As a child, you think in simple terms. Bad guys don’t get away with it. Good guys are honored and rewarded; they are not the ones who die. Police are all good. The president of the country is Good. Cheaters, liars, bullies, murderers and violent people are bad. Bad is both wrong and against the law. War is only fought for honorable reasons, because good people cannot allow bad to win out.
This was all clear to me when I was six and seven. Then I became more aware of the news. The Vietnam war casualty count reported by Walter Cronkite. (Casualties are never casual, I learned.) Images of police beating teenagers in the streets. Bobby Kennedy was murdered, and so was Martin Luther King, Jr.
Then there was Richard Nixon, a tax cheater. We thought that was bad, then Nixon turned out to be a conniving criminal with an ego that he believed covered all his evil. I was still young, though old enough by then to recognize shades between good and bad. But surely our President should not be this weak, this unscrupulous, this corrupt. When he resigned, I could return to a sort of thoughtless idea that our government was for us, the public.
Through Ford, a saintly Carter without enough bluster, Reagan – an actor that mysteriously was never accountable for anything; Papa Bush; a charismatic adulterous Clinton, Boy Bush who dragged our country into war with no national purpose, our first black president, Obama, however well or poorly, U.S. presidents recognized they held an office for the people.
Now we have waded into tRump’s vision of our nation as a corporation, where he can wander in and out of the boardroom and not be required to answer for anything. He can lie and steal and bully as he pleases, and he will do anything for a buck. Sell the country for scraps. Belittle the impoverished. State the government represents only Republicans. Tear apart the strong and good governmental departments and guidelines that support climates, health care, clean water, value for money, effective services and products.
Now I’m an adult, and don’t get this at all.