Thank goodness President Donald Trump has made saying what's "obvious" now en vogue.
That's what he said he was doing, loud and proud, Wednesday when he bulldozed years upon years of American and international policy and officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Arab and European leaders strongly appealed to the president ahead of time not to do so, forecasting anti-American protests and violence. But, as everyone knows, the old approach hasn't brought peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Why not just flip a li'l ol' switch and try something different?
Trump also personally gave his nod to the concept of a "two-state solution" for Israel and the Palestinians when both sides agree.
To quote an early Associated Press account of the announcement:
"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," he said in a White House address, calling it "overdue" and in the best interests of the United States. He said recognition acknowledged the "obvious" that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality," he said.
Of course Jerusalem is Israel's capital. It's also the capital city for the Palestinians. Um ... isn't that the whole between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place that the Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting about for umpteen years?
I guess Trump doesn't realize that one person's declaration isn't going to solve the Mideast's conflicts. But it can make things worse.
Perhaps he didn't intend it to be so, but I'm just relieved that everyone can now state what's "obvious" in life without thought for ripple effects, and that "recognition of reality" will now be the "in" thing to do.
So if one of my co-workers walks up to me today and points and says, "You're fat," I won't take offense -- not me! After all, it's "obvious." It's "recognition of reality." I'll just smile and say, "Good for you! Another important Trump lesson learned!"
There won't be consequences for anyone who just "tells it like it is" now. Whew! We're all about piping up and saying aloud to the world what's "obvious."
Hasn't that been cited as part of Trump's appeal? "He tells it like it is"?
No longer will a man have to say something different than what he's thinking if his wife asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?" I can see all the obviousness breaking out now.
"Yes, it does," a loyal Trump follower can answer. And certainly, his wife will answer, "Thank you, Honey! I appreciate you recognizing reality!"
When your mother-in-law cooks a manicotti you could anchor a boat with (that phrase courtesy of "The Golden Girls"), pipe right up: "This stuff settles like a rock in my stomach!" Surely she'll smile demurely. She knows you're just expressing reality.
Expect good things to happen -- what could go wrong? -- when you express the "obvious" to your boss that you're underpaid. "This is just recognition of reality," you can say with confidence, "nothing more or less." Surely a generous raise will follow.
The entire spate of sexual harassment brouhaha will disappear. "You have nice breasts," a senator will be able to tell his administrative assistant. "Yes, that's obvious," she'll no doubt reply. "Thank you for acknowledging reality."
The fact is that there are reasons that normal, mature human beings don't speak aloud many things that are "obvious" or just "recognition of reality." Top among these reasons are things called "consequences."
Let me acknowledge something else that may be "obvious" in this day and age, the era of Trump, and the geographic and philosophic area in which we live: 49 percent of me did not want to write this column.
Never before have I worried about expressing my opinion. I count on our readers who disagree with me to understand several things: They can write letters to the editor to express their own views; my personal views don't translate to how we cover news in the paper; my opinion is only one view out of many we offer on the Opinions page; and we're all mature enough to disagree yet discuss our disagreements like adults.
But the era of Trump is different. Many of his supporters and detractors alike are absolutely rabid about their views. Journalists are one of his favorite targets. When a big box retailer sells a shirt that says: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required," there is something wrong in this country.
Some folks think that what my column says must dictate how I edit the newspaper. Not so. First of all, I'm not the only one who makes decisions here. Second, I keep my opinion and my news judgment separate.
Can't be done, you say? Let me offer a crude example. When your gastrointestinal system requires it, you probably pass gas aloud in the confines of your own home. Perhaps loudly. Would you do this in a five-star restaurant? Of course not.
My dedication to covering news objectively and fairly is not diminished by the fact that I have my own opinion about things. But my views belong on the Opinions page, not elsewhere. I am staunchly dedicated to the separation of the two.
Besides, I don't even belch aloud in public, let alone anything else. I separate what's appropriate around other people versus what's OK at home. And you know that you behave differently around your buddies and pals when you're out having fun, for example, than you do in front of your boss, or in church, or spending time with your mother. Not a tough thing to do.
Speaking of things that aren't difficult, I do want to say that it's not hard for me at all to acknowledge why so many people found/find Trump appealing. Just because I disagree doesn't mean I don't understand, and I most certainly support everyone's right to their opinion. Trump is not politically correct, what many say is a refreshing change from the past. I'm simply saying that there's balance somewhere between the two extremes.
Finally, I believe that newspaper readers are mature adults who can handle differences of opinion while also expressing their own. I always read views expressed on our Opinions page -- especially those with which I disagree. That's how I learn. And if I decide I'm wrong and change my stance, that's called personal growth.
So, to our majority Trump-supporting audience, I have expressed my opinion honestly. And I respect yours. I hope others on both sides of the pro- and anti-Trump feel free to do the same. We offer the Opinions page just for that.
Now I've said what's "obvious"; just a "recognition of reality." Your turn.