The office used to carry more weight, but recent actions should stain it.
Whether you are or are not a fan of the man, it is no secret that the president has been met with an incredible amount of controversy. So much, however, that many times the American public finds itself dealing with unprecedented scenarios that are forgotten within a week, if not just a few days. The most obvious reason that these moments are discarded from the nation’s conscience so quickly is because many of his transgressions are simply not out of character. Statements that show implicit racism, occasionally even explicit, are not out of the ordinary. Personal attacks and name-calling are commonplace, no matter how ruthless. Because I simultaneously believe that almost nothing he does is acceptable and know that he acts in direct accordance with who he is, I have reached the conclusion that it might be better to just never say his name.
I do not make this suggestion lightly. It is something that I have already experimented with in my own conversation and writing, and it is something in which I believe greatly. My decision is not made out of fear either. This isn’t based on a concept similar to that of Voldemort and the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named moniker. Rather, I have decided to stop saying his name because I think it detracts from how much he is perverting the office of the president. I simply find it more damning to say that the president left the Kurds, our allies, to die. If I were to violate that sentiment with his actual name, I believe that it would take away from the gravity of the situation. Instead of attributing the actions to the man, I attribute them to the office.
As far as we may be from the idea now, the office of the president was once upon a time the most revered position throughout the country. We didn’t expect the president to be a good person, we expected him, unfortunately not her (yet), to be better than a good person. Our presidents were expected to be perfect. Even when they were criticized, we expected them to find a way to handle it with grace. When they made an error, we wished they would either own up to what happened or sell it as the only opportunity, if not even silently hoping they would just make us believe it wasn’t an error at all. We looked up to the president; they were the shining symbol of the greatest nation in all of history and the leader of the free world.
Now, everything has changed. The president caters only to his fan base, not even pretending to be a leader of all Americans. There is no longer the idea that we are all united under one flag: the president has, on multiple occasions, accused political opponents of being outright treasonous. There is only the in-crowd and the out-crowd, and the president is only the president to his in-crowd. That’s why I’ve elected to stop saying, writing, and even thinking of him by his name. I don’t want to take his actions in reference to who he is, I want to see what he does through the lens of all the presidents before him and what the office once was. Is it really that easy to say phrases like “the President of the United States of America once gloated about grabbing women by the p**sy”? God, I hope not.