George Clooney, a fellow actor, supported Streep by commenting that it’s not the presidents job to belittle his critics. By the same token, couldn’t we say that Streep is an actor and it’s her job to act, and it’s not her job to critique political figures? This got me thinking more deeply about what the presidents job actually is and it occurred to me that a big part of the job is simply appearing presidential. Out of curiosity I googled “What does it mean to be presidential.” Top of the results was an NPR article, see: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/04/480772286/barbershop-what-does-it-mean-to-be-presidential. In the article there’s a Hillary quote, in response to the president-elect’s presidential quality.
He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope.
I think most would agree this is not typical presidential behavior. But the question I’m struggling with is if this sort of behavior is actually more authentic.
We want to condemn dictators who abuse the people they govern. We don’t want to know that our government is actually in bed with these dictators, handing over billions of tax dollars in order to get the policies that Americans want, and effectively suppressing the chances for reform in abusive autocracies.
We don’t really care about the suffering in those societies. Or we care more about ourselves and maintaining our lifestyle.
I think being presidential essentialy means covering an ugly portrait with a pretty face, and Trump ain’t pretty.