Email #226: “honor the American people with the truth”?

“The irresponsible rhetoric of our President, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.”

Although that may sound like a criticism of President Trump, the statement was directed at President Obama a year ago today. Donald Trump said it during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016.

While hindsight makes the irony severe, even surreal, it isn’t even the most striking example. Mr. Trump also said: “We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone,” and: “We will be a country of generosity and warmth.” He promised that “there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else.” And perhaps most implausibly: “Millions of Democrats will join our movement because we are going to fix the system so it works for all Americans.”

Obviously none of these statements proved true. Millions of Democrats are not supporting the Trump administration. The President is not honoring the American people with the truth, and under his leadership, our country is not compassionate, considerate, generous, or warm.

In fact, all of these promises have produced opposite results. Democrats are united in resistance against the Trump administration, the President routinely and flagrantly lies on a nearly daily basis on his Twitter account and elsewhere, and our country has become significantly less compassionate, less considerate, less generous, and less warm.

Although he also claimed to stand against violence, saying “Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be,” he has endorsed violence himself—even posting a video of himself assaulting professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon with a CNN logo superimposed over McMahon’s face.

If the President had lived up to the other promises of his acceptance speech, many Democrats would have joined him. Instead his approval ratings continues to erode and his vision of America is further away now than ever. Given the failures of this past year and the continuing failures of you and the GOP to face the mounting challenges created by President Trump, I am frightened to imagine what our country will look like a year from today.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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