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Robert Traynham

Millions — not just here in America — but across the globe watched and listened in horror as our president elevated white nationalists and demoted the people who were in Charlottesville seven days today to stand up against injustice and racism.

 To be clear, what we saw last week was a spectacle of a press conference that had all the trappings of a reality show and its executive producer was Donald Trump. Unscripted and raw. It was pure emotion, pure drama and pure Donald Trump. We saw it all, the true feelings, the true thoughts and the true meaning behind his words and his actions.

All you had to do was stop and listen. There was no need to ask questions, and there was no need to interrupt. All you had to do was let Donald Trump be Donald Trump and if you allowed him, which we did last week, to be his true authentic self, we saw firsthand a man who has deeply held views about race and deeply held views about the “alt right” movement. The president was at his best. Unscripted. And most people will tell you in the news and television business that the best moments to see a person be their authentic self is when they are speaking off the cuff.

 Oftentimes, we want a president to appear to be scripted, measured and predictable. It brings a sense of calm to a national crisis and those scripted words are often the ones that give us comfort and that tell that everything is going to be OK. We want a president who rises above the fray and when we see him on television we can turn to our sons, our nephews, our daughters, our nieces and our grandchildren and say, “see, that’s a good man. One day you can be just like him.”

But what we saw on television at the president’s press conference last Monday in the lobby of his building was a man that we wanted to turn off. Some quietly and many loudly turned to their loved ones and said, “I cannot believe what we’re watching. Never be like him.”

But believe it my fellow Americans for this is not a television show. This is real. And it’s sad. Yes, it’s sad enough to turn off the television, and yes it’s sad enough to quietly express your disbelief, but more is needed and that is to express your whatever you want to call it: disbelief, disappointment, disillusionment or dismay to your local members of Congress, to put pressure on them to stand up for democracy and for the return of civility in the public square. We’re long overdue and the time for action is now.


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