Thursday, May 7, 2020

Better heads must prevail

American Flag, Textured, Rough, HarshAs we prepare to elect new leaders in this country there better be big changes ahead; safeguards must be put in place to guard our democracy against Trumpism or anything resembling it. We must not ever let this happen again.

Admittedly, I am not completely comfortable with one political party controlling all three branches of government. I believe in checks and balances. But in this case, at this time, this is not so much about electing Democrats as it is about ousting the tools of Donald J. Trump. If that happens to be electing Democrats for President, the Senate, and House, so be it.

Voting for party over people is simply wrong-headed. Party politics is like a cheerleading squad. They make the noise and entertain the crowd, but it is the actual elected leaders who take to the grid and score the points. They are supposed to serve the country, not their friends and family. Once an election is over, it is time to govern. Governing covers ALL the people of the country, not just the cheerleaders. Dissent is a part of the process. Truth must be the cornerstone that arises from all points of view. And it must be transparent because good governance is when those in power do the people’s business; it does not do its own business. Policy must be public, not personal.

Because these things are obvious and evident, I am at a loss as to why Donald J. Trump has not been stopped.

The time I thought Trump had gone too far was in December 2018 during a summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland. We all watched in horror as he fawned over Russian President Vladimir Putin in plain sight, dismissing Putin’s own admission that he favored Trump in the 2016 election over Hillary Clinton. Despite Clinton receiving nearly three million more votes than Trump, he won the election, even using a foreign government to help him cheat his way into the White House as evidenced by the Mueller Report.

Trump should have been stopped. Why wasn’t he?

This strategic error by Democrats and Republicans with a conscience, if there are any left, has resulted in this ineffectual out-of-control man simply takes whatever he wants and does whatever he pleases. When he doesn’t get his way, he is like a three-year old having a tantrum when in a grocery store when Mom refuses to give him candy.

Why do we look the other way when he maligns good, decent, hard-working people who simply disagree with him, people who have devoted their career to public service, or who have earned medals for their honor or bravery?

Why do we let him steals tax dollars from the military for his pet project, building a wall to satisfy his own white nationalist agenda?

How can look away when he touts his desire to stop mass-shootings, but does nothing except cow-tow to the NRA and his gun-toting pals despite the harm it does to the country or innocent people?

Why do we put up with the thousands of lies he tells, abuses the power of the office of the Presidency for his own gain, and when he refuses to divulge his tax returns even though he said he would? So much for transparency.

Why do we ignore it when he sacrifices our country to play dealmaker with murderous dictators, resulting in the tortured death of an American citizen journalist, or when rioters kill an innocent woman, or when families are separated from their children who are put into cages and left to die?

Why is he allowed to get away with perhaps the most egregious deed, his response to the ongoing Corona Virus Pandemic? Trump’s inept leadership has contributed to the death of more than 70,000 Americans, as of this writing.

In general, he has pillaged our government, using every means to profit from his position and enrich his family business; he has castigated anyone who wouldn’t boost his fragile and pathetic ego; he’s used his position to destroy lives and careers of dedicated government workers because they dared disagree with him. Men, women, and children have suffered needlessly under his watch as he implemented policies, not for the benefit of the public but for himself and his friends. On second thought, he has no friends, only accomplices. Many of them are just like him. Ironically, he uses them at the same time they are using him. The rest of us are just pawns in their game. That is just not right!

To safeguard our democracy, we must ensure that this will never happen again. We must elect leaders who will stand up to this kind of incompetence, arrogance, and malfeasance.

As a journalist years ago, I remember covering local village meetings. The prevailing attitude was often times, one of secrecy. Elected officials didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing. It was my job to inform the public. I was often at odds with them as I stood up for the public’s right to know. That is what journalists do.

With some elected officials, it is almost as if the public is a nuisance, in the way. To counter, they implement rules to limit public testimony or hold closed-door meetings, or whatever they can to limit public input and public criticism. They wanted to do their business in secret, giving no credence to the fact that it was not their business; it was the public’s business. Often times, they were simply unaware, ignorant of what they could and could not do. Sometimes they were merely leery of a negative reaction by the electorate. Everyone likes to be liked. But in some cases, their motives were more nefarious.

Just reading about their own actions in the paper was enough to cause them to rethink an issue or when enough readers learn and react, individual members of the public can put enough pressure their leaders to get them to back down.

That was just a small town, and not unlike small towns everywhere. But when such behavior occurs on a national scale, the consequences are much more dire. That is what is happening now, in the Trump Administration. Trump has an agenda, to reign supreme with absolutely no constraints. He doesn’t think he needs anyone to tell him what to do because after all, he believes he knows it all; he believes he is a stable genius, whatever that is. He believes in his gut instincts. Never mind the fact that he is just a spoiled little rich kid who doesn’t know what it is like to work for a living. He was a bully all his life and knows nothing beyond getting what he wants any way he can.

What might be more dangerous however, are his enablers—the Senators, House members, and acting cabinet members who he’s systematically put in place and even the judges he has appointed that owe their fortunes to him. Coincidentally or not, they all just happen to be members of the Republican Party.

So this is why Democrats must be elected this year. It is not so much to implement Democratic policies as it is to break up the ‘Good Ole Boys Club,’ which is what this government, has become.

In small towns, the ‘good ole boys’ can be kept in line or even defeated by a few people showing up at a town meeting or a few letters in the local newspaper, but that isn’t the case on such a large, national scale. It has already been tried, evidenced by the women’s march the day after Trump was inaugurated and culminating with his impeachment, where Senators chose their own fate by looking the other way to Trump’s behavior. At another time in our history, Trump’s deeds would have resulted in a rope around his neck or a lineup of guns aimed at his head. Hopefully, we are much more sophisticated now, or are we?

Few could have predicted how this President would have maneuvered and manipulated facts and spread his venom throughout the land, preying on the less educated, those too busy to follow, or the ones who simply let Jesus take the wheel. Combine all those with the filthy rich who have long ago ignored their conscience in favor of their own greed, and you have a good chunk of people who might follow the lead of a lying, cheating, philandering, psychotic ‘leader.’

So, what we have now is a king. Short of losing the election later this year, he will continue to rape and pillage America for his own gain, using and abusing everyone, including the most intelligent, free-thinking, and accomplished individuals who still make up the better part of this country. It is up to us to decipher the difference between real news and fake news. It is up to us to stay informed. It is up to us to spread truth whenever we can. And it is up to us to support a better way, better candidates, better education, and better ideas going forward.

It is up to us to stop this madness.