What’s Happened to Leadership in America?

In Washington these days, crises happen at the speed of Trump — sometimes, faster.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that President Trump “…has indicated he is prepared to sign the [spending] bill [that would avoid another government shutdown]. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I’ve indicated to him that I’m going to support the national emergency declaration.”

To borrow a phrase from Trump, this is “Fake News,” only now it comes out of the mouth of the top Republican in the Senate.

What has happened to national leadership under Trump?

National leaders are supposed to stand up for important moral issues, not moronic ones.

FOR THE RECORD: There is no National Security Emergency, period. At the southern border, period.

There is, however, a very human crisis at the border for which Congress has just allocated $414 million in funding for humanitarian aid.

America is not facing “an invasion” of immigrants. We are not under assault by hordes of MS-13 gangs. Middle eastern terrorists are not pouring through the Mexican border. Drug cartels are not using the border for drug smuggling (80-90 percent come through legal ports of entry). And the people that believe this BULL$#!# need to turn off Hannity, stop listening to Rush and Ann and do the most basic of homework from trustworthy news sources including the Trump administration’s own agencies.

Contrary to Trump, “El Paso [Texas] never had ‘one of the highest’ rates of violent crime ‘in the entire country.’ According to FBI crime data, the city had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008,” FactCheck.org writes (Feb. 11).

“Violent crime did not drop in El Paso ‘immediately’ after a ‘powerful barrier’ was put up. In fact, the city’s violent crime rate increased 5.5 percent from fiscal year 2007 (the year before construction of the fence started) to 2010 (the year after construction was completed in mid-2009).

“As of 2014, FBI data show El Paso still had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 — just as it did before the fence was built.”

What has happened to American leadership?

America used to stand-up against bigotry, not have a president declare in the aftermath of Charlottesville, that “there are very fine people on both sides.” Presidents used to call out bigots and bullies. Now, it’s all about not offending a group of individuals, some of whom threatened, beat, then put a rope around the neck of a black actor and shouted, “This is MAGA country!” (scroll to see update)

That’s not how you make America great and if you think it is, you need to move to another country.

In dealing with allies, leadership came first. Now, its “America First,” and let’s get rid of trade treaties, and dissolve NATO which, by the way, has successfully worked since the end of World War II.

The “leader” who now occupies The White House believes the threat on our southern border is so great that he ordered children to be separated from their parents.

Ordered!

Those are Gestapo tactics not humanitarian actions.

American leadership used to take moral stands against moral issues like slavery, voting rights for women, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights.

Instead, we have people like McConnell who do pretty much whatever Trump wants. And Trump says and does pretty much whatever his base and conservative blowhards misinform them about.

America used to stand up for what was morally right. Now, Republicans are afraid to stand up against their own right wing.

After World War II, Americans cared about their neighbors because many of those neighbors stood shoulder-to-shoulder against autocrats who believed it was better to incinerate their neighbors than learn to get along with them.

Americans led the way in medical science that created vaccines to wipe out diseases like polio, diphtheria, and small pox. Now, we have individuals who trust social media more than medical doctors, nurses and immunologists with decades of research.

Every American has the right to pray, think, read and say, pretty much anything they want.

American leadership, however, has a duty to act in the best interests of everyone, not just the 40 percent who beat their chests demanding a wall because of some cooked-up fantasy by a populist who makes false statements and misleading claims at the rate 7,600 untruths since taking office.

American leadership used to be the gold standard when it came to treaties, trade and supporting allies. Now, “many express frustration about America’s role in the world and say they have little confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 25 nations.”

The first step in returning America’s stature in the world, let alone among its own people, is recognizing reality from fantasy. While 40 percent of the country can afford to believe in a fake crisis, American leadership needs to act responsibly for the best interests of all, not the few.

Update: CNN reports (Feb. 16), that according to “Police Sources: New evidence suggests that Jussie Smollett,” the actor mentioned in this commentary who purportedly reported being attacked and had a rope placed around his neck, “may have orchestrated the attack.”

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