The Two-Edged Sword of Criticism and Praise

He who lives by the sword (of praise or criticism) will die by the sword.

People in positions of power and influence need to be careful when claiming credit or placing blame.

For instance, when President Trump claims direct credit for the economy, stock market gains, or a crash-free year in aviation, that’s just silly and irresponsible. His policy direction may appear to have an influence over the US economy and markets, but there are far greater powers at work. Taking credit for a plane crash-free 2017? Seriously? That’s just ridiculous.

The same can be said for legislation. In this realm, President Trump also appears to have influence, but he doesn’t have control over the results, outside of his ability to veto. Even then, his veto can be overturned. He can’t take direct credit for passing tax reforms any more than he should be blamed for failing to pass health care reform. It’s not within his purview of power. He should properly attribute credit or blame to Congress.

What about executive orders? If President Trump should be able to claim credit or accept blame for the success or failure of any policy decision, it should be the ones he enacted on his own. But, even the implementation of executive orders is not completely within his control. Do we have any examples of his influence being stunted in this arena? Yes, we do. Is he to blame? No, there are other (separate) powers at play.

The role of President has been elevated far too high, giving credit and placing blame where it is not deserved in many cases.

In the case of President Trump, it appears he often believes the hype. That alone deserves criticism.

If President Trump wants to claim credit for regulatory reform, let him. He had a direct impact based on guidance he delivered to the department Secretaries. If he wants to take credit for appointing conservative justices, let him. He made the nominations with the help of trusted advisors. However, he must also accept blame if regulatory reform causes harm or the justices he recommended deliver verdicts contrary to the rule of law or Constitution.

It’s a slippery slope. President Trump should tread very carefully.

Both the braggart and accuser quickly look foolish when the tide turns.

That’s true of anyone who’s a never-ending critic or unstoppable fan…in any arena. We all need to pause and give credit where credit is due, but only when it is truly deserved. We also need to take a beat before laying blame to be certain it’s truly deserved. Otherwise, the critic or fan may have to eat their words.

I don’t like LeBron James. I don’t know him personally. I simply don’t care for the arrogance he displays. That doesn’t mean I’m incapable of recognizing his skills. I often compliment him for a good play. He’s a gifted athlete. I simply don’t like his attitude and will never be a fan.

Kyrie Irving is a different story. He’s a phenomenal athlete who also appears to have a great attitude. I’m a fan, and I’m glad he moved to Boston. Between him and Gordon Hayward (even after his horrific injury), now I have a reason to root for Boston.

My opinion is changing toward other players, however.

James Hardin is another exceptional athlete, but I used to be a harsh critic of his never-ending attempts to draw a foul by jumping into his opponents while shooting. It was a behavior rewarded by the refs, so I can’t blame him for taking advantage of it. But, that doesn’t mean I had to like it. League rule changes have been adopted to curtail that type of foul, and although some refs are still stuck in their old ways, the game has changed for the better, and, from what I have seen, James Hardin has changed his behavior. Good for him. I’m no longer a critic.

In contrast, I used to be a fan of Draymond Green’s defensive skills, even though he was often accused of playing dirty. He’s a very talented athlete. There’s no denying his skill. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been named defensive player of the year. But, he’s an incessant whiner and uncontrollably argumentative with the refs. His antics have caused him to be ejected from games due to technical fouls – some warranted, some not. Warranted or not, that type of behavior is unacceptable because it impacts the rest of his team. I’m still a fan of the Warriors as a whole. They’re a phenomenal team. But, my attitude toward Draymond Green is changing.

Who am I, right? Who cares about my opinion? Why do I even care what other people think or say? Why does any of this matter?

If we’re going to present an ideology as right and just, we must be willing and bold enough to recognize the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable and contrary to our former position(s).

Sometimes, the guy we held/hold in contempt deserves praise. Sometimes, the guy we held/hold in high esteem deserves criticism. It’s never all-or-nothing.

Some of the articles I read on the Internet (by people waving the banner of Christianity), along with some of the comments, reveal, defend, and champion unjustified bias. It’s a shame. We should be better.

We should be fluid and honest enough as individuals and as a community of believers to allow our reactions to represent the truth without the risk/fear of being labeled a hypocrite for “appearing” to change direction by offering praise or criticism where it’s due. We also need to be honest enough with ourselves to determine if our inability to be fluid is driven by ideological conviction or pride.

We’re all entitled to our opinions, right or wrong. If/when the tide turns, however, our opinions containing unjustified praise or criticism will be on the record. Will our record of criticism or praise stand the test of time? More to the point, will our record be one of honesty and integrity or one of unjustified bias? Time will tell…

That’s why I post my opinions separate from any others most of the time. Other articles or commentary are entitled to their opinion. They will stand or fall on their own merits.

Like them or hate them, these are my opinions. What say you?

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