Calm. Collected. Eloquent. These words may bring to mind many orators and leaders, but they certainly don’t bring to mind a certain fiery and impulsive one: President Donald J. Trump.
Whether someone supports President Trump or not, most will agree that he’s not afraid to speak his mind. His unfiltered thoughts, most clearly displayed through his personal Twitter account, manage to excite and enrage hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously. Apart from revealing his hotheadedness, and that even presidents misspell words, there are two special, underappreciated aspects of this: Transparency and engagement.
Trump’s mistakes and outbursts show authenticity. There is no doubt that he is the one tweeting. His tweets are not perfect because President Trump is not perfect. While the previous sentence may be the understatement of the century, the fact of the matter is our president is genuine and far from untouchable.
Americans, and anyone else with a twitter and uncensored internet privileges, can hurl jabs, insults or even praise at him. @realDonaldTrump has 38.8 million followers and his tweets are regularly featured in the news. For example, on Sunday he tweeted, “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” “Rocket Man” refers to the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. It is a classic example of Trump’s habit of name calling.
Although some point to this habit as an example of Trump being a bully, which in a few instances may be true, his name calling is usually daring, and sometimes even entertaining. This is especially true when directed at common enemies such as ISIS, who he has repeatedly called “losers.” At first glance this seems elementary at best, and a political blunder at worst, but his name calling demeans them. In people’s minds, he reduces them from unstoppable terrorists to a gang of miscreants. They are not invincible. They are not cool. They will not win.
President Trump says what he’s thinking, and what some people may also be thinking, but who don’t have the platform or guts to say it. It takes guts and a degree of insanity to call out world leaders and terrorists. Luckily, it doesn’t take either to call out the president.
People aren’t scared to tweet at or about the president. People won’t disappear in the middle of the night if they do. Being unafraid to speak your mind, especially to such a powerful person, is a blessing, and a rare one.
President Trump is one of the most powerful people in the world. The ability to tweet at him is not only made possible by the first amendment, but by his willingness to continue using Twitter. It often takes losing something to realize how missed it would be. If President Trump were to take the advice of former Secretary of State, and loser of the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton, to delete his account the result would not be national peace. At first it would be celebrated by many as a triumph. However, eventually it would be a void. Radio silence. When we are accustomed to a noise, its absence can be eerie. After all, there is such a thing as too quiet.
I’m grateful for our ability to tweet at, tweet about and retweet the leader of the free world. If nothing else, it inspires conversation and gives the people another, albeit unconventional, channel to assert our voice.
Americans can pretty much say whatever they want, within reason. We should take a moment to appreciate our freedom before we rattle off a barrage of hate against anyone who disagrees with us. Don’t stop practicing free speech, just stop taking it for granted.
A classic joke by Ronald Reagan nicely reflects what we take for granted: “The story was an American and a Russian arguing about their two countries and the American said, ‘Look, in my country, I can walk into the Oval Office, I can pound the president’s desk and say “Mr. President, I don’t like the way you’re running our country!’
And the Russian said, ‘I can do that.’
And the American says, ‘You can?’
He says, ‘Yes. I can go into the Kremlin to the general secretary’s office pound his desk and say “Mr. General Secretary, I don’t like the way President Reagan is running his country.’”
Ultimately, I prefer the President’s imperfect and candid tweets, as opposed to either carefully manufactured ones or none at all.