The Presidency of the United States

This week we will demonstrate once again why the United States is the greatest nation on earth.  We will witness the most powerful man in the world voluntarily turn over that power to another person.  More than that, he vehemently disagrees with, if not dislikes, the person to whom he is relinquishing that power.  Two hundred twenty years ago we showed the world that it could be done and we have been demonstrating it ever since.  For most of us it is almost incomprehensible how much influence and authority POTUS can exert across the entire globe.

It’s been said that politics is a blood sport.  Any doubts to the contrary were certainly vanquished in the 2016 election.  Mr. Trump, in winning this election, overcame the largest field of primary candidates in one hundred years and effectively beat the largest field of presidential candidates in our country’s history.  (The electoral college vs. the popular vote discussion is not the focus of this post.)  For that reason alone President Trump deserves the respect that is due the most powerful man in the world.  This is not an appointed position, it is earned.

The Presidency is the center of the executive or administrative branch of our government.  And as the chief executive the president is expected to get things done.  This is where we need to separate persona from policy.  Mr. Trump’s persona is apparently an acquired taste.  As a person he is either admired or reviled.  There is very little middle ground.  However, we elect a president to execute policy.  Perhaps a pleasing and lovable persona will help with execution, but in the end it is about getting things done.  A frequently used comparison here is if you must have a complex and difficult surgery.  Do you want the surgeon with a great bedside manner and an 80% success rate or the surgeon with the personality of a door knob and a 98% success rate?

The legitimate contenders for the office of the President of the United States are, to a person, exceptional people.  We need to bear in mind that we are deciding between individuals that represent the best that this country has to offer.  And for that reason they all deserve our respect.

Criticism of policy is the essence of democracy and politics.  It is always fair game.  What occurs in every election is the crossover of critiquing persona and policy.   Many will argue that we base our vote on the candidate’s persona rather than his/her policies as perhaps it should be.  It is each voter’s right to do so, but in this most recent election it looks like policy won the day.

On a personal note, I have the utmost respect for President Obama as a person and the occupant of the most powerful office in the world.  He earned it (twice) and as such deserves my respect.  He is a very likable person as is reflected in his popularity.  As a conservative, I view his policy initiatives as some of the most destructive I can recall in my lifetime and the racial divisiveness fostered in the past decade the worst since the sixties.  President Obama pursued his belief system and stood up for his beliefs.  I have to respect at least that.  President Donald Trump should be accorded no less, no matter where you reside on the political spectrum.

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