Friday, March 23, 2018

Time To Stop Fiddling While It Burns

My upcoming newspaper column:
“It’s a great day for democracy,” proclaimed Donald Trump after pressuring Jeff Sessions to fire Deputy FBI Director McCabe (who, coincidentally, had authorized an FBI investigation into Sessions’ possible perjury). Autocracy, yes. Authoritarianism, sure. But democracy died a little more that day, its agonal moan inaudible only to people sharing Trump’s disdain for constitutional governance and the institutions that protect it. 
Knowing of his lying, cheating, business failures, threats, lawsuits, vulgarity, and aggressive ignorance, millions voted for him anyway. That millions of those see his current behavior and still rationalize support is incomprehensible. Surely the remarkable last two weeks have been dispositive even for the most calcified of the Foxified. Right?  
In time, we’ll see the DOJ report, and perhaps we’ll be able to judge its significance. For now, I’m with McCabe. (He is, after all, like Comey, Mueller, and Rosenstein, a Republican.) Either way, Trump’s vainglorious, lie-filled gloating afterward confirms the firing wasn’t about the report, but about discrediting the investigations.  
And what of “the best people” Trump promised? We’ve just learned Ben “Gifted Hands” Carson, whose home features a portrait of himself with Jesus, lied about his expensive office furniture. Plenty of Trump’s other cabinet officers have been lying and/or misusing our tax dollars, too; but Ben drips with smug self-righteousness. Also disclosed: his information officer, along with another HUD liar, appears to have a side-business scamming Christians
Then there was the coincident Betsy Devos interview, in which she confirmed her qualification for being Secretary of Education consists of having donated $200 million to Republicans.  
Within the same span, Trump’s trusted “body man” was escorted out of the White House so fast he could take nothing with him, on charges of “serious financial crimes.” Before the taint was dry, Trump hired him as senior reelection campaign adviser. From criminal expulsion to inner Trumpworld. Thoughts, “values” voters?  
After announcing plans to meet with North Korea’s Kim, Trump bragged about lying to Canada’s Trudeau. Flat made stuff up, he preened. Presented with truth, he proudly pronounced it pabulum, which explains his devotion from Trumpists. But what must Kim think of negotiating nukes with a man who boasts of lying to national leaders, and of not knowing what he’s talking about? Spider. Fly.  
Speaking of which, we were shown Trump State TV’s reactions to his plans, juxtaposed with their fair and balanced reactions when Obama said he’d do the same. Hypocrisy? Business model. If Trump manages meaningful, verifiable agreements with NoKo, I’ll praise him. Until then, though, count me among those who, seeing with whom he surrounds himself, find it unlikely. But he’s sending Ivanka, so... 
Meanwhile, it’s just been revealed her husband, trusted adviser Jared, repeatedly falsified paperwork with NYC housing authority when he bought buildings, greasing millions in profit. America’s freshest face.  
In the same timespan came the firing of Tillerson, after he agreed Russia was behind the London poisoning. After that, Russian state TV announced “Trump is still ours.” And after that, Trump obsequiously congratulated their murderous dictator for winning a fake election. Lap, meet dog.  
Within the past two weeks, we also learned what a sham the oxymoronic “House Intelligence” Committee investigation was: if you don’t look, you don’t find. Another: if you deny a relationship with a porn star but threaten suing for $20 million for breaking an agreement not to talk about it, does a bear? More: the RNC spent north of $120K at Trump properties in February alone. And: rule-of-law-loving Pennsylvania Republicans moved to impeach judges who rejected unconstitutional redistricting.  
Topping it off, if you’re aware of Cambridge Analytica and aren’t concerned, you’re their victim whether you recognize it or not. 
It’s been a boggling, enlightening two weeks. Those who insist it’s fake news are beyond salvation; but despite representing a minority of voters, people just like them are in charge. Not knowing what else to do, I give money, near and far. All liberals who can, and all self-respecting conservatives ought to, also. Kim Schrier. Randy Bryce. Conor Lamb. Beto O’Rourke. Find others. Trumpism threatens our democracy, demanding that truly patriotic Republicans stand up to him by crossing party lines. 
Preserving democracy requires advocating for those who value it, and acting against those who don’t. Unsurprisingly, the latter are largely Trumpists. Choose America over party, conservatives, in this critical, defining time. You won’t be alone.
[Image source]


  1. Another good read.

    And so it goes.

  2. Right as rain, upright and still kicking.

    Getting ground down a little, but I suppose it can be a reflection of age.

    And you?

    Noli pati a scelestis opprimi Or Illigitimi noncarborundum.


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