This is Not Us as a Democracy – Conclusion

The Peace statue, Washington DC

In his weekly column in the Washington Post, Nicholas Kristof writes that despite Trump’s clear call for insurrection last week, “…a new poll finds that 75 percent of Republican voters continue to approve of Trump’s presidency.

“As I was writing my column,” Kristof says, “I had a call with a childhood friend who told me about his ‘inside information’ that Trump is just drawing out his critics so that he can crack down on them and triumphantly begin his second term. When I told him he was completely wrong, he couldn’t believe I could be so poorly informed.”

After reading the opening of Republican Strategist Rick Wilson’s book, Everything Trump Touches Dies,” (2018), I dismissed Trump as a fever attacking our faith in America. Nevertheless, I thought, the fever would break, most Republicans would come to their senses and we’ll move forward, maybe not happily, but at least return to old school political combat.

However, after four years of a man who has become a malignancy on democratic principles, his incitement of a domestic terror attack against our nation’s capital, and the unabashed willingness of Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley who —  after retreating to safety during the attack — returned to the floor only to defend a corrupt man whose poisonous words and actions have left the GOP devoid of principle… I now believe that Wilson didn’t go far enough in his assessment of Trump and the GOP.

Such is the legacy of Donald Trump.

In Trump’s world the only truth that matters is what he says matters. “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” he said defending a rally speech that became a rallying cry to violence.

Clearly, his own cabinet members and other administration officials didn’t think it was appropriate and resigned:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell’s wife), acting secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf (the last person who should resign given reports of more violence in DC), former acting White House chief of staff and current U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, deputy national security adviser, Matthew Pottinger, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Tyler Goodspeed, deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and security at the Commerce Department, John Costello, chief of staff and press secretary to first lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, and Sarah Matthews, White House deputy Press Secretary.

Press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany appears to have opted for going down with the ship of fools.

Only 10 out of 211 Republicans in the House voted for impeaching the president for incitement of insurrection. Only 10 demonstrated the courage to stand up for truth and accountability. The other 201 should attend an intensive course in democracy and how to defend it.

“Democracy,” John F. Kennedy wrote in Profiles in Courage, “means much more than popular government and majority rule, much more than a system of political techniques to flatter or deceive powerful blocs of voters…. true democracy, living and growing and inspiring, put its faith in the people – faith that the people will not simply elect men [and women] who will represent their views ably and faithfully, but also elect men [and women] who will exercise their conscientious judgment – faith that the people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect, honor and ultimately recognize right.”

The fever of Trump will not be broken after he leaves office. Trump’s real legacy is a diseased populism where rights, literally, trump responsibilities, and respect and honesty are matters of opinion.

One way to break the fever and bring us back to our senses is to reexamine our past and recognize who we once were and who we can be again.