Although I’ve been tied up with other pursuits the last couple of weeks, ongoing events have caused me to consult my American Heritage Dictionary. It defines “shock” in part as follows:
“[An] unexpected blow … A severe offense to one’s sense of propriety or decency; an outrage.…”
I would suggest that although our institutions are so far holding fast, they are under the greatest internal strain since the civil war. Every day, President Trump assaults our basic foundations purely for his own self-aggrandizement. His enablers support him to protect their own interests. It’s no longer unexpected; the time for outrage is past. I would submit that every citizen has a duty to think critically about where we are going as a country … and what s/he is going to do about it.
Mr. Trump lies chronically – indeed, promiscuously. I assume that even those that support his substantive policies recognize this. Truth – what is – is more important than the substance of any issue. Our republic cannot indefinitely survive breathing the carbon dioxide exhaled by the President.
The President and his allies engage by turns in an unceasing and unwarranted attack on the courts, law enforcement, and the mainstream media. While clearly none are perfect, the rule of law and freedom of speech have supported our way of life over this nation’s history. The President seeks to trample them for his own purposes, with his sycophants shamefully and cowardly abetting him.
Mr. Trump incites racial and religious hate. Using broad strokes to label immigrants and Muslims as our enemies manifests a malevolent disregard of what this country stands for. The vast majority of Americans – including him – are descended from immigrants. The right to freely practice one’s faith is a cornerstone of this Republic. His constant reference to gangs such as M-13 when discussing southern migrants seeks to create an inference of a general criminal invasion that the relative numbers show is absurd. Separating parents and children at the border is inhumane. Making children pawns in a legislative negotiation for his border wall is monstrous. He stokes his followers’ fears and encourages their darker emotions because it helps him, not them.
A transgression that to me is as destructive as those above is the way the President is letting his own supporters down … and they seemingly don’t recognize it. I would offer that the way he manipulates the millions that believe in him is as cruel as his treatment of his adversaries.
- His massive tax cut predominantly benefited big corporations and the rich, at a time when unemployment was already steadily dropping and The Wall Street Journal was reporting the U.S. economy to be in the forefront of worldwide economic growth. Economists unanimously expect the tax cut to aggravate deficits that will in turn more quickly endanger entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This threat won’t much matter to Mr. Trump, his family and friends – they’re rich. It will matter to the great percentage of the President’s supporters who do and will rely on these programs.
- His attempt to protect legacy industries such as coal mining and certain of our manufacturing segments are as if Theodore Roosevelt had attempted to protect horse buggy manufacturers while slapping tariffs on materials Henry Ford needed to build cars. Through his phrases, Mr. Trump assures his financially desperate supporters that it isn’t their fault that their fortunes have deteriorated over the last decades. While a serious physical condition may not be the patient’s fault, there is no return to health by blaming others or administering outdated care plans. He’s lulling them with a pipe dream. Challenges created by automation, globalization, an aging population, etc., etc., aren’t going away. Instead of alerting his followers to their and our nation’s need to focus on the industries, technologies, and opportunities of the future, he’s giving them Leave it to Beaver.
- Perhaps the most remarkable: It is now undisputed that the President dictated the statement that Donald Trump, Jr., initially issued in the summer of 2017 indicating that Trump Campaign officials’ meeting with Russians in the summer of 2016 did not involve a campaign issue. It would have taken no prescience for the President to realize that if the truth came out – which it did, in a matter of days – the false statement would be putting a bull’s eye on his son for an obstruction of justice charge. Who endangers one’s own child?
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan summarized some of the challenges we will be facing in the coming months in a piece she published in May, 2017:
“The question, at bottom, is whether Donald Trump has demonstrated … that he is unfit for the presidency—wholly unsuited in terms of judgment, knowledge, mental capacity, personal stability.”
Although I obviously consider Mr. Trump to have shown his unsuitability in the areas listed by Ms. Noonan, I would offer that he has demonstrated his unsuitability in two areas that matter even more: his apparent lack of moral compass and his selfish disregard for the well-being of the people he has sworn to serve. It’s no longer unexpected; the time for outrage is past. Although I will give the President credit in the future when I think he deserves it, now is the time to devote energy, within the bounds of law, morals, and ethics, to the electoral contests ahead.
It’s time to Make America … America Again …