Chuck Tatham, a native of Guelph, Ont., is writer/producer of the CBS comedy Superior Donuts.
After the two Vietnams signed a ceasefire in 1973, the only reason the Viet Cong might have abided by the peace accord was the prospect of U.S. forces returning with even bigger attack helicopters blasting even louder Wagner. In reality, this threat did not exist because Watergate hamstrung Richard Nixon and his formerly robust public support was as sparse as the hair on John Mitchell's penitentiary-bound noggin. Emboldened by Tricky Dick's impotence, the North Vietnamese ignored the ceasefire and within two years, they controlled the entire peninsula.
This is of interest today because the United States' increasingly cheeky adversaries might be looking upon beleaguered President Donald Trump the way North Vietnam looked upon then-president Nixon. There are differences – Mr. Trump enjoys more stateside support than did late-stage Mr. Nixon, and Mr. Nixon didn't comb his hair up from the small of his back and pile it on his head – but another significant difference renders Mr. Trump seemingly more disliked than Mr. Nixon. Unlike the scattershot protests that Mr. Nixon had to put up with, today every single Trump hater with Internet access can globally, loudly and incessantly announce their contempt.
Which brings us to a controversial theory: if the U.S. of A's goal is to neutralize Russia/North Korea/impudent troublemakers, some pundits believe that Americans need to stop complaining and start telling the world what they like about Mr. Trump. Once that happens and they present a unified front, it is argued, Russian President Vladimir Putin will pipe down, the gang in Pyongyang will be less adventurous with their intercontinental ballistic mischief, etc., etc.
Now, what to like about Mr. Trump is thorny because it might be difficult to think of a single, blessed thing. So let's think outside the box and consider, for example, that while Mr. Trump has donated only a microscopic percentage of his fortune to charity, there is no record of him saying that only doody heads give to charity. As such, what one could "like" about Mr. Trump, theoretically, is that he has never said charitable giving is the domain of the doody head.
Keeping with this logic, it's easy to find things to like about The Donald. Never has it been reported that he sucker punched a nun. Almost no one has suggested that he twists the heads off puppies. Sexual harassment? Maybe so, maybe lots … but never in Greenland. On a Tuesday. And if sticklers dismiss this as semantic legerdemain, instead of focusing on the present, let's look back in time. By doing so, we realize that "Scowl Owl" (POTUS's Secret Service nickname) is potentially likeable because he had nothing to do with lots of history's big disasters. The Great Fire of London, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Brussels sprouts – you can't hang any of these on Mr. Trump. And while he was of draft age and healthy enough to fight in the debacle that was Vietnam, he somehow avoided serving in the military, so again, he had nothing to do with it, next question.
Despite all this, some critics find it hard to be fond of Mr. Trump because his default attitude appears to be aggression combined with narcissism and pathological megalomania. But for a moment, consider another possible default attitude: maybe he's serious.
Think about it. Couldn't he just be serious? And isn't that the definition of something to like in a president? Put aside his buffoonery on The Apprentice and the creepy beauty pageants and the slipshod, juvenile syntax of his tweets and the fact that he thinks Ramadan is a hotel chain and you'll see that maybe he's not a jokester because being Commander-in-Chief is serious stuff. George Washington didn't put zingers into the Bill of Rights and Abraham Lincoln didn't end slavery with a fart cushion.
For many Americans, Mr. Trump is a dirty, smelly president and they believe it's their duty to broadcast his shortcomings. But as we move forward, and as Mr. Trump endeavours to tackle gun violence, the health-care crisis and social injustice by talking about his golf courses, before besmirching The Oval Orifice (POTUS's White House nickname) every American should remember the words uttered by a wise man: "Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself."