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Early on in my life a solid punch in the nose taught me that it wasn’t a good idea to call other kids nasty names. However, back in my day it seemed like everyone had a nickname, Ant, Sputz, Mud, Mellon, Peanuts, Chub, Beaver, Putz, Fox, Speedy, Shorty, Skip and, for the record, mine was Fudd. I even won my first campaign for senior class president with the slogan “Don’t be a dud, vote for Fudd.”

Eventually I had to assume my real name again but whenever someone hollers out “Hey, Fudd” I know it’s someone who has been a lifelong friend sending me a warm fuzzy. So there are times when calling someone a name isn’t a bad thing, but like the yin and yang of life good is always struggling with bad.

Both my loyal readers know that I’ve taken umbrage to our current president’s lies as well as his insensitive approach to civil discourse. I use the term umbrage because this tempers the rage that’s roiling inside me as our president continues to desensitize us to his outrageous demeaning of those who oppose him.

He’s the typical schoolground bully who’s never really been held accountable for his actions and he has mastered the art of distraction to the point where we the people are lost in a deep fog searching for the truth. The raw truth is that Donald Trump is a great example of what I have struggled to avoid since shortly after being punched the nose.

Whenever a friend defends our president all I can do is say, “His lies bother me most.” I usually get the response, “Yeah, but they all lie.” Well, I don’t know about you, but after spending 22 years in elected office I, along with the vast majority of other politicians I served with, are not liars. So labeling all politicians as liars isn’t close to the truth, rather it’s a typical Trumpian distraction that shades the truth.

Democracy is a messy business that not only involves making the law but living by the rule of the laws our elected representatives impose upon us. Given the tugs and pulls of a free society the only way that we the people can thrive is if we agree where we can, disagree where we have to and do our best to walk away friends.

And you don’t make friends by being disagreeable to others. My experience is disagreeable folks usually find themselves out standing in their field — alone. So yes, I find our president’s name-calling (Pencil Neck, Crooked Hillary, Lying Ted, Pocahontas, etc.) not only demeaning but dangerous in the sense that he is encouraging bullying and he’s leading us into an uncivil culture where we think it’s OK to pummel anyone who disagrees with him. I find this rather frightening and think we all need to stand up to those who want to emulate such behavior because if we don’t decency will be overrun by bullying -- and the gap between the haves and have-nots will widen to the point that there is no middle.

You see the middle balances the tugs and pulls of a free society because the middle tries to understand both sides before they weigh in. It’s not an easy path and like it or not both ends of the spectrum do have their points, but neither end should call for the other’s evisceration because all sides have to get along if we are to remain united as states. There isn’t any question in my mind that our president is not interested in anything but his side, nor is he interested in the trail of nasty debris he’s leaving behind him. And that alone is what I disagree most about him.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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