Here is a paragraph from a movie reviewer by Owen Gieiberman, regarding Tom Hanks’ new movie about Mr. Rogers of Sesame Street.

In “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Hanks isn’t just good — he’s transporting. He takes on Mister Rogers’ legendary mannerisms and owns them, using them as a conduit to Rogers’ disarming inner spirit. He makes you believe in this too-nice-for-words man who is all about believing. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is a soft-hearted fable that works on you in an enchanting way. When the film comes out (at Thanksgiving), there won’t be a dry eye in the megaplexes of America.

This got me thinking about the extreme difference between Donald Trump and Tom Hanks. It quickly became evident to me that the difference between the bad guy and the good guy is courage and intelligence.

Indeed, it occurred to me that very early in life the Donald must have realized that he had neither the smarts nor the courage to play the good guy role so he concentrated on ways to make awfulness work for him. And as we can see he became a freaking genius at awfulness. So much so that it took him all the way to the White House, with, of course, a lot of help from a warped insistence of fate.

Tom Hanks on the other hand exudes confidence and smarts making him one of America’s most beloved actors. He has managed to portray some of the most wide ranging and iconic characters in cinema history — from the everyman hero, Captain Miller in, “Saving Private Ryan,” to the loveable simpleton in, “Forest Gump.”

Then there are Trump’s sad political backers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and greasy Senator Lindsey Graham. These fellows and other Republican leaders demonstrated their lacking in both smarts and courage when they at first lambasted the political outsider, Trump, as a liar and a fraud, until it became apparent that the party rank and file was solidly behind the awful one, and then they did a shape about-face and kowtowed before him.

There are numerous reasons why the nation is divided between Trump supporters and Trump haters. But one huge factor is how people see themselves. If they have low self-esteem, like Trump, they may want to make some sort of virtue at out their lacking. They can in part do this by simply latching on to the king of awfulness as their hero. Hell, he’s no better than me and he’s president of the United States of America for God’s sake. This notion may be a percolating deep within their soul.

As for the rest of us, those who are at least blessed with some semblance of maturity, substance and goodness, we would rather the nation be in the Hands of someone radiating the positive qualities of which Tom Hanks brings to the silver screen — American ideals.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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