Calvin Coolidge, known by some as “Silent Cal” during his time in the White House, used his autobiography to live up to his nickname. Since he took office…
WASHINGTON (AP) — Calvin Coolidge, known by some as “Silent Cal” during his time in the White House, used his autobiography to live up to his nickname. “The words of a president,” he wrote in 1929 after leaving office, “have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately.”
The world is very different now. Communication is instantaneous. Americans — even a president — are often measured by the quantity and volume of what is now called their “content.” Since he took office in 2017 (and for many years before that), Donald Trump has been a different kind of president when it comes to communication — a more-is-better kind of guy.
You can adore Trump or despise him. But from late-night tweet storms to oft-repeated untruths to provocative statements about everything from the kneeling of pro football players to canned beans to buying Greenland, there’s one thing it has been almost impossible to do with the president of the United States these past four years: ignore him.
“No one can get away from it. It’s never happened before. I’ve always cared about the president, but it’s never been like this,” says Syd Straw, an entertainer and artist who lives in the Vermont woods. “Even people who like him feel that way, I think.”
Now, as another administration prepares to take the reins of American power, have the Trump years forever changed the place that the presidency occupies in American life and Americans’ lives? Has Calvin Coolidge’s statement become woefully outdated in the era of the ever-present presidency, or is it an idea whose time has returned, as voiced by a sign on the fence at Lafayette Square near the White House last week: “Enough!”
The presidency was devised as a combination of two things — a big-time leader and a regular person from our ranks. And the American people have always wanted to interact with it, or at least feel they are. In the 1800s, they actually were: Andrew Jackson’s inauguration featured an open house in which people wandered…
Associated Press, TED ANTHONY
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