My kids are pretty young, so they don’t have many strong memories of Barack Obama or his speeches. They have nobody to whom they can compare Donald Trump and his presidency. So his speeches and Twitter feed are their current understanding of what a President does and how he/she should behave.
In listening to all these soundbites, I find myself recalling speeches by Reagan, Clinton, and others and ultimately feeling inspired or hopeful even if I didn’t agree with their policies. Former Presidents typically spoke with conviction and were articulate.
“The current breed of politics is a cesspool lacking dignity, respect, or authenticity.”
I know many past leaders have made regrettable comments and have made poor personal decisions. But I believe as a nation we have finally hit a new low.
We have become immune to Trump’s rhetoric and lack of moral authority. And I guess it speaks to how divided a nation we have become. I knew we were divided, but I never expected the things Trump says would be accepted by our country and surprisingly, by a large number of Christians. I can’t fathom this fact.
As a little refresher, let’s take a look at some former Presidents and their quotes and see how they stack up against the words of Trump.
Quotes from Other Presidents versus Donald Trump
“…Only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain…” —Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
“You know, it doesn’t really matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of *ss.”
—Donald Trump, Esquire – 1991
“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” —George Washington
“You have to treat ’em [women] like sh*t.”
—Donald Trump, New York Magazine
“When angry, count to ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.”—Thomas Jefferson
“I’m gonna be dating her in ten years.”
— Donald Trump, referring to a 10-year-old girl, in 1992 at CBS News
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams
“Well, I think that she’s got a lot of Marla [Maples, Trump’s second wife], she’s a really beautiful baby, and she’s got Marla’s legs. We don’t know whether she’s got this part yet [gestures toward own chest], but time will tell…”
—Donald Trump on his then-one year old daughter Tiffany, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 1994
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
—Harry S. Truman
“Let’s make a deal; if you promise not to get “personal” with me, I will promise not to show you as the crude, fat and obnoxious slob which everyone knows you are. Sincerely, Donald J. Trump.”
“We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions — bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.” —Franklin Roosevelt
“People want me to [run for president] all the time … I don’t like it. Can you imagine how controversial I’d be? You think about [Bill Clinton] and the women. How about me with the women? Can you imagine?”
—On Hardball with Chris Matthews, as quoted in the New York Post.
“As powerful as our memories are, our dreams must be even stronger. For when our memories outweigh our dreams, we become old.” —Bill Clinton
“Grab ’em by the p*ssy. You can do anything.”
—To Billy Bush in 2005; “Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women”, The New York Times (8 October 2016)
The current state of political and cultural affairs makes me sad not just for our country but especially for our children. The only place kids usually were exposed to such language would have been on a reality show. Trump’s speech is now their normal and has made America into his reality show.
Ultimately, I fear we could lose a generation of leaders with nobody in political leadership inspiring our youth. Or hopefully, kids will remember the vacuum of leadership in which they were raised and be inspired to take America back.