Mightier than the Sword

An old friend recently told me that the person who occupies the White House does not impact her life.  “I still go to work every day, and I still pay taxes.”  Across the internet, reading her message, I felt the small shrug with which she typed those words.  My stomach clenched.

My friend needs to bear in mind the power of the written word in creating the image of America, along with the power which has settled in the White House by virtue of the murky malaise which besieges our Congress.

I find it disturbing and ironic that almost half of America considered Trump to be a suitable president even confronted with his wild and seemingly unconsidered deportment.  We have so many illustrations from which to understand how a president should look and act; and what principles he or she should espouse and announce.

Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg ring clear and loud in my morning foggy brain:

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Compare Lincoln’s speech with what we constantly see in 140 characters from the president-elect.  The nausea and bile rise in my stomach.

I searched “Donald Trump’s Worst Tweets” and got a seven-figure result, including a page created on 08 November 2016 by the Hindustan Times, listing Trump’s ten most outrageous tweets as of that date, in the opinion of one of its editorial writers.    The quoted tweets show the crass and unkind temperament of the president-elect, typified by this attack on Rand Paul:

Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!


“While the President’s constitutional powers were, and still are, quite limited, the rise of political parties in the U.S. has done more to focus power in the presidency than any other factor.  Both the election activities of the parties and their formalized role in the Congress (which the founders had neither provided for nor foreseen), have, ironically, contributed to the migration of power from Congress to the presidency.  “The American President”, © 2006 H. Paul Lillebo, Blue Ridge Journal, October 2006.”

Driving from court yesterday, I heard a male voice shouting on the radio.  My first thought pegged it as a clip from a movie, but the announcer identified the angry speaker as Sean Spicer, the press secretary for the president-elect.  I felt myself growing more and more despondent at the prospect of having erratic, petulant, and discordant men and women wielding the power which Congress has ceded to the Oval Office.  Am I alone in fearing the changes in our landscape which a childish, temper-tantrum-throwing narcissistic president will force us to endure?

The unease which I feel mirrors the qualified congratulations heard around the world on November 09th.  Two statements spoke to my soul.

After the election, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had this to say about the results:

“Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position.

On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.”

Considering that I never once heard Trump espouse any of these values, I have to think Chancellor Merkel had her tongue planted firmly in her cheek.

‘Round Rome way, the Roman Catholic Pope said what most of us might have been feeling in our guts but found it difficult to express:

May we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation.