As 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.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Friday, January 27, 2017
|Albert Einstein...photo by Wikimedia|
To me, ideas like that are the reason Albert Einstein was such a genius--that and so much more--of course. If he lived today, folks would simply say 'he gets it.' Just because he lived two centuries ago, doesn't mean we can't still glean wisdom from him.
Since the election of Donald Trump as our 45th President, there seems to be a wider than ever chasm within our country. There are folks who voted for him, that are completely confused as to why some of the rest of us are being so critical.
"Give the man a chance," they say. "Wait and see what he does."
I have been following politics for decades. I watched every minute of the inauguration. I watched nearly every debate. I follow the news from a variety of sources, both print, local, and cable. I was even paid to write it a few years back. What is more important though, is that I've participated in the democratic process, both as an activist and a journalist. I've watched how things work. I'd like to think I understand the process.
I'm pretty active politically on social media sites, where I've met with a wide variety of views. Some are similar to my own, while others are diametrically opposed. This includes a wide range from friendly banter, humor, to disagreement and downright rudeness.
For those who have been really critical, my observation has shown that so many of the most vocal are the first ones to say how much they despise politics. They do not obsess over the coverage of political events. They may catch the evening news or even a cable network. Or, they participate in water cooler discussions at work. Or their talk about current events with friends over a beer on the weekend. Politics is really everywhere, like it or not.
Sometimes, people are just too busy with their lives to pay close attention. But that limited involvement does not provide a real understanding of this ever-more complicated subject.
Watching what has gone on in social media is a lesson in misunderstanding. The name-calling is merely a ruse for "I don't know what I'm talking about." It was especially heinous during the Obama years.
Calling Barack Obama Obummer or Hillary Clinton Killary was simply a sign of ignorance, pettiness, and frankly, immaturity that belies credibility that doesn't even measure up to misunderstanding.
To quote our recent Nobel Prize Winner Bob Dylan, “Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don't mean.”
In the case of Donald Trump, this is paramount. He says something one minute and contradicts it the next--literally. There is no way to know that without following all that he says. Trump is great at giving lip service, telling people what they want to hear, but he has nothing behind it. Remember when he was pro-choice. Now he orders his Vice President to attend a pro-life rally. No one knows where he really stands on the issue.
While it sounds good to cut regulations, what that actually means is business will prevail over property rights, healthy food choices, clean air and water, to name a few. Making money will be the only thing that matters. Imagine doing away with the regulations that have cleaned up rivers and streams where raw sewage used to be dumped. Regulations protect endangered species, keep from building in flood zones, guard against too many chemicals applied to our food, protects our children from harm, etc. Doing away with regulations is dangerous. Sometimes the price is just too high, even at a cost savings. Trump doesn't get that. Business is all he knows and all he wants to deal with. There is more to governing than a bottom line.
Politics requires study. It just isn't enough to hear news filtered through someone else.
So don't be so hard on those of us that have real concerns about the operations of this president. He has been in office just one week and has already burnt too many bridges.
The greatest example may be his insistence that Mexico pay for a wall Trump wants. He has talked smack about building a wall on the southern border with no thought as to how his words are received by Mexico, one of our best trading partners and closest global neighbors.
Donald Trump is so arrogant and so hell bent to make money off everything he can, in violation of the oath he took to uphold the Constitution, that I wouldn't be surprised if he had plans to build his wall and then establish an aviation flight school on either side of the border. That way, he could get a little piece of the action from all those rich drug dealers and criminals he claims are coming here.
Seriously though, Trump wants Mexico to pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexican President Enrico Peńa Nieto said no and is offended at Trump's insinuations, not to mention the words he used about Mexico sending us its rapists and murderers. Just this week, Nieto canceled a trip he had planned to the U.S. Trump is angry that Nieto won't agree, so he is looking at other ways to get the job done. He doesn't seem to care about how much it will harm the people he works for--us! He is talking about imposing a tax on imports.
Vengeance has no place in governing, yet Trump has exhibited several instances of his need to get even with people who are critical of him, much like he did with Hillary Clinton, who once was an invited guest at his wedding.
In addition to angering one of our best trading partners, taxing goods in Mexico will include higher priced fruits and vegetables and other imported goods. How is this beneficial to anyone?
There have been so many things in the last seven days that are offensive and downright dangerous, like Trump's claim that when we pulled out of Iraq, we should have taken the oil. First of all, that would be a violation of the Geneva Convention. Furthermore, how does Trump's off-handed remark potentially harm our soldiers stationed in Iraq--soldiers charged with peace-keeping duties? I certainly hope soldiers aren't killed because of Trump's bravado.
We all have a long way to go to understand how our government operates. It will be more difficult in time, as Trump plans to silence the media that disagrees with him. This, to me, is the most dangerous thing of all. Without a free press, we might as well be Nazi Germany.
Don't ever stop asking questions. Don't ever stop trying to understand. But if you do, please don't complain about those of us who do.