Tim Chamberlin | Trump-Lincoln Comparison Laughable

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Jim Horton, in his recent letter (Sept. 15), responds to some arguments made by Gary Horton in his recent column. Jim Horton believes Gary Horton’s arguments are weak and his column is an example of articles that “never cite source material and seem to be made up of thin air.” He goes on to say Abraham Lincoln was “savaged throughout our Civil War and, like Trump, continued on to gain the final goal.” I agree that Lincoln was “savaged” throughout the Civil War, and it is true there were many partisan newspapers at the time, and some were highly critical of Lincoln, but I find his comparison of Trump to Lincoln laughable.

Lincoln was very well read. He could quote passages from the Bible and Shakespeare from memory. In her book “Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin says of Lincoln that “the histories and tragedies of Shakespeare that Lincoln loved most dealt with themes that would resonate to a president in the midst of civil war: political intrigue, the burdens of power; the nature of ambition, the relationship of leaders to those they governed.”

Lincoln would reflect on the characters, their attributes and tragic flaws to guide him in his own decisions. He once wrote an angry letter to a general, but never sent it because, upon reflection, he knew it would cause more harm than good.

Jim Horton goes on to say, “President Trump is a strong man with a personality to match… In our current mess, we have elements that fear strength and seem to wish for our downfall.”

Do rational people fear strength or do they fear someone who is irrational and not reflective? John F. Kennedy showed strength during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but was reflective enough to keep us from disaster with the Russians. George Bush showed strength after 9/11, but he didn’t immediately send angry messages to a country that may or may not have been at fault.

Jim Horton criticizes Gary Horton and others for “articles that never cite source material” but then he, too, doesn’t cite source material. He believes that Gary Horton’s statement that Trump is “hated by a whopping 55 percent of the U.S. population” is a lie, but then doesn’t state where he got the information.

He later states, “Obama was convinced that weakness was the path to success.” Where did he get that information and why does he think that? President Obama showed some weakness, but I find it hard to believe he thought of that as policy. Obama was not perfect, but he was not irrational. He was not a constant name caller. He lied at times, but not to the degree Trump has. As far as we know he was faithful to his wife and a good father to his children. John McCain may not have always agreed with him on policy, but he respected him as a man. That is why he asked Obama to speak at his funeral.

Jim Horton says Trump “seeks the best for the American people.” Where is the evidence for this? What has Trump ever done for anyone but himself, with the exception of his children?

Jim Horton says “every leftist policy is fraught with unintended consequences and the rest of us have to pay the price.” This is true, in part, but there are also consequences from the policy of the right. We had the financial collapse in 2008, where banks got rich and the rest of us paid. This was the price of too much deregulation (this time from President Clinton). There was the invasion of Iraq, as soldiers paid the ultimate price and everyone else paid for a war we shouldn’t have waged.

Now we have a tax cut and deregulation under Trump. As a country, we are happy now, because we seem prosperous until we wake up to the tremendous national debt we have accumulated, and see the extra pollution in the air, streams and lakes due to the non-EPA chairman, and the next bank crisis because of that deregulation.

I don’t agree with these policies, and no, I am not a Democrat. I am an independent. I would respect a president who enacted those policies if they were well read and informed, acted like an adult, did not cheat on his wife (or husband), did not berate his/her own people publicly, and did not attack the press as “fake news” every time it reported on something critical of him.

Lincoln was president at a time when we were divided, but tried to bring us together, “with malice towards none.” Trump exploits divisions. What happened to the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan? They would be appalled at Trump’s behavior, as would, I believe, most Republicans if Trump were a Democrat.

Historian David McCullough quoted President Eisenhower before the 2016 election. Eisenhower said there are four key qualities by which we should measure a leader: character, experience, ability and responsibility. According to McCullough, “Donald Trump fails to qualify on all four counts.” We need a leader, Democrat or Republican, who has most if not all of these qualities. Trump does not, and sorry, Mr. Horton, I have read two biographies on Lincoln and what I have discovered is that Trump is no Lincoln.

Tim Chamberlin


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