Why does the fandom prefer to depict Naruto and Hashirama as human reincarnations of rays of sunshine incapable of exercising cruelty as a shinobi and a Hokage?
To outsiders, they are mercenaries, who — in literal definition — are willing to make unethical decisions for money. This was even addressed in the wave mission arc (and was mysteriously never talked about again). That arc had a greedy man who was willing to spend money to maim the people of Wave rather than letting them build a bridge that he isn't funding, because it will add a negative figure to his profits. A parallel to the hypocrisy of kage and the shinobi village system. Have we forgotten what Konoha did when their economy took a hit after the attack by Suna and Oto? They started assigning chunnin, who generally did B rank missions, to more missions (and possible more B and A ranks mission). Shikamaru, a freshly promoted chunin, had to lead a mission against the Sound Four who were no run-of-the-mill enemies.
I'm getting out of topic but what I'm trying to say is that while we were told that Konoha was mourning its leader's death and casualties (rightfully so), Konoha was also doubling down on the violence they commit for money.
This whole shitshow doesn't suddenly change from death and misery to sunshine and rainbows when Naruto becomes the Hokage. It didn't look any better when Hashirama was the Hokage. In fact, Hashirama is the reason why this shitshow even exists. He refused to take Madara's criticism into consideration and even declared that he will remove anyone — even his own flesh and blood — who chooses to threaten the village.
The only way one can get on top of that pyramid scheme is either by force (as suggested by Sasuke) or by recognition (like how Naruto aimed to do and succeeded). But, both choices involves some forms of shedding of one's morals because a position like the kage requires crooked career choices. Hashirama centralized shinobi force and weaponized the tailed beasts, offering them to the other nations like candies. Tobirama segregated the Uchiha clan and standardized the school that normalised and increased the number of child soldiers, created a new rank of ninja who had their skills further exploited on a inhuman level, introduced the chunin exam which is just a children version of gladiators, etc. Hiruzen allowed the kidnapping and experimentation of children to kickstart Root , ordered the Uchiha massacre. Minato killed a thousand men before lunchtime. You get my point. Their resume was written in blood and so is Naruto's.