Commentary: Beliefs and contradictions
The mental jujitsu required to be a Trump supporter must be exhausting, even for the most died-in-the-wool, hardcore Hillary-hating, rebel-flag waving partisan. Does the mental function required to separate fact from fiction automatically go offline when Trump speaks? Reason disengages?
What kind of cranial gymnastics occur when they believe statements like: “I know more than the generals” or “I will hire the best people,” or “I alone can fix this”?
What sort of moral calculus takes place in the mind of churchgoers when they hear Trump speak of sexual conquests, taking liberties with women, or mocking the disabled, but still they offer their support?
How can a good Republican square his or her history as the party of Lincoln, with comments that boldly and unashamedly create divisions in the union that Lincoln gave his life to preserve?
We have a chief executive praising a dictator running one of our greatest global rivals as if it were his own personal bank, using coercion, force, and murder to maintain control. That dictator backs another tyrant who makes war against his own people, using methods that would have been outrageous by the fascist standards of World War II. That makes our president complicit, when he publicly admires Vladimir Putin, holding him up as an example of good governance, simply because he is strong.
Is Trump unable to understand the balances of democracy, the notions of civil liberty, the rule of law? This is a shattering attitude in the leader of a country that stands as the greatest experiment in self-governance ever attempted. Does turning his back on our founding principles create any doubt in his followers? Despite low popularity, the party he leads has shown a discouraging lack of shame in backing and enjoying the privilege of power at any cost that Trump makes possible.
The party that wins by procedures not popular votes, that pledged to “drain the swamp,” and “stand up for the forgotten,” shows a disgraceful lack of concern for the majority opinion. The first motion by a new Congress to gut oversight functions was repulsed by popular outcry once it saw the light of day. Trump selected the highest net worth Cabinet ever, which is more representative of Wall Street than Main Street. Since taking office, Congress has voted, and Trump has approved, dumping mine waste in streams, and allowing internet providers to sell subscribers search information without their consent, among other corporate wish list items. Other agenda items are defanging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and for the Supreme Court, approving a nominee who has yet to meet a corporate outrage he disapproves. Republican’s fantasy was repealing Obamacare, their main concern the tax savings repeal would provide their backers. So far, it has failed, but only because it was not severe enough.
A favorite target is Planned Parenthood, including birth control in general, and serially attempting to do away with the services it provides. This bias is hard to understand considering the abortion rate has fallen to the lowest rate since Roe vs. Wade was passed, due to the availability of contraception. It is difficult to rationally understand why they would oppose measures that alleviate one of their main concerns.
The contradictions pile up the more you unearth their agenda. Evidence about global warming is dismissed as a conspiracy, despite the attitude of the rest of the world and overwhelming scientific proof. They favor tax cuts for the most well off, based on a theory that has been tried since the 1980s repeatedly resulting in deficits and sacrifices in upgrades and maintenance for national infrastructure. They support the Citizens United decision, enabling legalized corruption brought by unlimited floods of dark money into the political process, buying influence and power for their donors.
The religious right is not exempt from this disconnect, as they overwhelmingly backed a candidate that flaunts any injunction about humility, charity, or concern for the poor. Somehow abuse of women, disregard for ethics, and serial lying get a pass if the perpetrator is aligned with their worldview.
It is as if morals, fair play, concern for the common good, and respect for reason were outmoded and subject to the conceit of winning. Winning is now defined as getting their way, regardless of what is best for the majority, the common good outlined in our founding documents and proscribed by our Founders. Republican beliefs contradict reality, overwhelmed by magical thinking.
Steve Foreman is a Warren County resident.