Inauguration Day Ethics Scorecard

trump-swearing-in

They did not. Which party is the civil party?

  • If only it could be a harbinger…Nah. For all the network’s transgressions during the campaign and after, CNN’s coverage throughout the day has been remarkably upbeat, factual, and fair.

The sourest note in the media commentary that I caught was on Fox News, where Juan Williams pronounced Trump’s speech as the likely work of advisor Steve Bannon and described it as far from unifying. I have to wonder about anyone who would listen to that speech and call it divisive, but I’m sure Williams will have company. The speech sure sounded like 100% Trump to me.

  • The Address.  It is refreshing to hear a major political speech from a President that isn’t full of soaring language that obviously is a speechwriter’s creation. I was initially dubious of Trump’s reported decision to write his own Inaugural address, but now that I have heard it, I realize that a President who presented himself to voters as unfiltered and genuine had no other choice, lest he appear false and hypocritical. The speech wasn’t eloquent, but it was, as CNN commentators said, historic. Trump didn’t use “I” but “we.” The speech was non-partisan, equally indicting both parties. One could imagine Bernie Sanders giving the same speech with few changes. The pledges Trump made will be hard to keep: If he knows that, then he was courageous to make them.

If he doesn’t know it, he is frightening naive. We shall see.

  • Praise is due to Senator Roy Blunt for producing a tight, professional event that every American can be proud of. He did this despite the despicable efforts of the show business community and others to discourage and intimidate talent so that the Inauguration and related events would not be worthy of nation. They failed, he succeeded. Thank-you, Senator.

Like so much of the bitter, nasty, un-American conduct of beaten Hillary supporters, the efforts to harm the event only harmed Trump’s opposition, and alienated everyone else.

  • Ethics Hero: 16-year-old Jackie Evancho, who gave a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem after a month of  social media abuse and death threats. She sang in a slightly immature but lovely soprano, and unlike Beyoncé four years ago, actually used her own voice, eschewing lip-syncing. At its launching, at least, the Trump Presidency didn’t begin with deception. A young teen tackled a difficult composition under challenging conditions, and pulled it off without resorting to fakery, like the superstar who had the job before her.

Perfect.

  • “..And yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on…”  Anyone who reads the Sullivan Ballou letter, made famous in Ken Burns’ “Civil War” documentary, is aces with me. Good for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Also behaving graciously all day and one of the few Democratic leaders who didn’t look miserable was Nancy Pelosi. Maybe all of her ugly partisanship is role-playing after all.

She might want to consider hauling out her non-partisan persona more often. She’s really good at it.

  •  Well THAT didn’t work! Kudos are also due to the new First Lady. Despite one of the more petty efforts to sabotage the Inauguration, the mean attempt by designers to organize a fashion boycott to, I don’t know, what—force Melania and Ivanka to dress in burlap?—Mrs. Trump’s outfit drew universal raves, and deservedly so.
  • President Obama was beyond reproach. He played President as well as anyone has, and I rank him right up with FDR, Reagan and Kennedy in that respect. Oh, I think it would have been wonderful and healing if we could have seen Obama and Trump walking close together, smiling and chatting like pals.

That would be asking too much, I guess.

  • Yes, it bothered me that the crowd was so relentlessly white. Blame the Congressional Black Caucus and a the black citizens who chose not to attend for that. They wanted the Inauguration to appear exclusive, and made it so.
  • The protesters who had announced that they wanted to stop the swearing-in never got close to the Capitol, so they started rioting, throwing rocks and chunks of cement at police. The politicians, pundits, celebrities and social media users who loosely spoke of “resistance” share responsibility for this. When nobody is forcing you to do something, resistance tends to take the form of pointless, stupid violence.

As it has since I watched my first Inauguration as a boy, the grand symbolic transfer of power today made me proud to be a citizen of the United States. It also reminded me of why the American Presidency has been among my greatest passions since the Fifth Grade. As for those who can’t understand that, I am sincerely sorry for them.

 

 

81 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

81 responses to “Inauguration Day Ethics Scorecard

  1. Just out of curiosity, is it customary for the President and First Lady to walk the whole parade route or just a portion? i can’t remember from other Inauguration parades.

    As for Jackie Evancho, she did a great job with the National Anthem, which is a very hard song to sing, I am beginning to think that the song should be rewritten in a lower key or otherwise transcribed. It is just too hard for the average singer to sing.

    jvb

    • Hell, I can sing it!

      Carter was the first I recall walking any of the parade route.

      • “Carter . . . ”

        I was just wondering because I was watching the motorcade and saw that, at one point, it stopped, they piled out of the car with about 75 Secret Service Agents and a 12 year old boy, walked for a bit and then piled back in.

        jvb

        PS: You may be able sing the National Anthem but that puts you into a special group of people. I have tried to sing it but my voice exploded.

  2. Neil A. Dorr

    Jack,

    “Mrs. Trump’s outfit drew universal raves, and deservedly so.”

    Why you or anyone else cares is beyond me. No one said word one about Trump or Obama’s choice of suit (except to note the red/blue colored ties). She looked like a woman wearing clothes, that’s all.

    -Neil

  3. Phil Alperson

    Just wondering if you blamed Sarah Palin for contributing to gun violence when she put bullseyes over certain Democrats…..,,

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Of course not. Using “targets” for targeting elected officials for defeat was a well-worn graphic device. One of the more ridiculous and unfair attempts to politicize the Tuscon shooting. What is it that you are trying to compare that to?

      • Wait! I figured it out!!! You are really saying that Democrats saying Trump is Hitler, that he’s not a legitimate President, that he is a racist, xenophobic monster who will soon be putting opponents in camps and will start WW III, AND was only elected because he colluded with Russia, and had to be resisted, and his Inauguration had to be stopped, or disrupted, is no more provoking of violence than Sarah Palin using gun-sight graphics on an election map that only people who visited her website even saw! That’s it, isn’t? That’s it!!! That was your point! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA—breath—HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

        I love it! Laugh of the day! Thanks!

  4. Other Bill

    Chris Matthews:

    “And that would be — but I’m thinking, when [President Trump] said today, America first, it was not just the racial, I mean I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it, but it was the message I kept thinking. What does [U.K. Prime Minister] Theresa May think of this when she picks up the papers? What did he just say? He said America first. What happened to special relationship?”

    What? Did Chris Matthews really call an inaugural speech “Hitlerian?” We’re going to invade Belgium and Poland and Holland and Austria and France and England? And that’s just for starters?

    • Well, I will tell that the Aquitaine sure is lovely this time of year. I say, “Sally Forth! It’s the Aquitaine or bust.” Sheesh.

      jvb

    • So did Maddow. MSNBC was embarrassing. Any President who doesn’t put America first is betraying his duty.

      • Other Bill

        And of course, Palestine and China and Cuba and Iran and France and Germany and the UK and Venezuela and Bolivia and Mexico have no interest in furthering their national interests. They’re always saying, “Oh no, excuse me, you go first. We only want our brothers in other countries to flourish.” I’m leaving out Russia of course because we’re now a Russian satellite.

    • Captain Obvious

      What does [U.K. Prime Minister] Theresa May think of this when she picks up the papers? What did he just say? He said America first. What happened to special relationship?

      Good lord that man is stupid.

      She probably thought “Yeah, he puts America first, like I put the UK first. How does this surprise people?”

      • These are the one-worlders. The ones who argue for polices by saying that “the US is the only nation in the civilized world that”…as if that is dispositive. It’s the “everybody does it” of globalism.

        • Chris

          “[Insert Country] First” is not an inherently evil message, but the framing device has become so associated with racist, fascist and isolationist groups that the well has pretty much been thoroughly poisoned. Using this phrase is at best bad optics borne out of historical ignorance, and at worst an intentional dogwhistle.

          http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/27/opinions/trump-america-first-ugly-echoes-dunn/

          • I would have avoided it like the plague, myself, as would any professional speechwriter. I very much doubt that Trump knows the history. Do they teach it in schools today? Luckily most of the public is at least as ignorant on this point as Trump is.

          • John Billingsley

            If “America First”, “Armenia First”, “Cuba First”, . . . , is not an inherently evil message then how did the left’s poisoning of that well make it evil? I would hope that the leader of any nation put his or her country first and worked to ensure the welfare of their citizens ahead of the welfare of any other nation’s citizens. That does not mean not extending a hand to others when needed but it does mean not endangering this nation to do so or for any other nation to endanger themselves to do so. It also does not mean forcibly taking from other nations. This always seems to be brought back to fascism and I’m surprised you haven’ mentioned Hitler yet. Hitler didn’t say Germany First, Hitler said Germany First and to Hell with everybody else. Those are two very different things and trying to make them the same is born out of historical ignorance and is an intentional dogwhistle.

            • Other Bill

              Thanks, John. And wasn’t Hitler always saying “Deutschland uber alles?” When has Trump said “America Over All?” I think saying “America First” is kind of refreshing. Like his also saying the verboten words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” in his inaugural speech. Kind of nice rather than urging us to worry about slipping and falling in our bathtubs.

            • Chris

              If “America First”, “Armenia First”, “Cuba First”, . . . , is not an inherently evil message then how did the left’s poisoning of that well make it evil?

              Because the left didn’t poison that well, the right did. As the link I posted explained, “America First” was the name of a far-right, isolationist anti-Semitic group in the 1930s that supported appeasing Hitler. “Britain First,” today, is a horrifically xenophobic far-right group that coordinates “invasions” of British mosques. The phrase conjures up fascism and xenophobia to anyone who knows how it has been used historically.

              Given Trump’s extremist rhetoric on immigration, there’s no reason to think he means something more innocuous.

              • “The phrase conjures up fascism and xenophobia to anyone who knows how it has been used historically.”

                So, essentially to people who were in their 20s and older in the 1930’s, as well as people who desperately look to make what connections they can between Trump and Hitler?

    • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

      What special relationship? We already sent Britain to the back of the queue.

  5. Andrew Wakeling

    Wow. Wonderful sounding speech but this isn’t a President of the ‘right’ as I know it. This isn’t about a smaller government and more self reliance. All this ‘We will …’ is certainly about a different government, but a much bigger and more left leaning one. All this ‘America first …’ stuff isn’t about letting the market decide and your freedom to thrive or die in the gutter; it’s about having a leader who cares for you. Yes this could have been Bernie Sanders.

    So does he mean it; how can he? There is a massive ethical foul somewhere here and it smells bad. If President Trump is truly and conventionally of the ‘right’, and much of his speech is meaningless fluff, then this is a massive fraud on his supporters. The rich will get richer with lower taxes and deregulation. And others will wait in vain for the ‘trickle down’ and returning factories that will never come.

    If he is the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ of the left, then this is a massive fraud on the Republican party, or at least that core ‘small government / freedom / free markets’ core. It is also, surely, a hammer blow to the American political system.

    • Huh? Trump talked like this from the start! There’s no bait and switch. He was a Democrat up until ten years ago. He’s non ideological. Ted Cruz kept saying that he’s no conservative…nobody who paid attention could think otherwise. It doesn’t matter how big or small government is, as long as 1) it is paid for, and 2) it works.

      • Chris

        It doesn’t matter how big or small government is, as long as 1) it is paid for, and 2) it works.

        I agree with this wholeheartedly, but good luck finding a conservative Republican who will admit this.

        • Conservative I am, but not Republican since GW Bush sold us out with big business and the patriot act.

          We tend to like smaller government because a) it is cheaper, and thus less taxation (taxation being a drag on the economy) and b) big governments tend to want to justify growing bigger to get ever more budget, and c) they thus tend toward tyranny.

          Absent those concerns, I would agree to Jack’s assertion. Human nature being what it is, those in power generally want more, and start encroaching on all of the above.

        • The reason you won’t find *actual* conservatives agreeing with this is because in the abstract it mathematically sounds perfect, unfortunately, when we have to deal with reality, an *actual* conservative isn’t going to bother making this concession because in *reality*…in *practice*…you know, outside of academic utopian imaginations….big government is NEVER paid for, and it almost NEVER works to an expected value given the investment.

          So I think your objection is sophistry at best.

        • It doesn’t matter how big or small government is, as long as 1) it is paid for, and 2) it works.

          I agree with this wholeheartedly, but good luck finding a progressive Democrat or a socialist Democrat who will admit this.

          Since switching out multiple opposite terms in the assertion creates equally valid results, I hope you recognize the silliness of your comment.

          • Chris

            No, it doesn’t work nearly as well. Most conservatives explicitly say they are in favor of a “small government,” even when favoring big government interventions, such as costly anti-immigration policies or restrictions on abortion.

            I rarely hear progressive Democrats say they are in favor of “big government,” even though they often are. Progressive Democrats would be much more likely to say that the actual size of the government doesn’t matter, as long as what they are doing works and it is paid for (largely through taxes on the rich).

    • Other Bill

      I guess the honeymoon’s over, huh Andrew?

    • Emily

      Look, we need to pick one conspiracy theory for this presidency, because I’m having trouble with the “secret Russian/Liberal/Nazi operative” narrative.

      And the right has always been divided about what, exactly, they want small about government. Depending on the voice, it can be lower taxes, less regulation, fewer departments, fewer social programs, some of the above, or all of the above. (Some combinations make more sense than others.) Trump is pretty openly picking “lower taxes, less regulation,” which is an acceptable variation to be considered “right.”

      • Not surpisingly, this is what I learned in my 7 years working at the US Chamber would be called “business community conservatism.”

        • Andrew Wakeling

          “Business community conservatism’ Yes, good description. Tends to lead to ‘crony capitalism’. Being ‘non idealogical’ makes it relatively easy to operate without clear ‘principles’. Not good for ethics. Favourite rationalisations tend to be about the ‘ends justifying the means’.

          • All true. But not necessarily true. And non-idoelogical does not mean unprincipled. Ideology is like Morality. Principles/values are ethics.

          • Emily

            Worth noting that my comment was on the government/economic axis. Social leanings can be totally different. For instance, Mitt Romney could be pretty well classified as “business community conservative,” and he’s Mormon, so he’s obviously also socially conservative, thought not really in the fundamentalist camp that’s it’s own thing.

            On the other side of the coin, people can be for extremely small government and entirely left leaning on social issues, putting them in the libertarian camp.

            Small government and social conservatism are different variables (as are socialism and social liberalism on the left.) There tends to be a correlation, but it’s not logically necessary.

        • Andrew Wakeling

          “At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.” (President Trump)

          Ah …. ! This isn’t ‘business community conservatism’. This is Old Testament fire and brimstone. And who are ‘the righteous’ in his mind? Not surely just his supporters? Do the ‘unrighteous’ have different ‘reasonable demands’ and if so wouldn’t that be unConstitutional?

  6. What a great parade! And I hate parades! Wow, when all the progressives have to follow through on the death threats against the marching bands, the streets will be running with blood!

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I tweeted Jackie the link, though people rarely show up in person to get their EH awards. She’s got a concert in Tyler, TX tomorrow, but she MIGHT respond. Ironically, her “sister” Jacob turned Juliet is having SRS surgery today, as she sang for a decidedly not-trans-friendly crowd.

  8. carcarwhite

    I’ve been enjoying this. And the fits of my left friends on facebook still tantruming is so sad. I’m glad I voted against them.

    I love that he sorta called out both sides of the government and I’m very thrilled and excited for the work that will happen in the inner cities. I truly have a heart to help too and will look into how I can as a citizen. I want all our citizens to be remembered.

    How I took the America First stuff was like when they teach you to put on YOUR oxogen mask first then take care of others. We’re an amazing nation and if we get things squared away, we can better take care of others much better. That’s how I took it.

    Thank you for your post, wondered how you’d take things.

    OH btw, I Noticed the press, ABC, being pretty honest too, they did get off a bit, and I wondered if someone wrote in or spoke to them, as they sorta changed their tune, even saying the violence was wrong and Obama would be very upset when he finds out.

    I feel proud too. These things always make me proud, no matter who is winning or not. We really are all one.

  9. They didn’t boo Obama, they just chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

  10. Interestingly enough, my sister, a teacher, in arguably one of the few bastions of Left leaning ideology in the state: the Education system reminded me how in 09 and 13, mass emails were sent informing the teachers to stop teaching and allow the children to watch the inauguration because it is ok to miss a few hours of class to be part of the national tradition of inauguration and the importance of seeing the national transfer of power.

    This year?

    No even a hint let alone an email to view this inauguration…

  11. crella

    One of the more ridiculous comments on the entertainment came from Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast,

    ” Perhaps one of the more interesting performances was by The Piano Guys. In keeping with the theme of the afternoon, they are, one could say, phonies—or, rather, known for making a name for themselves off the works of others.
    The Piano Guys became famous through YouTube for their instrumental covers of other pop songs.”

    So then, I suppose, every symphony orchestra and cover band is ‘phony’…seriously, though, can the sneering be any more petty? The open sneering and ridicule tells you a lot more about people doing it than it does about Trump. I’m starting to consider it a huge red flag regarding character.

    • That’s amazing. AMAZING. I guess that wipes out Sinatra, then. Elvis. Judy Garland. Is he that narrow and ignorant that he thinks artists who don’t write their own music are illicit? That’s shocking stupidity.

      • Eternal optometrist

        That big phony Elton John. Singing all those songs written by Bernie taupin. And Rodgers l, where would you be without Hammerstein?

        • The story goes that Jerome Kern was being honored at an event, and was introduced as the man who wrote “Old Man River.” He demurred, saying that Hammerstein wrote “Old Man River.”

          “I wrote, “Da da dada,” he said.

  12. Irony, anyone? This snide article is brought to us by one of the democrat media, who repeat words others wrote for a living, as proven by the lock step talking points touted by all outlets at once. Does that make most reporters a fraud?

  13. Alexander Cheezem

    Well, Trump didn’t write his speech, as the Wall Street Journal is now reporting: http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-strikes-nationalistic-tone-in-inaugural-speech-1484957527?tesla=y&mod=e2tw .

    Also, they plagiarized a portion of it… from Bane. Yes, the Batman villain.

    So… yeah. I’m around as unimpressed by his inauguration as I was by his campaign.

    • Chris

      I’ve seen the one line that some people are saying is plagiarized from Bane, and I think it’s way too vague and banal to be intentional plagiarism.

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