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Reflections on the end of another bad week of Trump

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Oh how I wish Donald Trump would quit, or die, or get impeached, and just go away and leave us alone.

America and the world are worse off because of him. The level of civic discourse has sunk to an all-time low (well, maybe not as bad as just before the Civil War, but almost), and for that, we have Trump to thank, with his lies, insults, bullying, smears and put-downs of anyone he doesn’t like.

It’s the most awful thing I’ve ever seen in American politics. If you’re young (say, under 40), ask your parents or grandparents if they ever imagined America would have a president this vulgar and coarse. I’m sure the answer will be “No!”

If my lifetime, we’ve had Harry Truman, plain spoken and rough to be sure, but an honorable, moral man. We had Dwight Eisenhower, who seemed likeable and earnest, and who was tempered and matured by war, and then John F. Kennedy, who defined the model for a president: smart, funny, compassionate, well-mannered, his antennae attuned to fairness and idealism. LBJ was a crude sonuvabitch, but he was a Southern gentleman, and besides, he was on the right side of history, with his commitment to civil rights; and he loved the Constitution. Nixon was a thorough bastard—more on that in a moment. Ford was the model of an upright, decent Midwesterner. Carter was said to have a temper, but his profound religiosity softened his edges, and his ex-presidency has been a model. Reagan was possibly the nicest man ever to inhabit the White House. You might have disagreed with many of his policies—I did—but his charm and affability were legendary. George H.W. Bush, to the manor born, had the ingrained good behavior of his class. Clinton, well, he had his sexual appetite, for sure, but he was wonderfully inspiring and normal, the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with; and he possessed the loving idealism of a Baby Boomer. George W. Bush, for all his policy faults (he made the horrible decision to go Religious-Right and then stayed there) was nonetheless an admirable, sweet man with a good, loving heart. Obama defined all that a president should be: idealistic, yet realistic enough to govern, decent, compassionate, wise, a role model for all children.

And now Trump.

We can only hope that History will record him as an aberration. How could America have fallen so low as to be “led” (if that’s the right word) by such an insecure, think-skinned and probably sociopathic thug?  I was reading the remarks of Jeb Bush yesterday: “I can’t imagine having to attack someone to make yourself look strong,” he said, an obvious reference to Trump. That’s putting it mildly. All politicians attack their political enemies; what Trump does isn’t mere political attack, it’s third-grade tongue-sticking, cursing and booger-flinging. All presidents are, I suppose, cynical—they see a lot—but their cynicism, when they are psychologically normal, is balanced by such tender human emotions as love and caring for others. Trump’s cynicism is a naked singularity, balanced by nothing, for Trump’s mind contains nothing except his hatred, greed, resentment and sexual hunger.

I said I’d have more to say about Nixon. Here it is. The comparison between him and Trump is eerie and scary. Both are mentally unstable men who were thoroughly unscrupulous, and believed that the power they held, through the presidency, enabled them to subvert not only norms, but laws. Nixon was caught. I think Trump will be too.

It pains me to say these words, but I really feel that almost everybody knows they’re true, Republican and Democrat alike. And that, you see, is why so many Americans find Trump so disreputable. It’s not that we disagree 100% with his policies. We don’t. No sane person thinks that either party has a lock on political wisdom. No, the reason why a majority of Americans loathe Trump is because he is truly, truly a bad, disgusting human being. Franklin Graham knows that. Mitch McConnell knows that. I suspect that even as corrupt a Republican as Devin Nunes knows that.

I’m an old man by now, and have lived through a lot of American history, but to tell you the truth, I would have been happy without this current disaster. I’m of an age where I’m starting to compile a bucket list of things I want to see before I die. One of them is to witness the utter rejection by a majority of historians of Donald J. Trump. I want History to validate what I know. The long line of honorable presidents, which besides Nixon is pretty much all our presidents, is something we Americans ought to be very proud of. The stain upon this noble record of a Donald Trump is horrible.

And, on a happier note, Go Golden State Warriors! One more victory and we have a third NBA Championship here in Oakland. I look forward to attending another victory parade, which passes just three blocks from my house. Thank God we have such inspirations in our lives, to keep us hopeful when darkness and evil emanate from the Trump regime.

  1. Bob Henry says:

    You write:

    “. . . the reason why a majority of Americans loathe Trump is because he is truly, truly a bad, disgusting human being. Franklin Graham knows that. Mitch McConnell knows that. I suspect that even as corrupt a Republican as Devin Nunes knows that.”

    I proffer this excerpt from The Wall Street Journal “Review” Section
    (May 25, 2018):

    “The Man Who Discovered ‘Culture Wars'”

    Subheadline:

    “James Davison Hunter coined the phrase in 1991, a year ahead of Pat Buchanan. Now he reflects on how the struggle has evolved over three decades.”

    Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-man-who-discovered-culture-wars-1527286035

    By Jason Willick
    “The Weekend Interview” Column

    “In the heat of battle, religious conservatives too have found themselves defending behavior that contradicts their stated moral values. On the relationship between the religious right and the president [Trump], he [sociology professor James Davison Hunter] says: If ‘there is a hope that the state [“state” meaning: federal government under conservative Republican rule] can secure the world, even by someone as imperfect as Trump,’ then ‘religious people, are willing to make all sorts of accommodations’ — willing ‘to justify pretty much anything.'”

    The ends justify the means?

  2. This is why I’ve said for a long time that organized, rightwing christianity is a menace to America. Nothing against authentic Christians, but the so-called “christians” who run the Republican Party are not true followers of Jesus. They are pathological power-hungry fascists.

  3. Bob Henry says:

    Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal “Opinion” Section
    (June 13, 2018, Page A19):

    “Standing By to Stand By;
    The experience of vice presidents in the postwar years has included rivalry, neglect and even, at times, a true spirit of partnership.”

    URL: https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-in-line-review-standing-by-to-stand-by-1528844533

    Book review by James Rosen

    [a former chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, is the author of “Cheney One on One,” among other books]

    “First In Line:
    Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power”
    By Kate Anderson Brower
    (Harper, 336 pages, $28.99)

    “‘I only saw Eisenhower alone,’ Richard Nixon lamented in 1969, ‘about six times in the whole deal.’ This dismal recollection exemplifies the tendency of former vice presidents to remember their tenures with frustration, not elation. Kate Andersen Brower probes this institutional disharmony in ‘First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power,’ an intimate, compulsively readable account of the dynamics that have shaped — and sometimes destroyed — relations at the top of the American political hierarchy since World War II.

    “A former White House correspondent and now a CNN analyst, Ms. Brower knows the terrain and has secured interviews with all six living former VPs, though not the incumbent. Their insights, along with Ms. Brower’s instinct for the telling anecdote, make ‘First in Line’ a valuable addition to the literature of the modern presidency.

    . . .

    “. . . As for the current vice president, Ms. Brower portrays Mr. Pence as pious but insincere, an operator who “perfected his aw-shucks, folksy modesty” and ‘calculated approach to political life’ in Indiana, where he served as governor. When the coarse ‘Access Hollywood’ tape surfaced during the 2016 presidential run and Donald Trump telephoned the Pences to apologize, the governor and his wife initially refused to take the call, Ms. Brower writes. Their eventual decision to stand by the GOP nominee, she says, showed ‘their joint ambition overruling their concerns.’

    “. . . the Pences had sized up Mr. Trump’s strengths and weaknesses unflinchingly and believed, as devout Christians, that Mr. Pence’s ascension to the ticket represented a calling from God. . . .”

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