Friday, January 20, 2017

What to call him?

Only once in the last eight years have I actually been directly in conversation with someone who made a point of not calling Barack Obama "the president." A fellow American in a foreign country, referred to "the occupant of the White House-" and I'd interjected, "You mean, the President?" He responded, "Oh, that's how it is."

I thought it was juvenile. Obviously you don't like him, but he is in fact legitimately the president.

I'm now stumped.

At some level, is it any different if I come up with some clever moniker for The Orange One?

Well, he did win almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, as opposed to Obama's two decisive wins, not only in the electoral college but in the popular vote as well.

And there is the business about Russian involvement in the election. (Yes, I know we've involved ourselves in not-so-nice ways in other country's elections, and that's generally a bad idea, but having Putin help choose the U.S. president doesn't make the world a better place.)

And there's just the business about him being uniquely unqualified, and tangled up in conflicts of interest like no previous U.S. president.

Of course, there was a sizeable minority of Americans who insisted that Obama was the worst president ever. And of course there was the sizeable number of Republicans who somehow continue to believe that he wasn't even born in the U.S.

"Worst president ever" is an unfounded judgment in my eyes, but it is ultimately subjective. "Birtherism," on the other hand, is just a flat-out denial of reality. Does that make it meaningfully more childish for them to refuse to call Obama president than for me to treat Trump the same way?

I don't know that I can find a really well grounded reason for not referring to him by the office he assumed today, any reason that is fundamentally, objectively more legitimate than people calling "Obummer" the "occupant of the White House." And I don't know that it accomplishes anything to play that same game.

And yet it just plain feels wrong to call him the president.

I'm in a pickle.

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