I have often tried to comfort my friends and family by telling them they are not required to agree with me all of the time.
I tell them, honestly, that I have gone back a few weeks, months, or years and found a column that made me question if I was getting enough sleep. Sometimes my views evolve. I have written more than 1,500 columns in the past 10 years. There were a few that were wrong.
It doesn’t happen often, but it happens.
We recently received a letter to the editor that took issue with me for not pointing out the list of accomplishments that had been shared on many of their friends’ Facebook pages.
I do feel bad, because I rarely praise President Donald Trump and his actions. I did praise the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and I was a big fan of promoting Mike Pompeo. He has also been able to get taxpayers to pay for about 100 rounds of golf for him and his buddies in one year. I’m seriously jealous about that one. I have missed two chances to play golf for free in the past year because I was too busy with work.
I haven’t played a round of golf when I wasn’t on vacation in two years. I ran for president in 2012. I never thought I could win, but I would gladly take the job just for the golf.
However, as we approach President Trump’s first State of the Union Address, it is unfair to pretend he hasn’t accomplished some things. His administration has rolled back dozens of regulations that other administrations enacted to try to protect people. Trump sees regulations as onerous burdens instead of helpful protections. You’re not dead yet, so it must not be too bad.
Another thing that Trump receives no credit for is educating the youth of America. The news used to be so boring. Taxes, policies and speeches just don’t excite people. It was easy to flip the channel away from the news and try to solve that “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle before the three crazy people they had on that day’s show.
There were a lot of people who didn’t know the difference between Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden even after eight years in the White House.
One year into the Trump administration, I think it is safe to say that every person in America knows who the president is.
Between the Russia scandal, the sex scandals, the wall, and every other reality show gimmick that makes the news more exciting than a new season of “Duck Dynasty,” there is no doubt who is on top of this mess.
If there is truly no bad publicity then this administration has been very successful.
Trump also took credit for keeping all airplanes in the air and arriving safely at their destinations this year. He tweeted that he has worked very hard to make that happen. Once again, you aren’t dead yet, so something is working.
I doubt Trump will take personal responsibility should a commercial flight tragically crash at some point in the future, but for now, he has a perfect record.
The final thing that Trump has accomplished and gets 100 percent of the credit for is a coin with two sides. President Trump, through his vulgar tirades and multiple accusations of ethical and moral impropriety has single-handedly taken away the reputation of evangelicals as being a judgmental group.
Just this week Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham all reasoned away any moral impropriety for a man who apparently slept with a porn actress while his third wife was home nursing their weeks-old child. He also allegedly used campaign funds to buy that actress’ silence during his race against Hillary Clinton.
The evangelical leaders are just glad they don’t have a person like Clinton in the White House.
There was a time when Washington reporters knew of presidential affairs but traded access for their ethics and kept the stories quiet. Then came Bill Clinton and the internet age when suddenly a president’s personal moral compass gained primary importance. That continued through 16 years of George W. Bush and Obama, then Trump’s election has taken that to a new level. Suddenly, instead of most not knowing or everyone knowing and caring deeply, now everyone knows everything and nothing matters.
E.J. Dionne has been a political writer for years. He has taken issue with the numbness and apathy Americans now express toward presidential moral failures.
“I think we’ve defined our moral standards down in a very radical and depressing way in this period. There’s just never been a president who spoke publicly in this way about minority groups and who attacked his opponents with such consistent viciousness,” he said.
Michael Gerson chimed in as well. In a recent column for The Washington Post, he said, “Some Christian leaders are surrendering the idea that character matters in public life in direct exchange for political benefits to Christians themselves,” he said.
As long as the guy is on their side, suddenly evangelicals don’t care what rules are broken. That’s new. That is created by and for Trump.
It’s shameful and hurtful and I’m not sure how the evangelical community can ever regain the moral high ground it has sacrificed to continue to apologize for Trump’s actions in and out of office.
I can’t wait to hear his first State of the Union. I truly hope Trump doesn’t go off the rails and use the time to insult enemies and injure his shoulder patting himself of the back. In the same sense, I hope he doesn’t give one of the somber, sniffling speeches he tends to give when reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter.
It will be interesting to see which of his accomplishments he takes credit for and what problems he takes responsibility for. The first State of the Union is tough. It sets the tone going forward.
I don’t know what he will do, but I doubt it will be boring.