Commentary: A chance

Keith C. Burris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Political News

Donald Trump is not the first president to be hated by a large segment of the American people.

Far from it.

Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and many other presidents were hated by a large swath of the voting public when in office.

Franklin Roosevelt was well and truly hated by a great many, especially prior to World War II. He overcame with charm, and grace and willpower.

And, he didn’t get bogged down.

Ronald Reagan, whose youthful hero was Roosevelt, did the same. He was despised and demeaned by much of the chattering class and certainly all of the left. But he knew his own mind and had great instincts, one of the best of which was to not get enmeshed in petty and personal conflicts.


And, like FDR, he used humor and grace to overcome.

Richard Nixon was deeply reviled by many, many Americans. There was nothing he could do, even on single occasions — detente with Russia; the opening to China — to earn even grudging praise.

He did not overcome the hate. He hated back. And he sunk into a reservoir of personal darkness and paranoia. The Nixon haters said that they were vindicated when Nixon’s presidency and Nixon himself fell apart: This is the guy, we knew he was all along, they said.

But others wondered if the hate had changed him. With fewer defeats and fewer enemies, might he have gotten to be a better man instead of a worse one?


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