Drinking at the Wedding

May 18, 2017

trump at wedding

Back in 1975, my wife Jan and I founded a modest retail photography business.  After struggling for the first year, Jan suggested that we offer wedding photography as a service.  Financially strapped, I reluctantly agreed.  It was the right decision in many ways.  It provided stability to our growing business and it stimulated a new creative process that would carry over into my documentary work later in life.

As was her practice, Jan always became good friends with the family of the bride, so much so that we were often invited to sit at the family’s table.  Eventually, the father of the bride would encourage us to relax and enjoy a drink with them.  I never did.  It was my policy to never be seen drinking as it might later give rise to complaints that I had not performed my job to the highest standards, especially if someone in the family felt that I had failed in some way.  It would create a legitimate objection that could not be denied.

What we must realize is that there are ethical business practices and then there are best practices. It would not have been unethical for me to have taken a drink, but it would have been unwise.  Certainly, we must expect that the leaders of our nation subscribe to best practices to avoid the potential for controversy, especially regarding national security, private conversations and intent. There are many things that we cannot or should not know.  We need to be confident that they are held in secrecy to protect our national security and not the personal security of any single individual or team of co-conspirators.

There are a great many lines that Trump has crossed in this regard.  Whether he is guilty or not of possible malevolent actions that violate his oath of office, he has nevertheless violated the trust of the American people by not following best practices.  Plainly put, he can never be trusted.  You cannot trust a single word he says.  You cannot trust him to do the right thing.  He cannot be trusted to be logical or to think clearly.  He cannot be trusted to consider all possibilities before shooting from the hip.  He cannot be trusted to seek advice before tweeting his outrageous remarks. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth.  He cannot be trusted to cultivate stable relationships with our most important allies. He cannot be trusted to remain calm and objective and most importantly, as he has already shown, he cannot be trusted with national secrets. The list could go on for many paragraphs, but you get my point.

Trump established his business empire based on worst practices and now he is doing the same for our nation.  Oh, you might agree that it could work, after all it worked for Attila the Hun, but is this the nation we want to be?  Can we claim to set the standard for democracy while cloaked in lies and deceit, spin and pushback, and daily newspeak like “alternative facts.”

When a man cannot stand on his own and take the credit or blame for his own actions, when he hides behind surrogates to deflect criticism and present alternative possibilities for bad decisions he has made, we must question his fitness to lead.  The mere fact that this is the way he has chosen to operate betrays his own understanding that he has made a serious misjudgment that he will not admit to.  This is a weak and flawed individual at best but he is a contagious disease that will afflict the whole body of our electorate if we cannot find the right antibiotic treatment.  It seems that truth alone is not enough.


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