Sunday, January 17, 2021

It’s Hard to Admit You Were Wrong

 Here’s something I’ve been thinking about today. I’ve been thinking about the millions of people that like Trump, that voted for him, and are now deeply appalled by the capital insurrection. They know in their heart of hearts that Trump incited those people to violence and that he cause 5 deaths, and could have caused many more if those people had been a little more organized. They also know the election wasn’t stolen.

But it’s really hard to look at a political figure that you like, and admit to yourself, let alone to anybody else, that you were wrong. I’m thinking about Clinton. I liked him! I liked his policies, his friendly manner, the way he really seemed to care. But he was a rat. He cheated, over and over again. All those women in Arkansas, not to mention Monica Lewinsky. And you know what? I didn’t want to believe it. I thought someone put those women up to it, that they were just trying to make him look bad. And Monica? Well once it was obvious that it was true, I blamed her! She was a floosy! She enticed a man and caused his downfall! Kenneth Starr was on a fishing expedition! And his impeachment? Well “no one died when Clinton lied”, ya know?

The thing is, he did cheat, over and over again. He had an affair with a 21 year old intern and thought he could get away with it. And he did equivocate, and lie, to a grand jury.

The things he got away with back then would never fly now, #metoo has seen to that, and thank God that it has. And I’m not insinuating that the things Clinton did in any way compare to the things that Trump has wrought. I’m just saying that those on the left need to have a little compassion. 

Not for the Ted Cruz and Josh Hawleys of this world, the cynical calculating leaders that think they can use Trump and the people that adore him to achieve their own ends. No I’m talking about your average Republican voter that has looked on in discomfort and dismay as Trump lied about the election results and then incited an insurrection against the Congress of the United States. Some of them are ready to say that this was a bridge too far, but many of them are struggling. They are still looking for some way to excuse his behavior, and it’s going to take them some time.

In reality, it took me years after Clinton was impeached to be able to admit that he was a boor when it came to his behavior with women. And he lied to a grand jury, so as unfair as it seems, he did deserve to be impeached.

Sometimes it takes decades before we can see a president’s legacy clearly. Of the presidents in my lifetime, JFK was stylish and eloquent, but he was a cheater, he got us into Vietnam, he was overly cautious on civil rights, and he almost got us into a nuclear war over Cuba. LBJ passed the most significant civil rights legislation in over a 100 years, but caused untold deaths by escalating the Vietnam war. Nixon ended the war, went to China, but thought he was above the law when he authorized the Watergate break-in.

And so it goes. What will we ultimately think about Trump? I can’t imagine at this point that down the line we will be able to say that he did some good things, but stranger things have happened. I do think he caused a rift between people in the US that will take years to repair.

So friends on the left, let’s not gloat. Try not to hate, even though you may be angry, as I am. Michelle is still right, we still need to “go high”, while standing up for the truth, and insisting that justice be done. It’s not going to be easy, for any of us. 

So as your friends and family members continue to defend Trump, be patient. We don’t have to put up with lies, but we don’t have to call people idiots either. And when you get exasperated, have a little humility, and remember Clinton.

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