Just One Of Forty-five

We were walking through the mall. A woman called out to Sally and Sally’s hubby.  Though not technically accurate, I saw no need to issue a correction.  I waved back to her and we continued moving.  Over the years I’ve been introduced at speaking engagements with a short recital of my credentials and awards, but like most of us, my normal title has been Dad or Spouse as in Jennifer’s dad, or Phillip’s dad, and quite possibly soon as Maple’s Zayde.  These are the best introductions.

When you are introduced as someone’s father, the emphasis isn’t on you, but the child. Years ago, when I was introduced as the president of my B’nai B’rith lodge, the emphasis was on the organization.  I happened to be the leader at that particular moment, but I never lost sight of the fact that this was an honor, a responsibility, and a commitment.  B’nai B’rith was far more important than either me or my title.

I was reminded of this while watching the TV news. The screen showed the latest tweet from the current US president.  Donald Trump was attacking public servants, attacking them because he has no respect for public service or the people who dedicate their lives to making America safer and better.   What has become clear is that Mr. Trump, neither the first president, nor G-d willing not the last, views himself as more important than the job.  Here is a man who was elected to be the head of the free world, but is disappointed that the gig doesn’t come with enough swag, yet.

We have seen this play out in other countries. Attacks on a free press? Check.  Scapegoating of minorities? Check.  Self-enrichment, a culture of kleptocracy?  Check.  Denigrating the rule of law?  Hell, we had a congressman today calling for a purge of the FBI!   A cult of personality?  Please, we’ve got a guy in Washington claiming he’s saved Christmas.

It is snowing outside and the temperature is in the teens. I want better weather if I’m going to live in a banana republic.


2 thoughts on “Just One Of Forty-five

  1. Dave, what you (and most people, I pray) understand that 45 does not, is that who we are depends upon relationships and context. It’s why you felt no need to yell “well, technically, I’m not” in response to being called “Sally’s husband;” it’s why my nephews didn’t correct the man who asked “you boys don’t mind waiting for mom, do you?” when, as we were leaving, I stopped to join Friends of the Library. In both cases the third party recognized the nature of the relationship, and in that moment the exact title didn’t really matter.

    What our current POTUS fails to recognize, or to acknowledge, is that he is in relationship with the people of this country and, by extension, the world. He loves having the title and the power he believes it confers upon him, but resists mightily the responsibility to honor the contexts (plural intentional)in which he holds that title. He declares things he has done as the “greatest” or “biggest” as if that changes objective facts and, as with civil servants, he denigrates the poor souls who recognize, and honor the limits of their positions. He mistakenly thinks the title allows him to orchestrate the context. If life experience to date has not taught him otherwise, I fear the enormity of a failure that would finally convince him.
    p.s.– Please give Sally my regards.

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