We Could Really Use a President Right Now

America could really use a President right now.

I have this thought more often than I care to consider.

I have it again today.

As the funeral for Senator John McCain approached, we found ourselves in yet another occasion of national consequence; one our supposed Commander-In-Chief was intentionally excluded from because he is beneath the dignity and capability the moment requires.

Like an impulsive child who cannot handle adult things, he needs to be worked around by the big people around him, so as not to overwhelm him or set him off or highlight his immaturity or trigger his tantrums.

Today, as every day since January 2017, in a moment of gravity, we simply act and move as if we do not have a sitting President, because for all practical purposes—we do not.

This moment plays itself out whenever there is a national tragedy, whenever compassion or decency or strength or goodness are required; whenever an adult leader would be called upon and compelled to actually lead us.

In those moments, he does not lead—he tweets.

Our petulant, amoral, intellectually drowning, emotionally crippled White House squatter, once again sits sequestered in some heavily bunkered bathroom behind a phone, ranting to the ether in all caps nonsense—unable to have rational debate, unwilling to be decent, incapable of basic human empathy.

This is what we get in our times of greatest need, America: a narcissistic man-child, whose complete lack of competence and preparedness rears its repugnant head in the very moments that require a steady hand, and a clear voice, and a calming presence.

When we require unity, he brings division.
When we need reason, he provides conspiracy.
When we crave calm, he feeds us chaos.
When we seek clarity, he shines the light on himself.

When we look for selflessness, he looks for praise.
When we need eloquence, he offers verbal diarrhea and spelling errors.
When we deserve truthful fine print, he manufactures bold type fake headlines.

Today will not be the last day America stumbles forward trying to compensate for the massive void we have at the top.
It will not be the last time the smart and decent and rational people all get together to figure out how to avoid a man, whose only contribution to a combustible situation—is propellent; whose sole offering during times of mourning—is further cause for grief; whose lone function in the most tense of national situations—is escalating tension.

When people of renown pass away and we mourn together, we will need a President.
When international conflict erupts and diplomacy is required, we will need a President.
When mass shootings occur and people are terrified and chaos ensues, we will need a President.
When complex legislation requires sustained intellectual attention, we will need a President.
When racism and injustice and hatred explode like a fireball, we will need a President.
When we are having our children’s futures crafted in real-time, we will need a President.

But we don’t have an adult President right now.
We don’t have a leader.
We don’t even have an impotent figurehead.
We have an egomaniacal instigator who makes everything more cruel, more volatile, more painful than it could and should be.
We have a egomaniacal shell of a man, whose very presence in the place in which he finds himself is the greatest and most tragic joke of our lifetime.

In two years, hopefully we’ll course correct on this colossal national mistake and begin to undo the unfathomable damage we’ve sustained.

In the meantime, just as today, we’ll all have to work together to fill in the spectacular gaps in leadership and compassion and intelligence and dignity that used to be filled by our Presidents.

We simply don’t have one right now.

Order John’s forthcoming book ‘HOPE AND OTHER SUPERPOWERS” here!



47 thoughts on “We Could Really Use a President Right Now

  1. Why January 2016? Barack Obama was President then. The campaign was still on, no party had selected their candidate then. Maybe you were thinking of January 20, 2017? trump’s Inauguration Day?

  2. While I am not a Christian myself, you are what I imagine a true Christian to be, and I love your passionate, COMpassionate commentaries, so please accept this in the spirit in which it is meant. I just wanted to point out a tiny error. While it may SEEM like a year longer than it has been, the date you’re looking for in (I believe) the sixth paragraph is January 2017, rather than January 2016.

    Thank you for fighting the good fight and giving so many of us hope and inspiration in these dark days.

  3. Well-made point. Perhaps we need a federal position of “father figure” in case this ever happens again, someone like Walter Cronkite, some capable of believable empathy.

  4. So as I mourn the death of Senator John McCain Cain, I listen to the memories shared by those who knew him best. I can’t help but ask, what will any of these people do to change how they lead this nation?
    How will they emmukate this man who they respected?
    PS I could care less that Trump took forever to share a thought! He is a shallow and hypocritical person!

  5. There is a typo: “Today, as every day since January 2016, ”

    This should read January, 2017. Because in Jan., 2016 we had a President who was honorable and qualified, and a Vice-President who was admired and qualified to step up and serve if the need presented itself.

  6. It was January 2017, but it sure seems longer, like January 2016. We The People choose, but it is not a given. Democracy demands a really great degree of awareness, which historically is a benefit of “liberal” education; experience in the real world: Work, career, family, responsibility, and compassion felt in the heart and visible on the radar, where commitment to involvement in life and applied critical thinking skills (“common sense”) needfully second-nature. My grandparents, born in the 1890’s, pretty much had all those qualities, based on my impressions of them and their actions. They knew what earning one’s way “in the true coin” meant, as well as keeping informed and voting. So did their children – my parents (the “Greatest Generation”) – and to some degree, Boomers. I fear we have let entertainments take priority over critical thinking, community-building and active participation in community and decision-making; yet those who value power, material wealth and control above all else (“Winners”) work tirelessly to ensure their apex survival and self-serving causes, while their other hand entertains the body politic (“Losers”) at its own unconscious peril. So now we are at a nexus, a crossroads where we must choose the way out of this cultural morass where the crocodiles and sharks have been busy at work to change the game in their favor, incremental fascism by any other name. Wake up! indeed, as the test is still in progress – let it not be the Final Exam.

  7. The scariest book I have read in a long time is The Plot to Destroy Democracy, How Putin and His Spies are Undermining America and Dismantling the West by career US Intelligence officer Malcom Nance. It describes how Putin is trying to undermine democracy all over the world and how Trump is helping him. This information needs to get out!

  8. McCain didn’t WANT President Trump to be there!! How quickly we forget! Well, most of us remember, how do you not know? Trump is simply HONORING and RESPECTING the wishes of the dead. WHY should he be there when no one wanted him there, especially the departed?
    WE HAVE THE BEST PRESIDENT EVER, if you don’t then move to REAL America or STHU!

    • Your point confirms that the honorable man we mourned that day had clearly told us trump was dishonorable.

  9. But to do this, Jon, we must win over those who see only that his awfulness is acceptable because we get our moral exclusives: the end of abortions, a right predisposed set of courts (not just supreme), the elimination of an immigration policy that allows a predominance of non-whites. Thes issues now trump an equal wage for women relative to men, the provision of medical care for all our citizens, not just the wealthy, a living minimum wage, equal access and support for a full education. Until this is faced and overcome I’m afraid he may have a constituency large enough to keep him in office and the congressmen who play to supporting their major issues there to support him. You need to find a bigger soap box .

  10. It’s more than time for this REPUBLICAN administration to take full responsibility for creating this Kingship instead of doing what’s best for this country as a whole. The Republican Senators and Congresspeople are long on power hunger and greed and short on moral and ethical responsiveness. Get this idiot king off the thrown and recognize that “we the people” are not represented by this dictator with all his Yes men and woman. Whoever is enabling (voters and politicians) this man who happens to be the president of this nation need to wake up and see the truth and speak the truth. This current administration is not working for The People or towards maintaining the constitution and values of democracy but instead is working toward the destruction of the government.

  11. “When we require unity, he brings division.
    When we need reason, he provides conspiracy.
    When we crave calm, he feeds us chaos.
    When we seek clarity, he shines the light on himself.
    When we look for selflessness, he looks for praise.
    When we need eloquence, he offers verbal diarrhea and spelling errors.
    When we deserve truthful fine print, he manufactures bold type fake headlines.”
    The opposite of the Prayer of St Francis.
    “Lord make me an instrument of your peace
    Where there is hatred let me sow love
    Where there is injury, pardon
    Where there is doubt, faith
    Where there is despair, hope
    Where there is darkness, light
    And where there is sadness, joy….”

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