A couple hours ago I came across this bumper sticker, presumably owned by a disgruntled liberal:
I’ll treat your President with the same respect that you treated mine.
You hear this sort of thing fairly often. It always strikes me as dumb and kind of depressing.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m also a liberal, also dismayed by how Obama was treated, also unhappy that we’ve elected a man who is childish, self-centered, incompetent, ignorant, crude, petty, dangerous, and frequently vile. But here’s the thing. This bumper sticker is supposed to be anti-Trump, yet it’s embracing the very core of Trump’s philosophy: You hurt me, I hurt you back.
So you think your opponents acted childishly. Fine. But if you think the solution is to be childish right back, then I hope you’re not a kindergarten teacher. We’ve gotta have some adults in the room, because if we’re all children, well … we know how that one ends.
Even the language is silly. “Your President,” as opposed to my President. Every time I hear someone say “Not my President,” I want to bop them on the chin with a rolled-up copy of the Twelfth Amendment. He was elected legitimately — even if he didn’t get a majority, even if Russia interfered. (Collusion is a somewhat different matter, but we’ll wait and see what Mueller finds.) The point is, the biggest thing holding Trump’s chaos in check — apart from his own remarkable incompetence — is the counterbalance of the legislative and judicial branches (enshrined in Articles I and III), plus the voice of the American people, which is protected by the Bill of Rights. If Trump’s not your President, then you don’t respect the Constitution, and the Constitution is exactly what will carry us through this gargantuan quagmire. Even saying “Not my President” in a nonliteral way is, I think, somewhat harmful.
Besides — if he’s not your President, then what the hell are you so upset about?
One final thought. It occurred to me that the bumper sticker might just as easily be a few years old, owned by a conservative who was bitter about how W was treated, and angry about Obama. There’s no year on the sticker, nothing to indicate age. Which side of the aisle is this person really on? There’s no way to tell.
That, in itself, should say something about this cycle of political venom we’re in.