Most of us have strong views about our 45th president ranging from boorish and immoral to brilliant and fearless.
Here's some of what I've perceived thus far: Amid clouds of daily media negativity, Donald Trump has maintained an undeniable, even growing, populist appeal among tens of millions.
His often inarticulate manner of speaking frequently causes many of us to wince. He expresses himself in a slight "Joisy" brogue while peppering phrases with repetitious adjectives--the likes of great, unbelievable, wonderful, outstanding and beautiful. He also often needlessly repeats his points.
It's so noticeable at times I want to shout, "Won't someone in his circle please offer this man some alternative phrasing that makes him appear more articulate?"
Trump often contradicts his team in tweets on matters large and tiny. He too often impulsively tweets before giving reasoned thought to complex issues, which means he winds up publicizing inside matters best handled internally.
Such full-Monty transparency also plays into the jaws of a national media hungry for the smallest crumb it can gleefully disseminate as another perceived negative. In short, he needlessly provides bitter political enemies the ammunition to use against him.
He is brash, egocentric and unafraid to call out by name those he sees as shirking responsibilities or spewing hypocrisies.
Through it all, he's remained popular among millions. Why? I believe because, for the first time since our maverick seventh president Andrew Jackson, the nation has a politically unrehearsed leader who speaks what he truly believes without a filter. His raw, sometimes crude, language is indeed much simpler than what we've witnessed in modern presidents.
Yet millions of Americans also see that as a refreshing sign he's not controlled by calculating, wealthy handlers.
Being honest to his message carries a lot of weight in an ailing nation where deception in politics has become ingrained. Trump's candor, rather than relying on pleasant "telepromptered" messages intended to evoke universal appeal, makes him seem far more genuine and honest than other presidents.
If nothing else, he's proven thus far to be anything but a product of media-fawning and the good-ol'-boy establishment that has long permeated the beltway swamp. Even members of his own party will attest to that. He made promises during the campaign that he actually is doing his best to keep, despite sustained political resistance and calculated roadblocks.
Amazingly, he inarguably has spearheaded notable achievements for the nation within his first year. That in itself is remarkable in light of his detractors. Imagine what he might accomplish if the national media would slobber over him even half as much as it so obviously did Barack Obama. Forget that happening.
Trump is a bona fide anomaly, an independent non-politician who cannot be pigeonholed or predicted. Despite his jarring urges to overreact, many Americans also increasingly see him as a man who gave up a cushy life offering every material desire for what is the planet's most frustrating, infuriating, crushing responsibility.
I actually believe he did so primarily because he cared enough about the nation and the future of our children and theirs. And, as with every president, his large ego is nurtured by the millions who appreciate him.
For haters who believe that's hogwash, I'd point to the salary he needlessly sacrificed for the good of the country despite the waves of unbelievably petty media negativity crashing on him daily in the hope some flecks of their castoffs eventually have got to stick.
I'd also point to the purely politicized Russian "collusion" investigation.
Many Americans with a strong sense of fair play are asking when enough media flogging (even down to criticizing how many diet drinks he consumes) will be enough. How much sustained harassment mislabeled as objective news reporting can any mortal human and his family absorb? Still, he refuses to play the establishment political game and puts responsibility to the nation above his own comfort and pleasures.
So when we hear President Trump repeating himself, or hyperbolizing yet again, or diverting from his main point to follow sentence clauses down the same rabbit trails, I wonder how much that matters if millions believe his intentions are fundamentally honorable and he truly loves this country.
None of us (certainly not journalists) live out our days being purely good or bad. Trump falls among us somewhere in that same vast middle ground, as have all presidents.
History ultimately will judge the accomplished businessman and neophyte politician Donald J. Trump by what he accomplished as our president, rather than whether you or I judged him as an uncouth bully or the man who restored America's greatness while relying upon a limited vocabulary.
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at email@example.com.
Editorial on 02/27/2018
Print Headline: Words on a maverick