The American philosopher Bernard Gert reminds us of two simple facts of human life. They are (1) our vulnerability (We can be hurt.) and (2) our fallibility (We can be wrong.). In time, of course, most of us become well aware of our innate human weaknesses. As a result, we temper our rashness with caution and our certainty with humility. Unlike teenagers that sense no danger and are certain they are smarter than their parents, adults are generally more deliberate in both action and thought. In short, we grow up.
Our departing president, however, never quite grew up. He took an oath to keep us safe and tell us the truth. Of course, he did neither. Instead, we live in fear of a deadly virus that kills thousands of us every day while he subjects us to his bluster and gives fact-checkers occupational security.
By contrast, we now receive a new president whose personal life has taught him of his vulnerability. Decades ago, he lost his wife and daughter to a car accident and more recently a son to cancer. He is acquainted with loss and sorrow. Further, his awareness of fallibility is displayed in his openness to debate and willingness to compromise. He shares his executive powers with one of his chief rivals, and his administration promises to be the most diverse in history. He is us.
So, Dr. Gert may be right about us: Four years ago, we made a big mistake, and it has hurt. But we now say farewell to the Child-in-Chief! May he retire in comfort to his golf game and cheeseburgers while the rest of us do our best to recover our health and our senses. And may we come to see the wisdom in our choice of a new president.
F. Neil Brady, Retired Professor of Management Ethics, Orem