Is this Presidential? Toxicity Tantrums and Super Hero Delusions-
Updated: Apr 11
I've thought of writing this appraisal many times- delaying to sidestep polemics, but for no lack of material. On the contrary, every day the news has an abundance of articles that could make any reasonable person wonder aloud at the extremism and untethered mores of the Republican party. Yes it is that simple and black and white- no ambiguity or remotely grey areas.
As the second anniversary of the violent storming of the nation's capitol on January 6th was just marked, this seems like an appropirate moment for some reflection and to take stock in what has transpired. The divide in our nation is bigger than ever- as we seem ever more bifurcated. If we cannot even agree that the Trump mob's attack on our Nation's Capitol was a bad thing- then it saps away the momentum to aspire to heal the wounds and come to resolution. As a sobering statistic, a majority of the republicans feel that the storming of the capitol was a legitmate exercise of political dissent. Never mind that demoracy was undermined, property destroyed, lives lost- and that the inner most sanctum of our government was defilied. It could have been much worse- recall the mob calling for the death of the Vice President. This is legitimate and acceptable?
Holding those accountable is part of justice and part of the reckoning of the Jan 6th assault. The former President is arguably a perpetrator of manslaughter and these charges for his complicit actions and inactions in the face a tragedy should be pursued.He reportedly sat by and watched the tragedy unfold on TV and did nothing to call off the mob- even after repeated pleas from family and advisors. Does having a fellow under suspicion of manslaughter charges sound like the profile of one seeking the presidency?
As preposterous as the above scenario should be, there comes a "wait there's more" moment, and much more. What would under normal circumstanes be a moment of hilarity or incredulity is just another incident of transgression- in a long history of simalar affronts. I am referring to the recent marketing ploy by the huckster Don to garner greenbacks and clout by releasing a deck of playing cards with illustrations of himself as a svelt super hero or a Hollywood wannabe. Many consider the DT a gross parody of a president, but with the new playing cards we no longer have to depend on comedians to lampoon this guy for he's made himself into an actual cartoon character. And risible they are- showing himself as a muscled super hero. Saturdaynight Live, has to work a little less now, as they've been served up ready-made material in spades.
Whether it is dinning with flagrant racists or Hitler fans- the affronts to our national decorum, if not our core values, keep tumbling forth. As David Brooks, the PBS and New York Times commentator lamented, the latest "scandal du jour" of the DT is just another atrocious transgression on a daily basis. What is more, and what is scarier is that those other supporters and potential GOP canidates are just as bad or merely copies of the Don's example. As one commentator noted, as with Ron DeSantis in particular, it is a race to the bottom.
Then there's the extremist leading the party or hijacking it, as in the latest debacle of Senator McCarthy's struggles to get elected as speaker of the house. Talk about ironies, the party of the January 6th insurrection, cannot even govern itself, let alone the nation. Maybe it is poetic justice that the party of insurrection gets it's own insurrection. Swayed by blowhards and crankcases, the GOP party now has to capitulate to the worst of the worst. The lowest common denominator prevails at the expense of the country. Again, a race to the bottom.
We're somtimes lead to believe that there is some core of decency or legitmacy in the republican party. Yet we find ourselves wondeirng what happened to the good old days when the GOP would make a stand for lowering the national debt or some other worthy project of fiscal conservatism. When we look to those garnering attention recently we have to really wonder what these so-called principles are. For example, when they have their conventions, just look who they honor and invite as a keynote speaker. I am referring to the New York Young Republicans Club. This group recently feted Marjorie Taylor Green with their top honor of the Richard M. Nixon Award- given to someone who exemplifies the fundamental ideals of Americanism. Here's what Green said during her address:
"I want to tell you something, if Steven Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention we would've been armed."
"Not a single penny should go to a country called Ukraine whose borders are far away and most of you could not find it on a map'
"You can pick up a but plug or a dildo at Target nowadays"
What the last comment's relevance is to our nation's foreign policy escapes me. But you get the idea of the caliber with this woman trafficking in puerile and scurulos stuff. And so much for the ideals of Americanism if Green's gutter talk is taken at face value.
I will quote Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, who had an op-ed column on this Republican gathering in NYC. Noonan says this in regards to Green:
"My point isn't that she's and idiot, though that appears to be true- she once called Hitler's secret police the "Gazpacho." or that the audience that laughed and applauded, were idiots. It is that you dont talk like this and applaud if you are trying to win anyone over to your side. And if you are serious about making America better, you try to win people over to your side."
Should we expect more from the "gazpacho gal?" The point is, if she had her way, they would've been carrying assualt weapons to the capitol on January 6th and the bloodshed would have been even worse if not a total catastrophe of civility. Is this really the ideal of Americanism? God, let's hope not.
As bad as Green's example is, it gets worse. Her partner in crime, Senator Lauren Boebert of Colorado sent out Christmas cards with her family holding assault weapons. This stunt, a cruel insult to our nation reeling from dozens of mass shootings each year, was inspired by another republican, Thomas Massie, of Kentucky who set the example. Using their kids as props to promote gun-wielding is apparently a good thing in some quarters to honor Christ.
And even more - Green went on in her talk in the New York City ballroom to harrangue about our nation aiding Ukraine (as mentioned in the quote above.) I gather that many republicans feel the same. The war in Ukraine is an absolute horror that most of the Western world has coalesced togehter to stop. It used to be that confronting communism was the one thing that republicans of former days could be depended upon. Now they revel in calling their enemies at home communists, while underminning real efforts to thwart Putin.
Then there is the second Trump impeachment relating to his sleazy attempts to bamboozle Ukrainian President, Zelinksy. If Trump were still in the Whitehouse, he'd being assisting the Putin war. Yes, it just keeps rolling on with one debalcle arfer another.
And more again- there's that thing about lying on a grand scale- then convincing rabid followers to base their election on denying the results of the last election- even after scores of friviolous law suits to overturn democracy reaped no results. We saw the results of his failed red wave and how most of Trump's endorsed candidates lost. Perhaps the tide is finally turning- but not with the advertised red wave.
Well, as mentioned the list goes on; perpetuating proven falsehoods, underminning elections, name calling, court cases galore against Trump, accusations of rape, hush money payouts, violations of the emoluments clause, horrendous policies, the border wall debacle, the taxes released, (finally) the broken campaign promises, the withdrawal from The Paris Climate talks, environmental set backs here and etc etc. Yet we are lead to believe that we should still be upset over Hillary's emails or think that Hunter Biden is somehow tantamount to a long list of catastrophes and irresponsible leadership. This is the President who told the nation under a pandemic that the entire thing was a hoax and that we should consider Clorox enemas! The pandemic was sometimes referred to as our generation's national crises- being equivalent to Pearl Harbor and WWII. Could we imagaine FDR calling concentration camps or Pearl Harbor a hoax?
I know that I'm probalby preaching to the choir here. Still, does anyone think that a fellow marketing this type of puerile trading cards of himself is really a serious contender for president? Some must, as this crass marketing ploy has reaped millions that go into his own coffers and not even his campaign war chest.
Call the above paragraphs a short rant if you will. Still, it seems that one could ask for something more from our political leaders. If one is looking for wisdom, civility, aspiration, or a vision of hope- then the politcal arena is generally not the place to look. However, there are examples of integrity and decency availble from some of our leaders and public servants. One shinning example comes to mind, Alexander Vindman who showed incredible courage, fortitude and character in standing up to the abuses of power by the DT during the second impeachment trial. Yet we can be thankful and appreciative of the facts being presented from news sources that we trust. We can also be glad that democracy has prevailed in the United States during these past few years - and most recently during this last election.
To underscore all the points here, in one of the first acts of 2023, the Republicans effected changes to defang the House Ethics Committee, just in time to undermine the January 6th investigation into their own members for participation in the the attacks on the US captiol. I rest my case, however, I am sure there will be a continual flow of egregious conduct from the likes of Kevin McCarthy and the beligerant crew.