I Am Sorry, That Is Inappropriate And You Cannot Say That

In two tweets this past week President-Elect Donald Trump called Senate  Democratic Minority leader Chuck Schumer a “clown.”

Many of us were troubled by Donald Trump’s unrestrained insults of his opponents during the Republican primaries.  It really seemed that the old paradigm of civility had been breached.   The crudeness of some of his taunts was quite stunning.  His contempt for Rubio, Bush, and Cruze was open and unrestrained.

The people of our country have appropriately complained at the dysfunction of Congress.  As bad as that has been, nothing has quite prepared us for this kind of taunting.

As some readers may recall from their history classes, in 1856 Senator Preston Brooks famously caned Senator Charles Sumner on the Senate floor over the issue of slavery (not surprisingly Senator Brooks was an advocate of slavery) in an ominous foreshadowing of the divisions to come in this country.

More recently, the Senate prided itself on the courtliness of its proceedings.  One of the things that United States citizens could be appropriately proud of has been the respectful and courteous nature of discourse in our Senate.   It seems axiomatic that this standard is essential for a democracy to function.  Given the competing interests in society, the ability of representatives to transact the people’s business requires that they maintain an environment that facilitates the resolution of differences. 

The public has become increasingly alarmed over the years at the coarsening of our culture in general.  The freedom people take in being rude to strangers (especially on social media) let alone members of their families has seemed to be rising exponentially.  What are the implications for our country that our President is a person who appears to embrace the worst of this kind of behavior? 

I am in England at the moment.  In this country the Queen has the role of being the embodiment of what it should mean to be English.  The contentious role of Prime Minister is quite separate.  In the USA the President performs the role of both the representative of our country as well as its chief executive.

Whatever any of us may feel about many of the policies President-Elect Trump espouses, surely we can agree that as the head of our country, his manner should set a standard for how we deal with one another.

In his first inaugural address Abraham Lincoln asked a bitterly split nation to find “the better angels of our nature.”  Let us hope we can find our way to this path.


20 thoughts on “I Am Sorry, That Is Inappropriate And You Cannot Say That”

    1. Rubbish. It’s the military-industial complex (including the Iraq war and all the money we waste to secure the overseas interests of Big Oil), as well as corporate welfare that got us into the hole. We do need the unorthodox, but not a president with the temperament of a 5 year old.

      Joseph Levy


      1. Hardly,the 5 yr. old is already showing promise and has yet to be sworn in,let’s let the Varsity take the field I’ve lived the last eight with the jv and took it….welcome to life in the USA!


  1. John,

    Yes, Trump actually does seem to have the uncontrollable impulses that many of this then Republican primary opponents warned of and, yes, as even Mitt Romney has said, he is a ‘con artist’ and probably much worst. So his crudeness and taunts are probably the least of our concerns.

    Perhaps one of the most under reported stories that could have shed some light on a Trump character was his 1968 evasion of the military draft. Recently out of Penn he was re-classified 1-A and normally would have been inducted in a matter of months. What to do. In his case he obtained a false statement from a physician in private practice saying he was physically unfit for service. It was almost unprecedented in those days that such a medical opinion was taken at face value by a local draft board.

    The normal procedure would have required a pre-induction physical at which time the veracity of the claim would be reviewed and then, if he indeed was unfit, he would have been classified accordingly. Why he was able to avoid that we can only speculate on, but in those days draft boards could be influenced and frequently were by families of power and status.

    So Trump avoided service at the height of the war at a time when even the Marines were drafting. Why is this a matter of concern? Because it was not a benign action without consequences for others. By escaping, his draft board had to take someone else in the month he (Trump) would have been inducted. Each board received a monthly quota and was required to meet it.

    He then was able to maintain an unfit classification until the Draft Lottery went into effect in January 1970 and he drew a high draft number. Certainly he was untruthful about all this when questioned and it passed along with so much else.

    This may be a truer gauge of who Trump really is than his rantings and ravings.

    We don’t know who took his place or what became of him, but it is possible to actually identify that person by examining that draft board’s records.

    Hope it’s warmer in London than it is here.

    Lew Benton


    1. Almost laughable,how do you feel a about Community Organizers’ who sits in a Church of a Bigot for twenty years and then gets elected President and totally flops…..I would think you being a former Republican would feel redeemed.


  2. Mr Trump has lived a life of opulence, basked in the limelight of society pages throughout the world, enjoyed playing the part of a boss on a sitcom TV show, has been married three times….so far…., owns real estate in many regions of this country, and is pretty much used to getting his way. Did the voters really think that this leopard would change his spots? It’s strange that some people can see through his smoke screen, yet there are millions of people who hang on his every word, every tweet, hoping that he is going to make our country great again. How about making our country nice again, instead.


    1. No Henery, the voters did not expect him to change his spots. This is what the American electorate elected. They elected him for his spots and nothing to see through.


  3. Schumer is the king of clowns, the prince of fools and the kid who reminded the teacher to give out homework.Ethics board? Ethics in Saratoga? Johnny ,Saratoga is Weimar Germany in the thirties …..anything goes! Have a great time in England. Joey


  4. Henry37, your post implies you think me a fool, (or you think Trump a fool, I can not tell which) and wish us both ill. That is not very nice and is a veiled threat, just because I have a differing view.

    How about you start with yourself and try to be nicer and contribute a little bit to the country being nicer as you suggested in your post. It starts with you.

    John, I thought you were not going to publish personal attacks on individuals that may hold differing views. Please consider this a complaint about henry37’s comment.

    As to completing the sentence
    … tie a knot in the rope and swing to the destination on the other side much to the chagrin of the critics.


    1. Ms. Johnson, I took Henry37 comment as referencing Trump. In looking at it in hindsight I can see how you might interpret it another way. Henry37 previous posts have been civil. I apologize if it made you uncomfortable. In deference to you I am taking it down. Given his history I do not expect Henry37 will be bothered by this.


  5. John, you absolutely correct, my comment was directed at the president elect. I apologize, but I don’t see how it could be interpreted any other way, especially after the comments I made in the previous post.
    Keep up the good work. Is it as foggy in England as it is here?


  6. Merlin, I usually agree with “most” of your comments. But I found it a bit weird that you chose that one example of President Obama when rebutting Lew’s excellent posting about Trump’s draft-dodging in his younger days. I think that President Obama’s service to our country for the past eight years proves his dedication and loyalty to our United States of America. Trump has yet to serve our country for one day.


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