Sunday, May 27, 2018
Coward of the Country
It seems Trump can't wait for that military parade this Veteran's Day, telling naval graduates that they are part of "the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet." In his mind, this makes the US "respected" again, intimating that threats not diplomacy is what brings belligerent countries like North Korea and Iran to heel.
This should give moderate Republicans further pause, as Trump, a draft dodger, used a naval commencement address as just another backdrop for a political rally, in which he not so subtly proclaimed his "victory" over the NFL, and proudly proclaimed that he will never "apologize for America," which conservatives felt underscored Obama's administration.
At every stop, our president trumpets a highly toxic form of nationalism meant to divide the nation between true believers and agnostics. This religious tone is as false as his feigned military stance. This a man who has rarely set a foot inside a church, much less cracked open his family Bible other than to read the inscriptions on the inside of the cover. For him, nationalism is just another brand to sell to a gullible public who honors religious and military tradition above all else. Nay-sayers be damned.
You hear the odd Republican speak out like Jeff Flake or Lindsey Graham on Trump's latest shenanigans, but in the end they toe the party line, doing little in Congress to stop the President from politicizing every aspect of society, most notably the FBI, because it has the audacity to investigate his campaign staff over rather obvious Russian ties. Republicans won't even censure Trump, a relatively innocuous gesture, despite the many reprehensible things he has said of its own members, not to mention many others.
No, we have to hear from two former Navy cadets, who admonished their academy for inviting a "physical coward" to deliver this year's commencement speech. As long as institutions keep giving Trump an open mic they serve as his enablers. Granted, the President is the Commander-in-Chief, but when he politicizes an institution, as he did the Coast Guard last year, he sullies the reputation of that institute. This is why these cadets took offense to his presence.
Trump cannot contain himself. He sees any audience as a validation of himself. We have the most narcissistic president ever, and yet the institutions we honor appear powerless to rein him in. Even the FBI is taking an overly cautious approach out of fear its directors can be canned at any moment. Sure, various Congresspersons have issued threats that another public firing will not be tolerated, but they have made very little effort to stop the president from publicly besmirching the organization, labeling the investigation "spygate," which is now being bantered about in the conservative blogosphere as a "gate" worse than "Watergate," especially since it involves you know who.
It doesn't matter that there is no evidence supporting Trump's outrageous claims, anymore than his claim that Obama went so far as "to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process." This is a man who has no shame and will use anything to try to influence public opinion in his favor. So, he uses the Navy to offer his version of "the truth."
The speech starts out simply enough, honoring the recent graduates and those who served before them, but soon meanders into his idea of what makes the country great, notably himself. In Trump's mind, no president before him measures up to the standard he is now setting, repeating his mantra, "winning" over and over again, as if he alone can deliver on the American dream.
He couldn't help but throw in a dig at the NFL, anymore than he could Obama. He somehow managed to avoid McCain. A good thing as he was a graduate of Annapolis in 1958.
Whatever "spirit" Trump is "reawakening" is a highly corrosive one, and I would hope this year's graduates honor their institution over the President as the two former cadets did in penning their op-ed piece to The Baltimore Sun. But, that's not enough. More Americans have to speak out against this demagogue before it's too late.
You can already see the conservative political wheels turning in anticipation of the mid-terms, as they try to turn a 30-year loafer into the poster child of Millennials, their worst political nightmare. Turn the FBI investigation of Russian collusion in the Trump campaign into "spygate," and make Nancy Pelosi into this year's Hillary Clinton. They hope to muddy the waters enough that the "blue wave" or "tsunami" the Democrats are anticipating this Fall recedes long before November.
No one knows better how to muddy the waters than Trump. He thrives off controversy, he enriches himself by it, he turns his exploits into a never-ending news cycle so that very little else gets heard. This is why Republicans leave the President to his own devices, so that they can quietly pass legislation that strips away our access to the Internet, workers' rights and health care, all the while confirming conservative judges who will maintain their heinous policies long after they are gone.
It's not just the president who is a "physical coward," it's all those who serve as his enablers. Yes, Jeff Flake, "our presidency has been debased," but until you, a US Senator, actually do something about it, you have allowed this debasement to happen.