Discourse ends at one-word summations of president

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Although there’s no proof that it happened, it appears likely that, on at least one occasion, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to President Trump as a “moron.” Is this newsworthy? Does it really matter?

The answer to both questions might be a resounding “yes.” First, a word about “moron.” Very few people in power would like to be caught using it. It is an outdated form of insult and is rarely useful, except, perhaps, in some standup comedy routines.

Now a word about using “moron” with regard to President Trump — or any president. Again, it really isn’t a useful thing to do. Nor is it useful to call any president a “genius,” a “crazy person,” a “creep,” or a “saint.” When we find ourselves summing up a president — any president — with a single word or phrase, we should stop ourselves, because is this the point where productive discourse has ended. That being said, if it is true that Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron,” it probably shows us that he has a deep frustration with Trump, a man who seems to be very hard to work for. If Secretary Tillerson hates working for his boss but feels that he owes it to the country to “soldier on,” then we ought to salute him for doing so. The more people in Trump’s cabinet who are careful, measured, and slow to anger, the better off we all are. Thank you for your service, Rex, but please keep the insults private.

Michael Fleck