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Monday, November 28, 2016

Statesman versus thug

Image result for death of fidel castroPresident Obama couldn’t be more different from his successor, Donald Trump. 

Obama has so much class and grace. As for Trump, well, not so much. 

Their responses to the death of Fidel Castro say so much about who these men, and their supporters by default, really are. 

And the differences between them are abundantly clear.

Obama responded with respect and compassion. His carefully crafted words are just one more example of the quiet dignity we have come to expect from this man and his family. Here is what the president had to say on Castro’s passing:

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
Trump’s response had none of the elegance that President Obama is so well known for. Naturally, Trump started off with a tweet.

After Trump was slammed for his four-word response, he released a statement that was every bit as crass and hateful as you would expect from a bombastic billionaire who built his campaign on fear and bigotry.
Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.
Trump’s statement, when compared to President Obama’s response really does say it all, doesn’t it? 

We are in for a very long four years. Here’s to hoping the 2020 election comes before the four horsemen.

Author April Hamlin has studied political science, psychology, and philosophy. Back in the good old days she was a reporter for “old fashioned” print newspapers. In addition to news and politics, she also blogs about service dogs and disability advocacy. As a black woman with a disability, she is fed up with the right-wingers who would prefer that she and others like her didn’t exist.