Always good to separate the person from the institution

Maybe I have learned how to “compartmentalize” the way Bill Clinton demonstrated he was able to do during his eight years as president of the United States, from 1993 to 2001.

President Clinton taught us how he was able to set aside his political opponents’ personal loathing for him — and work with them anyway. He was able to put his own personal loathing for individuals into, um, compartments while doing business on behalf of the public.

So it is that form of compartmentalization that I am able to look at the presidency without much regard for the individual who inhabits the office in the moment. Donald Trump is president of the United States. I recently posted a blog item that mentioned how thrilled I was to see the White House with my wife, niece and nephew a couple of years ago. It didn’t matter to me in the moment that Donald Trump is the person who has taken up residence in that magnificent residence.

Later in the day after we stood outside the White House, we happened to see Marine One, the helicopter carrying the president flying overhead. We were in Georgetown at that moment and the chopper was en route to the White House; I don’t remember where the president had been, but he was returning to “my house” where he lives with his wife and youngest son. And, yes, it was a thrill to see the helicopter, too!

My point here is to reiterate that my respect for the presidency and all the trappings of that office are not diminished by the individual who seemingly seeks to sully it. All he does is shame himself.

The office and the institution of the presidency is too damn big even for Donald J. Trump to do permanent damage.

That “compartmentalization” thing comes in handy. Don’t you think?

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