Commentary: Trump watch: What spurs obedience to this president?
Ten years from now, when some of the “best people” are still serving time from their association with our 45th president, a popular pastime for historians will be explaining how America tumbled down a black hole.
What forces led the world’s oldest democracy to roll the dice on a serial liar and choose a man with no sense of history, no comprehension of the workings of government or the Constitution and with an overpowering sense of entitlement? What intersection of economic angst and social grievances combined to enable our republic to choose a man who serially abused women, the English language, reason, the disabled, Gold Star parents and other candidates? How was the American psyche susceptible to a stream of macho nonsense spewing whatever they wanted to hear, and to accept and embrace it as strength? During the election, Trump stated that a politician under suspicion was not fit for office, now we have a president under multiple investigations.
At the very beginning of the administration, a key player was named as a security risk after improper Russians associations, while embroiled in a kidnapping discussion with a foreign power. When informed, the White House did not immediately remove the offender and his access to sensitive national security information, but instead removed the messenger. Now Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty. One of several campaign managers is also indicted, as well as another key player. Repeatedly, top officials denied, then acknowledged, improper involvement with Russians operatives. The president admitted publicly that he was trying to stop the investigation. Now we see an attempted political purge of the FBI, with complicity from the Republicans in Congress who are tripping over themselves to clumsily provide cover for an obviously compromised president.
What spurs such obedience to a man with no loyalty to anything but his own ego? Is the Republican Party so addicted to power and influence that they will renounce reason, compromise and decency to support a man with a hold on a portion of the public’s allegiance? They are willing to demean the FBI and intelligence agencies and try to smear a former FBI director to cloud the issues and create a smokescreen for their leader. The closer special investigator Robert Mueller gets to exposing Trump crimes, the more rabid the subversions become. They have tried to divert attention with talk of wiretapping, unmasking, dossier funding and pointing blame at Hillary Clinton for Uranium One. Now they are willing to attack the FBI, claiming a conspiracy, and have released a memo forged out of information ripped out of context and selected to support their pet theories.
We are expected to buy into a belief system that is intellectually bankrupt and morally wrong. Republican orthodoxy is beholden to a belief system that attempts to fit the world to their view instead of responding to real world issues. Republican thinking will not acknowledge that the rest of the world realizes and is working to counter climate change. Their response is to deny its existence. When confronted with the truth from state experiments with regulating sensible marijuana use, Republicans prefer to look away. When the people they serve are murdered by gun violence, they revert to NRA talking points. Despite reassurances that they would outlaw bump stocks that turn weapons into automatic weapons, they neglect to act. While people are left without adequate medical care, they ally with their corporate benefactors and continue to deny help for those lacking medical care. When confronted with the fact that the Russian government sanctioned attacks on our electoral system, they turn a blind eye. When our intelligence agencies display evidence of attacks, Republicans attack the messenger.
Their intention is to so weaken respect for law and order agencies that any conclusions reached by Mueller and his investigators are discounted. They may even subvert justice by stopping the investigation.
Despite evidence that Russians have been involved in sabotage and murder around the world, Republicans deny any danger and leave America vulnerable to further attacks. The Republican Party is working with Russian bots to confuse the issues. We are forced to ask if the Republican Party is working for America or for Putin?
The cost of buying into Republican delusions and the cult of Trump is wreaking a huge toll on the fabric of government and society. Will he start a war to divert the public’s attention? Russian attempts at disrupting our system have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We must recognize this and reject the lies.
Steve Foreman is a longtime Warren County resident and a member of the Warren County Democratic Party.