Morality and the American Presidency

Rachel D. Herring

16 February, 2020

President Trump has the ability to evoke powerful emotions in people. One of these emotions is outrage. This morning during a bi-partisan voter registration drive at a church, a registered republican American woman came to air her grievances with me and the other republicans and was outraged about the morality of the president. She asked us how could we support such a man, who is “so clearly” immoral. To answer this disgruntled woman, I told her very firmly that the president of the United States is not the moral leader of the country. I said that morality and learning right from wrong starts in the home, with education by the parents. It is not the responsibility of the president to be the moral role model for American citizens.

In 1994, I am quite certain that my mother never bounced me on her knee, or rocked me in her arms while cooing that she hoped that I grow up to be a great person like Bill Clinton. Clinton was one of the most morally corrupt presidents in modern history, accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, harassment, and sexual assault. His entire presidency was tainted with the Monica Lewinski affair, with the accusation of rape from Paula Jones, accusations of groping from Kathleen Willey, and then another rape accusation from Juanita Broaddrick. During his political career as Commander in Chief, he was riding on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express, and hanging out on Pedophile Island. He was then impeached for his misconduct. Sound familiar?  Was he the moral leader of the country then? Or was it his wife, Hillary Clinton, who came much too close to becoming the president of the United States? She was certainly not a great role model for young women, bashing every accuser of her husband, going against every feminist principle that she preaches. The Clintons could not possibly be the moral role models of the American people.

In the year 2000, I was in kindergarten, but I remember the election vividly.  Bush was elected. Was he the new moral leader of the country? Bush was known for doing drugs in college. He never had a sex scandal while in office, but my parents never said to me, “Look at President Bush, he is the image of a good person and we hope you aspire to live up to his moral code.” What I did take from his presidency, even as a young child, was that he was there in support of the American people in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001. No matter all of the controversial steps he took afterward, I will always remember his compassionate leadership during that time. He was strong when the country was vulnerable, thus a strong leader in that respect. He chose great leaders in his cabinet, including Condoleezza Rice, who is a strong, female role model of mine to this day. In contrast to his predecessor's wife, Laura Bush was a classy and distinguished woman, a role model for girls, and I consider it a privilege that I got to dine with her. 

Eight years later, after much criticism of Bush from both sides, the country chose a progressive man for the presidency, one that promised hope and change. For the first time, people were not critical to a man that said that he smoked marijuana, even admitting to being a stoner, in his younger years. Obama had the cool factor. He seemed like a cool guy, which was a distraction to how he took money from huge banks during the financial recession, catering to them while the American economy imploded. It seemed that Obama, the surfer stoner guy had charmed everyone, both sides of the aisle. By 2011, I was seeing much more clearly. His presidency was not free of scandal, and only a few people remember the missteps, as he is remembered as the cool guy. This is the cool guy that had prostitutes delivered to his hotel room in Columbia while being portrayed as the perfect family man. This is the cool guy that planned a coup against Trump before he was elected and enacted illegal spying on a political adversary. Although swept under the rug by mainstream left-leaning media, the Obama administration had their scandals.

These scandals are not just modern-day phenomena. There have been immoral scandals that have tainted almost every American presidency, save William Henry Harrison, who was in office for less than 3 months. Jack Kennedy, a very famous and adored former president had countless affairs, notably with the most famous actress in the country, Marilyn Monroe. Was he the moral leader of the country at that point? I would hope not.

The American presidency is not the same as the role of a king. A king or queen should be a moral example, as they might be the spiritual leader of the country, even considered divine people in some countries. The Ayatollah in Iran is a head of government as well as the spiritual leader of the country. The President of the United States, however, is not the spiritual and moral leader of the United States. The United States is a Judeo-Christian secular society. It is the responsibility of the parents and the other adults in a child’s life to teach them right from wrong and instill into them a just sense of values and morals. It is up to the parents to do this however they see fit, whether it be from attending Sunday school, or by teaching them themselves. It is not the responsibility of the government to teach morals to your children. It is not the responsibility of the President of the United States, who has the most difficult job in the world, to be the moral role model to a child. We elect a president because of their ability to lead. We elected Trump because he fights for the American people, because he is tough, and because he has our back, not because he never forgets to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
 

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