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Letter to the editor: Long on division, short on dignity

The emperor may have clothes, but he hasn't shown dignity, or much of anything else of value to his country and the world.

Columnist Pete Abler's piece, "Long division," highlights the widening of major divisions between societal and political viewpoints, beginning at least since the Vietnam War.

Abler recounts that, compelled by his own youthful sense of patriotism to enter military service, he had to "run the campus gauntlet of the long-haired, pasty-faced peace freaks."

As a student during that same era, having longer hair, but without a pasty-face and more frat-boy than freak, I clearly remember that week following the Kent State massacre, standing at a campus war protest, facing a gauntlet of National Guardsmen approaching with fixed bayonets. I can still say, honestly, there can coexist divisive but valid viewpoints to things that truly matter.

Fast forward to the present, enter U.S. "president" (quotes intended) Donald Trump, where now, reading morning news headlines is like awakening to a gauntlet of bricks thrown at you. The barrage of disgusting tweets tossed out as diplomacy that promotes division, demolishes dignity and shows low respect for humanity, the bigoted, angry, hateful, name-calling, like some mean-street for juveniles, is being defensively touted by supporters as "modern day presidential."

If, through some miracle, Trump ever comes to grips with taking personal responsibility for his words and embraces moral judgments beyond his self-aggrandizements, that would be an amazing leap. Word meanings, as in art, matter and dignity, forms the palette of a believable presidency.

"There's a narcissistic fraud in the White House ... An angry, hollow, vindictive man is running the country ... For all his ranting about fake news and fake media ... the truth is, he is the fake president." (Barbra Streisand, singer/songwriter/actress/director/activist, Huffington Post, July 7, 2017).

Steven Olson,