary challengers “little Marco,” “lying Ted,” “crooked Hillary” and recently lambasting Morning Joe and his fiancé Mika with outrageous, mean, inflammatory 140-word assassinations of character. I can’t respond to this one. In the “eye of the beholder” seems more like a “blind eye” to those that defend this behavior.

Kindness starts at the top. In the end, I want my President to be kind, not to just some of the people – those who support him – but to all Americans. The expectation for a President to be “presidential” means just that. The latest tweets, “I heard poorly rated ‘Morning Joe’ speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, insisting on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” Those defending this by saying that Trump is a fighter and has a right to fight back is not an argument; rather it is a statement and a rationalization that does not befit POTUS.

Last week, one of our Maine Senators, Republican Susan Collins, put it best: “This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of government and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.”

We need others to step up and follow the Collins lead; just saying “no” to the nonsense is the place to start.

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Onward! …… TURN THE PAGE…… Read, Write, and Respond!

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Bring the discussion to Village Soup online.

Reade Brower can be reached at: reade@freepressonline.com

Disclosure: Reade Brower is owner of these newspapers. The opinions expressed in his columns are his own, and do not represent the newspapers, or their editorial board.