Some political civility, at least for spouses

The ups and downs of presidential adoration are fluid, to say the least. A few weeks back, the 45th president of the United States was mercilessly heckled while appearing on the Jumbotron during game five of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. If you make the assumption most Nationals baseball faithful consist of lobbyists and the fiscal upper echelon elite, it’s really not surprising that POTUS was booed. The hounding was accompanied by chants of "Lock him up /Lock him up," which clearly was the partisan Washington crowd’s attempt to mock the calls of “lock her up” at Trump rallies in 2016, referring to Hillary Clinton. Pretty clever from a crowd of 50,000.

More concerning to Trump supporters was the president receiving the big wet raspberry from a sizable chunk of the Madison Square Garden crowd during Trump’s appearance a day or so later at the UFC Title fight. Although some cheered the arrival of the president, boos dominated.

To get the image back on track, Trump showed up at the biggest college football town for the biggest college football game of the season: LSU vs Alabama, smack in the middle of Crimson Tide country. Early in the first quarter, the president and his wife, Melania, appeared on the stadium giant scoreboards, causing the overflowing capacity crowd to erupt in a thunderous, lengthy ovation that left Trump looking somewhat surprised by its sincerity and duration.

Trump has held rallies in front of tens of thousands of supporters convinced he walks on water. No president in recent history has ever had such a hypnotic effect on supporters. But politics and public life are fickle and sometimes ugly. With every accolade, you can expect judgment and, with every ally, be assured an antagonist awaits. Trump is fair game and his boastful, often narcissistic undertones, feed the monsters of scrutiny. About 40 percent love him and hang on his every word, but that leaves 60 percent ready to attack.

Since Trump’s announcement to run in 2015, sundry rallies and anti-Trump events have littered the landscape with hundreds of haters materializing in small pockets and armies of protest. The president has often unfairly been labeled "Anti-Christ,” “Hitler,” “Not my president,” and “racist.” This president will always be in the crosshairs of criticism. But should our First Lady be in the same crosshairs?

In penning a weekly column for The Day, I fully expect bountiful levels of criticism. Being a target is part of doing business in the public view. However, I’d never expect any of the keyboard critics to picket or riot outside the office where my wife works. Can you imagine a group of middle-aged, liberal men and women holding signs directed at me while assembling in the parking lot of my better half’s workplace?

This takes me to FLOTUS. Recently, Melania Trump visited with caregivers and administrators at Boston Medical Center in Boston, Mass. This hospital developed a cuddling program to nurture babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The medical staff also works with expectant mothers with substance abuse and other issues.

Instead of admiration and recognition for helping bring the program national attention, the First Lady was witness to as many as 200 people — many hospital staff — in front of the facility protesting the visit. They condemned the tough immigration policies of her husband’s administration. So, while Melania was hugging mothers and infants on the inside, the progressive mob was screaming "baby killer" on the outside.

A recurring theme of the anti-Trump protester is that the president’s administration gleefully puts immigrant children in cages and cheerfully separates them from mothers. The fact is that it was the Obama administration that built those cages and his administration that first used them.

Trump is not faultless as it was his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that was so widely rejected by both political parties (even the First Lady repudiated it). I’d think the political left would love her as it’s often reported the Trumps spend little time together, sleep in different bedrooms, and operate on separate schedules.

Let’s make an informal pact moving forward. If a First Lady (or future First Man) is trying to comfort parents, nurture children, speak out against cyber bullying, fight the opioid epidemic, end domestic abuse or help military families, we should try our best to refrain from condemning them for the policies of their spouses and not rage like rabid lunatics.

Remember the words of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.

 

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