What Covfefe Tells us About Our Nation

covfefePresident Trump was attempting to write a tweet about what he perceives as unfair press coverage. He was doing so around midnight and something happened that caused him to start to spell the word coverage as covfefe. I’m not here to talk about the tweet but the sadly predictable reaction therein.

Those who do not like Trump are pointing to it as a sign of his incompetence, stupidity, and possible derangement. They are making fun of the tweet. Those who like Trump are defending it as a simple typo that he didn’t get around to fixing. That he accidently sent the tweet rather than deleting it.

I’d wager that the vast majority of people reading this article believe one of those two things. What I find sad is the undeniably reversal of reactions had it been President Obama who made the same tweet. I can say with absolute certainty those responding would almost universally change their opinions.

Those who don’t like Obama would be pointing to the tweet as a sign of incompetence, stupidity, and possible derangement. They would be using it as an excuse for impeachment. These are the largely the same people who are defending the tweet from Trump as harmless.
Meanwhile, those who are attacking this tweet would be defending the same if it came from Obama. Harmless, they would say.

There is a reason for this. It is because human beings are willing to forgive behavior from people they support. They are not willing to forgive the conduct of those they don’t like. They are oblivious to the fact the behavior is exactly the same. They will largely deny this is the case. They suppose they are thinking critically and rationally.

I guess this behavior can be classified as simply being human nature. We are generous with those we like and stingy with people we dislike. While it might be nothing more than natural humanity, I find it disturbing. It is a complete lack of critical thinking. It is turning off the brain in order to convince yourself of something. I want to like Trump so the tweet is fine. I want to hate Trump so the tweet is bad.

I understand that prior behavior is part and parcel of the criticism of Trump. Still, the consternation about this tweet is baffling. He was clearly trying to write the word coverage. He failed to do so and then proceeded to send the tweet anyway. This perhaps deserves some ridicule. The President of the United States should be careful with her or his words, but that is just not Trump’s style. He will continue to use words loosely and it’s important to understand this fact.

In any case, my main point today is not to criticize Trump, but instead those who are both defending and attacking him. Take a moment of introspection. What would be your reaction if Obama made that tweet? If you’re willing to be honest with yourself, I think we all know the answer to that question.

This lies at the heart of what is dividing the United States these days. The words, or gibberish words, don’t matter. The policies don’t matter. It’s all a matter of who is saying them. If we continue to be divided the nation is in trouble. If we cannot accept good ideas even from those we dislike and we cannot criticize bad ideas from those we generally support; it becomes impossible to govern.

We elect our politicians; therefore, they are a reflection of the people of the nation. When we give up critical thinking, we can only expect our politicians to behave in the same fashion.

I guess I’m simply saying; listen to the message, not the messenger. Not that I have much hope people will do so.

Tom Liberman

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