Frenier: Fallen soldier presidential flap reveals our divided culture

By Carol Frenier

The latest media outburst against President Donald Trump was as classic an example of cultural misunderstanding as you are likely to find. You could sense it from the first headline. The president’s military perspective that a fallen soldier represents the finest kind of bravery — the capacity to selflessly go into danger knowing full well what the cost might be — was misread by the widow and also a Florida congresswoman as a callous and disrespectful statement about the fallen that “he knew what he was getting himself into.”

Wikimedia CommonsYears ago I read a book that detailed the growing cultural gap between the military and American civilians. There is much that is good about a volunteer military, but this is not one of them. Large segments of American youth, particularly the offspring of the elite, have no experience of military life or the values that motivate soldiers to give selfless service. Several decades ago, this misunderstanding between President Trump and the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. La David Johnson would simply not have been possible. Today it almost feels as if we are living in two countries. This is not the result of Trump’s election but more likely the reason for it.

The fact that such a misunderstanding could occur is disturbing enough, but that wasn’t all that happened last week. The willingness of so many to believe that any president would be so mean-spirited that he or she would deliberately be disrespectful to a fallen soldier’s widow is mindboggling. It requires a toxic level of hate in the human heart. Booker T. Washington certainly understood what it felt like to be aggrieved. Yet he was able to write this about his own spiritual discipline: “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”

Retired Gen. John Kelly’s Oct. 19 statement defending the president reflected Washington’s view in its content and tone. It touched me deeply. It was heartfelt and authentic, plus it gave me a sense of the military experience that only a veteran could do. This is the kind of leadership we need on both sides of the aisle, if we are to heal our country’s self-inflicted wounds.

Carol Frenier is a resident of Chelsea, Vermont.

12 thoughts on “Frenier: Fallen soldier presidential flap reveals our divided culture

  1. “Cultural misunderstanding” Hardly. The left knows that there was no malice in Trump’s phone call. They know that. But they find this a rallying point. Something to scream racism or whatever their ‘scream du jour’ is. The left is driven by hate; nothing else. And they don’t care who they hurt or destroy in their attempts to discredit the President. They have no values, no moral compass. They are shameful.

  2. “Cultural misunderstanding” Hardly. The left knows that there was no malice in Trump’s phone call. They know that. But they find this a rallying point. Something to scream racism or whatever their ‘scream du jour’ is. The left is driven by hate; nothing else. And they don’t care who they hurt or destroy in their attempts to discredit the President. They have no values, no moral compass. They are shameful.

  3. Excellent letter. Thank you for your clear understanding and expression. The one line sort of sums it up for me, “This is not the result of Trump’s election but more likely the reason for it.” How true, and well stated.

  4. The fact that anyone listens to this clown Wilson is amazing. There are people that hate Trump so much that anything he says will be twisted to reflect their own hatefulness. If Ms Wilson did not dress like a circus performer she might be taken for a professional

  5. It all started with that fruit cake Congress lady Wilson. Just one look at her tells the whole story. She’s a real hustler. Sad that she has become a distraction and the widow bought her act.

  6. I very seriously doubt that president trump was disrespectful during the phone call. It seems that many people dislike him and it is probably just because he isn’t a democrat.
    It is really sad that this country has reached this point.

  7. As a legal immigrant to this great country, I cannot believe such bad behavior is now the norm. How are we to raise our children to be good, loving citizens when the example of their parents are the undoing of this country? It saddens me deeply that we are teaching children to hate and say it is okay………….

  8. I have been to way to many funerals for police officers, military personal and federal officers.I have looked at widows and children who have lost a loved one. I only had to tell one wife/mother that their loved one was gone. If anyone thinks that speaking to a wife, husband or family member is a simple matter, they are wrong.

    Joseph t Phelan
    Retired FBI NYC

  9. I’ve listened to it, Trump was right on key and the Democrat mean spirit is alive and well unfortunately. If I were a Democrat, I would be embarrassed for the whole party! The haters need to come to grips that Hilary lost, Trump won, and that is the end of it. I’m disgusted by the “RESIST” stickers on the bumpers of a few cars, shame on you! If you are a Democrat and you are not embarrassed by the Jackson-types, you are part of the American problem!

  10. President Trump cannot even give his condolences without the left turning it into a circus
    act, the head clown was Rep.Frederica Wilson !!

    The widow was hurt and distraught and nothing the President could have said would have
    changed her feelings !!.

    Some just don’t understand serving in the military for your country and doing what he or she
    knew what they were getting into , that statement was the truth as hard as it was to hear.

    Sgt.Johnson just wasn’t in the military, he was a ( Green Beret ) U.S. Army Special Forces,
    he knew that any mission could be he last, those that never served will never understand !!

    Now all the liberal snowflakes want to know why we were over there. The problem is “, they
    can’t handle the Truth” ………………………….

  11. “The willingness of so many to believe that any president would be so mean-spirited that he or she would deliberately be disrespectful to a fallen soldier’s widow is mindboggling. It requires a toxic level of hate in the human heart.” Yes, that is what it requires. Our schools have taught it to our young. Sad.

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