The President Has Always Been In Charge Of Setting The Bar For How We As Americans Behave. But What Happens When We Let Someone Lower That Bar?
It would be an obvious understatement to say that the President of the United States Of America is responsible for a lot of things. An extremely brief synopsis of their average 9 to 5 includes being in charge of executing laws and nominating members of their cabinet. Running armed forces and controlling nuclear launch codes. And of course appointing one lucky SNL cast member a steady role to play for at least four years (that last one involves a lengthy audition process). Arguably the most important role of all is Cheif of State. It's a unique job as it's success can't be measured by the kinds of stats or hard facts politicians so enjoy using to make their points. It's simply the duty the President has to set a symbolic example for the American people. The manner in which we as citizens behave in social situations and treat one another regardless of race, gender, class, or sexuality. The expectations of what we should strive to achieve as individuals and as a collective group. The morale we radiate for ourselves and our country. In a way, the President serves as a macro-parent of sorts. Someone who sets the bar for what's acceptable and what's intolerable. For years this bar has been set tremendously high. Although it's not always met by the general public, it is still hoisted up by the President, an uncompromising ambassador who tolerates nothing less than love, humanity, and justice.
So imagine if you will Trump, or someone like him, setting that bar. Historically the only thing people like Trump are known for is sinking to abysmal lows of greed, arrogance, and ignorance. At their best, they're out of touch country club members who have never worked an honest eight-hour shift in their life yet have the audacity to tell middle-class American's they're not working hard enough. At their worst, they're racists who form hate groups and violent clans, most of which are too scared to even meet in person nowadays. The reason they won't show their faces is simple, they just can't seem to rise above that golden bar we've subconsciously agreed to uphold as a collective society. Furthermore, they know their behavior won't be tolerated much in the same way a child's temper tantrums land them in a lengthy time out. For a long time, we've allowed people like Trump to exist, as it is their god given right to do so, but we've aggressively kept them away from positions of true influential power.
When you let just one these people creep over that bar, out from the anonymity that is a revolting Youtube comment or online manifesto, and put them at the heights of power the bar suddenly drops like a bad carnival ride. What's now expected of Americans is nothing more than very public displays of hate, ignorance, and arrogance with no consequences to speak of. Who's going to stop hate crimes when the President, our nation's parent, barks like a dog to have protestors violently thrown out of his rallies? Who's going to preach compassion for your fellow man/woman when the President, a source of unconditional empathy for their people, openly roots for the destruction and loss of livelihood in order to make a quick buck? Who's going to promote education and the furthering of intelligence when the President, our most learned and open-minded teacher, doesn't even care enough to fact check himself before a debate?
Call me a little optimistically naive, (starry-eyed is a nice sounding alternative as well), but I'm not stupid. I know no mentor, parent, or President is the image of godlike perfection they claim to be. But, hell, at least most of them try their hardest to be. Trump's never tried to be anything other than a complete monster. Maybe there's a method, a liberation, to the lowly madness? Because it's hard for anyone to expect more from you if we're all stuck down here together.