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Puerto Rico, Trump and My Mother

A couple of mornings ago President Trump threatened to take federal responders and National Guard units out of Puerto Rico because (I am paraphrasing) they are not holding up their part of the bargain. In fact he appears to be punishing Puerto Rico for not running a perfect union.

I was raised by an authoritarian mother and I’m wondering if his allegedly authoritarian father instilled a similar trait that I had to learn to temper, “You do it my way or else.”

One time when I was a young mother in an upscale suburb, several of us moms were helping put on a theatrical presentation. I yelled at the kids to get “in line” and stop fiddling around. The other moms were shocked that I didn’t handle the kids in a more calm, nurturing manner. They, it seems, had been raised by moms who were more supportive, more gentle, more understanding. After that incident, I forced myself to work on being a more empathetic mom. To this day, I still have trouble and I still have to work at it. Whether it’s gender issues, poverty issues, relationship issues, I am still more likely to blame the other if she doesn’t live up to what I perceive to be the “right way” which is my way.

Well, I’m just a normal citizen and President Trump is the President of the United States. He’s supposed to represent what Americans perceive as a grounded person, someone who has had his battles but has come to be a person that is honorable and a role model we all admire. Is this too idealistic to think that this is the bar for America? After all, presidents in the past have had their flaws as well. Particularly Richard Nixon’s troubled childhood created many dark demons that were the reason he sought to become more powerful. Of course, eventually Americans rejected him but it took an awfully long time.

We all try to learn from our mistakes, but the President of the United States must be better than the rest of us, and, if he’s not, we are all in for some terrible times.

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