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Bob Franken: It depends on your point of view
Bob Franken.jpg
Bob Franken is an Emmy winning, syndicated columnist. - photo by File photo

Pity the poor reporter in any newsroom who is assigned to cover the latest Gallup Poll release on Americans’ satisfaction with the treatment on women in society. When respondents were asked “how satisfied with treatment of women in society” they were, 46% of female respondents said they were unsatisfied, and 62% of the men said they were pretty satisfied.

Now, this is not a piece on the disparate role of genders as we stumble through the complex “me too” era. My momma didn’t raise no suicidal fool. Besides, it’s clear that when it comes to the results, it depends on your point of view. Instead, I will take on the “ditto heads” of Rush Limbaugh, who are many of the same people who routinely deliver death threats aimed at anyone who dares utter a criticism at any hero of theirs over social media. Why don’t I get worked up about those guys? Well, it’s because chances are they’re small, unimaginative minds conjuring their threats on a computer somewhere. Not that I have anything against small, unimaginative minds. One rode his computer all the way to the presidency.

I speak, of course, of Donald Trump, formerly of Twitter, reduced to grinding his mindless statements on paper now that he’s been kicked off both Twitter and Facebook. But he has the same reach. When Colin Powell died the other day, his admirers (including me) lionized him as a great man, a historical figure. Not Donald Trump: “wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq, and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media.”

Although word is now seeping out that Trump is starting his own social media company and a “Truth Social” app to spread the poison. But for the moment he is a persona non grata in the digital world. “Scandalous,” harrumphed more than one Powell fan. That violates the afterlife etiquette. Not that Trump hasn’t done that kind of thing before. Sen. John McCain comes to mind, and Rep. John Dingell. But I come not to bury Donald Trump, but to praise him (I made that up). We share the same view of postmortem hypocrisy.

When Rush Limbaugh died in February, I wrote: “Limbaugh made a pot of money by preaching to morons. They proudly called themselves ‘ditto heads’ without comprehending that was a derogatory term.” The ditto heads, aka the Trump base, went bananas. “Franken has hit a new low!” First of all, they are probably confusing me with Al Franken. Secondly, I hit new lows every time I say or write something. So, let’s repeat: It depends on your point of view. Donald Trump is motivated, in part, by revenge, second only to his desperate desire to get attention. In fact, he’s almost slavishly devoted to his combination of both. To Colin Powell, Trump was a buffoon, “a national disgrace and an international pariah.” They were not a natural fit, to put it mildly. Powell was class; Trump is crass. But there are millions upon millions of Americans out there who view Trump as a man of the people because he doesn’t have class, not in spite of it. These are the same people who embraced the word “deplorable” when Hillary Clinton tried to smear them with it.

So, it depends on your point of view, but Colin Powell showed that he, like so many citizens, could bridge the gap between outstanding American and regular guy or woman, who personified progress and being properly humble.

Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.

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