It is an American’s right to say what is on their mind, including and perhaps especially when it comes to the people who govern them.
It is a human obligation, however, to try to show things like kindness, patience, and respect toward other people.
Those two points certainly have been clashing over the past month or two in America, primarily around President Donald Trump but also trickling down to federal Republican legislators.
Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20. Just 18 days later stories were appearing in the media about his record low approval rating of 44 percent. To be fair, it apparently has long been a practice to rate a presidency while it is still wet behind the ears. In February 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower had an approval rating of 68 percent, and Richard Nixon had an approval rating of 59 percent in January 1969.
But is it fair to grade someone on their job performance less than three weeks into their job? In the private sector most first probationary periods last three to six months; on the other hand, being leader of the free world is not like most jobs.
Is a 44 percent approval rating all that surprising? Remember, Trump only received 46.1 percent of the popular vote with 48.2 percent of America voting for Hillary Clinton. The case could be made that he lost only about 2 percent of his supporters in the first couple weeks of his presidency.
A month and two days into Trump’s presidency—and probably sooner—the “i” word already was being used. On Feb. 22 the Washington Examiner carried a story in which Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said, “I think that Donald Trump has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment.”
The news media also has been reporting how federal legislators have come home to their districts and tried to hold public meetings only to be shouted down by protestors or forced to hold meetings via the telephone or not at all.
All of this begs a couple questions. If Clinton had won would the same cries for impeachment and protests be taking place? And if so, how would those actions be viewed?
Once again, it is well within the right of an American to let their voice be heard and to object when they see something happening which they do not like. There is also an obligation to let other voices be heard as well, and to give people a little rope to do their job and not just work on tying the noose right away.
—Mark Sherry