Presidents in a Time of Crisis

Sometimes it pays to fall behind in your New Yorker reading.

Yesterday The Curmudgeon was catching up on the July 30 edition (yes, 2018, wiseass) and came across the following passage:

On April 4th, Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot dead in Memphis, and riots erupted in a hundred cities. The next day, Johnson wrote to House Speaker John W. McCormack, a Massachusetts Democrat, imploring Congress to pass the Fair Housing Act, saying, “When the Nation so urgently needs the healing balm of unity, a brutal wound on our conscience forces upon us all this question: What more can I do to achieve brotherhood and equality among all Americans?” The act passed, over a Southern filibuster, on April 10th, the day after King’s funeral.

Contrast this with our president today:  since the attempted bombing of his political opponents and the mass murder of worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, our president has responded by:

  • denying that his violent words contributed to any of these violent acts
  • proposing to overrule a passage in the constitution through an executive order
  • referring again to the news media as the enemy of the people
  • telling numerous lies that even he must surely know are lies and cannot stand up to any reasonable scrutiny
  • deploying the military on American soil in the absence of a true national emergency

All of this and much more just in the past few days.

Johnson reached out, attempting to unify and heal, while Trump barely paused before resuming his constant stream his irrational, intentionally baseless venom.

It’s the difference between being president and being truly presidential.


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