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Honestly, we don't hate the president

Tribune Staff • Oct 4, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Last week, one of our most devoted readers emailed a Letter to the Editor calling us out for what he feels is an inordinate number of political cartoons and “cherry-picked” columns critical of President Donald Trump.

He’s not alone in his opinion. A few days later, a long-time Tribune subscriber called and canceled his subscription because, according to him, it’s clear from our Opinion page that we “hate Trump.”

That’s simply not true.

We do not hate President Trump. In fact, when he was elected to office last November, we were excited to see what positive changes he might make for our great country.

As a community newspaper, we have a responsibility to take a hard look at the actions of our president and call him out when we feel he’s not living up to the expectations of his office.

We live in a dangerous time. President Trump has painted the media as the enemy of the American people. He prefers to disseminate the news when and where he sees fit, all the while decrying the media for printing “fake news.”

We can’t speak for what happens in the media on a national level, but on a local level, right here in the Tri-Cities, we take our task as community watchdogs very seriously.

While we don’t often write about President Trump ourselves — we like to focus our efforts on issues more close to home — our Opinion page does offer a chance for us to take a critical look at what’s happening in Washington.

We took a look back at our political cartoons through the end of September, and found that roughly one-third of the 150-plus cartoons we’ve run in 2017 were in some way critical or poked fun at President Trump and the Republican Party. About a quarter of those cartoons took a critical look at the Democratic Party, while the rest were not politically motivated or poked fun at both political parties at once.

For comparison, we looked at a few of our political cartoons back in 2012, and a similar percentage targeted then-President Barack Obama.

It’s been that way for hundreds of years — political cartoonists take a satirical look at those who hold our nation’s top office.

President Trump has provided those cartoonists with more ammunition than many before him. Need examples? His desire to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; closing the borders and stepping up deportation efforts of illegal aliens; his statements on fake news; his stance on the environment and pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord; his battle to repeal Obamacare and to enact a new health care plan.

These are all topics that have provided fodder for the political cartoonists, and many of those cartoons have made their way onto our Opinion page.

So have reactions to President Trump’s frequent tweets, many of which, quite frankly, vary from inappropriate to alarming.

Regardless of our stance on the NFL players kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem, we don’t agree with President Trump calling those players “sons of bitches” during a speech.

And his calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and going on to say that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” is quite terrifying, especially when North Korean leaders consider Trump’s tweets a declaration of war.

We think back to some of our country’s great presidents: Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Reagan. They led us through some of the most contentious times in our nation’s history.

How would the Cuban Missile Crisis have turned out if President Kennedy had fired off disparaging tweets toward Nikita Khruschev? Would the Cold War have ended had President Reagan taken to Twitter to criticize Mikhail Gorbachev?

We don’t hate President Trump, but we are concerned about the way our president has handled various situations since he’s ascended to the Oval Office, and we feel it’s our job to address those issues.

Regardless, we continue to support our president, and we continue in our hopes that he comes through on his campaign slogan to Make America Great Again.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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