Intentionally Unreasonable: Love, bullies, hypocrites and liars

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

– Isaac Asimov

I am the proud father of Emily, Cammy, Zack, grandson Jax, soon-to-be, granddaughter Charlie, and son-in-law Ryan – led by my incredible wife, Katie.

I love my family.

I am an American. As a descendent of Irish immigrants, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities and freedoms that the United States was built upon. I also feel a solemn debt to the millions of Americans, yesterday and today, whose selfless acts and supreme sacrifices make our tomorrow possible.

I love my country.

I am also a Mainer. For almost two decades my family has called Maine our home (my wife was born here) and after previously living in 10 other states, and traveling and working in all 50 at one time or another, I believe we live in the best state in the country.

I love my state.

Finally, I am a Yarmouthian. From the moment my wife and I first visited Yarmouth in 2001, we both knew that we found the ideal community for us to raise our family. With thousands of fond memories collected over the years (Clam Festival, Royal River, community and school sports events, bean “suppahs” and more) – the people and place of Yarmouth are in my heart.

I love my hometown.

To “love” something (or someone) with honor and meaning, one should support and reinforce the word and attendant sentiment with some tangible demonstration. In this regard, my vocal patriotism for country, engagement in statewide policy, and years of active involvement in local town service, codify my beliefs.

And, the love that I feel for my family, exceeds the measure of words, so I won’t try to express it in bits, bytes or ink.

My point: love itself is something magical and worth celebrating.

Despite whatever issues that divide us as neighbors, citizens, co-workers, Mainers and Americans, can we agree unanimously that the pursuit and joy of love is common to all? And, that love might be the most critical element of our humanity – the thing that fuels our better angels and helps to point our moral compass towards goodness and compassion?

The Beatles song, “All You Need is Love,” contains a total of 210 words, with 40 of those words, being “love.”

All you need is love, all you need is love,

All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.

All you need is love, all you need is love,

All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.

While I might not agree with John Lennon and Paul McCartney that “all” you need is love, I do believe that it’s a core ingredient to the human condition.

But, with that Ying of truth is this Yang: things I don’t love.

Bullies. People with power over others using that dominance to demean, hurt or ridicule. Whether on a playground, in a boardroom, or inside a government office, such actions are not demonstrations of strength, but of weakness and insecurity.

Hypocrites. People who export one set of values or standards, often for personal, professional or political currency, while applying and defending another set of rules for themselves.

Liars. These are strange times where the premise of objective reality has lost all meaning. My facts, your opinions, tribal truths, nutty conspiracy theories, political propaganda and proven science are often presented, and frequently accepted – with similar weight and value.

Donald J. Trump is a bully, hypocrite and liar. And, his presidency, wildly reckless and destructive out of the gate, threatens everyone and everything that I care about. And, I’m genuinely scared for the people and places I love.

So I implore the 62 million Americans who voted for Trump to stay engaged and open-minded about what is happening today in America. Please stay knowledgeable.

To the nearly than 336,000 Mainers who voted for Trump, I respect your decision and your right to vote for whatever candidate(s) you wish. But, please stay vigilant and involved regarding the result of that decision as we move forward.

Finally, to the 1,500 of my friends and neighbors in Yarmouth who voted for Trump, you’re still my friends and neighbors. But, let’s all agree that what we share as common values is greater than what may divide us – as we listen to one another with respect and compassion.

For all, let’s never allow for our political partisanship to blindly override our inherent and deeply rooted love for country, community and the best interests of family and friends.

Love. Let’s never lose sight of it. It may be the brightest and truest light ahead in these turbulent times.

Steve Woods is from away, but fully here now, living in Yarmouth, working in Falmouth, traveling the world, and trying his best. His column appears every other week. He can also be heard Saturdays at 11 a.m. on WLOB 1310 AM and 100.5 FM.

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  • jack bauer

    Mr. Woods,
    I am a Mainer who is ‘engaged, open-minded, vigilant and aware.’ My love of country takes a back seat to no man. I am also a reader who had the misfortune of reading your highly offensive words describing the President of the United States in the most derogatory way. And this coming from you who extolls the power of love and respect!
    To the supporters of President Trump (who you disrespectfully call ‘Trump’) you say that you “respect your decision” to vote for him. Yet you also tell us we’re “blind.”
    Mr. Woods, what does it say about a human being who offends, derides and belittles the very same people who he tells to “listen to one another with respect and compassion?”

    • splurker

      Mr. Woods was respectful in his opinion. But yeah, Trump is a bully, and a liar and a narcissist who has contradicted himself on everything and his supporters seem to think thats okay.

      • jack bauer

        You’ve proved what type of name-calling character is drawn to Wood’s vitriol in disguise column. Done here…

        • splurker

          bye! – thanks for sharing..don’t know if I could have taken another comment from you!

    • Edgewise

      To say that Trump is not a liar, bully, and hypocrite would be a lie, to refuse to use these appropriate labels and whitewash him out of unearned ‘respect’ would be a lie by omission.

      Respect is earned, it is not offensive to refuse to show it to someone who refuses to earn it.

      • jack bauer

        You’re right about one thing, Mr. Woods has earned no respect.

    • truther

      Grow up. Trump has already been a disaster and he’s only been president for eleven days. He obsesses over crowd sizes, angrily berates anyone who disagrees with him, and promulgates policies that have caused chaos and confusion. He’s picked fights with the National Park Service and the National Holocaust Museum, for crying out loud!

      There’s nothing hypocritical or offensive about calling Trump out for what he is. If you voted for him then fine, that’s your decision that you’ll have to live down. But it doesn’t somehow immunize you or your fellow Trump voters from criticism, because this power-mad aspiring dictator is wrecking things for all of us.

      • jack bauer

        Go ahead. Add arrogance to the qualities of Mr. Woods’ admirers. I guess you’re demonstating the type of “respect and compassion” for other’s views he was advocating.
        Should have known…

        • truther

          I’m sorry you feel that way. You seem to have an exceptionally large chip on your shoulder, and an inability to see the difference between informed criticism and baseless personal attack.

    • Stevoe

      JB – Please go back and reread my column. Now take a moment to reflect. Okay?

      No where did I direct “offensive words” to the President (our President.) My only direct reference was directed to the person, not the office; “Donald J. Trump is a bully, hypocrite and liar.”

      There have been thousands of articles, stories, and television reports – with millions of words utilized that provide clear, compelling and irrefutable evidence that DJT IS a serial bully, hypocrite and liar. I was not insulting our President or offering a subjective judgement – I was describing a fact pattern supported by HIS own books and interviews.

      Trump himself has owned and celebrated those designated characteristics during his business career and during his Presidential campaign.

      He didn’t get elected based upon his thoughtful campaign platforms – they didn’t exist. He didn’t get elected because of his long established history of sacrifice for the U.S. – there was none. He didn’t get elected because of the glorious academic record of Trump University, his four bankruptcies, or hundreds of legal conflicts. He didn’t get elected as the “family values” candidate with his marital history and actively promoted misogyny.

      No, Donald J. Trump, was elected President because he catered to rabid fears and vulnerabilities of a shattered electorate – desperate to believe that Trump the salesman could make their lives “Great Again.” And, Trump exploited that desperation with every finger-wave, “BELIEVE ME” that he added dramatically to the false promises and impossible hopes of the campaign.

      Can anyone dispute that he actively bullied numerous members of the media, every other candidate – and basically anyone/everyone that has ever disagreed with him? (“Lying Ted, little Marco, fat Rosie O’Donnell”, etc.)

      Can anyone dispute that he lied when he claimed that he had information in support of the lunacy that President Obama was not born in the U.S.? Or, that he would “definitely” release his tax information? Saying that he won the popular vote if not for immense “voter fraud?”

      Can anyone dispute that he was/is a hypocrite in regard to virtually everything (religion, Goldman Sachs, tax avoidance, tax disclosure, buying U.S. products, transparency, etc.)

      The theme of my column was not to attack our President. In fact – I support and respect the office of the President. But, the man, Donald J. Trump, scares me – and clearly scares many other Americans and people all around the world.

      He’s not the CEO of the United States empowered to impose his corporate iron fist – or to insult and cruelly demean his reality television cast-mates. He’s the President – a role that greatly impacts EVERY single person on the planet – and his recklessness, impulsiveness, and punitive hyper-reaction to any disagreement or dissent – puts all of us in DANGER.

      Absent a measure of moral authority (rooted in compassion, empathy, wise & just decision-making) – neither the United States or our President – can effectively assume the mantle of “Leader of the Free World.” To lose that long-held standing, threatens our future and world stability.

      I’m scared. That’s it. My column didn’t “belittle” anyone – it just reflected my truth; I’m scared for my family, friends and neighbors.

      Jack – I respect your right to criticize my column. But, when you wrote, “your highly offensive words…” in reference to my objective writing about Trump seems a bit misplaced and tone-deaf to the truth.

      My hope is that I will see future comments from you showing the same level of outrage against the “highly offensive” comments and acts attributed to DJT. Were you outraged when he attacked 100’s of people, when he bragged about grabbing women by the genitals, or insulted other countries (Mexico) or religions (muslim?)

      Trump the game-show bully or CEO bully was a relatively harmless (still deplorable) persona – but Trump the Leader of The Free World Bully terrifies me. And it should you.

  • Chew H Bird

    While much of what I have read about our new President is disagreeable to me, I need to remind myself that the candidate he ran against has a long history of questionable ethics, morals, and lies. We had two unfortunate choices from our major parties in a year when we needed to have a viable third party candidate (like Ron Paul).

    While there is a plethora of things to dislike about our current political status, we have four years to look forward to and what bothers me as much, (if not more), than President Trump’s actions, are the hateful activities of those working against him.

    I don’t like generalities when dealing with a specific individual, but the amount of hate spewing from the many opponents of President Trump is (to me) taking the low road.

    Our country, whether we like the direction or not, is going to be harmed if the level of debate continues to sink to the bottom of the outhouse.

    • Stevoe

      Chew – Reasonable words, thank you for sharing. Like you, I see little positive value in dealing with or expressing “hate.” And, I have no interest in “working against” Trump.

      But, we may differ in two regards;

      -Dissent. I believe it’s a core patriotic duty to advance dissent in the face of any action taken by our leaders or government that goes against our Constitution and/or our American values. I believe that the current push-back against Trump’s immigration Executive Order meets that standard. (Not “hate” – but, dissent.)

      -Four years. Your suggestion that people’s focus and energy should be directed towards the next presidential election and choice does not (in my opinion) acknowledge the immense and irreversible harm that can (is?) be done through reckless policy and actions now – like today.

      Clearly, we’re going through a turbulent and unsettled period of history – with ample blame to go around. But, the safer path forward for us as a country is to welcome diverse views, opinions and open dissent – NOT to censor or stifle it – because it hurts someones feelings – even (especially) if that someone is POTUS.

      Stated previously, I have no hate towards Trump – just love for the people and places dear to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.