Tuesday, November 15, 2016
WHY WE CAN'T JUST GIVE HIM A CHANCE
After giving Donald Trump literally billions of dollars worth of free air time by breathlessly reporting on every speech he gave, allowing his lies and insults to marinate in the public consciousness, the media is now in the process of normalizing Donald Trump as inauguration day looms like a black cloud ahead. 60 MINUTES did an interview with him in which he mostly sounded like a real politician and not the demagogic hatemonger he ran as. We can't live in a bubble and say "he's not my President", we have to own up as a country at the potentially world shattering decision we have made.
It is essential in the next four years that we never forget just how Trump violated every standard of a normal Presidential campaign, along with every standard of normal human decency. Here's a list of just how radical a choice America made on November 8th:
1. He is the first President ever to have never held any previous political office or serve in the military. (He once claimed that his running the Ms Universe beauty pageant qualified as foreign policy experience!)
2. He is the first President in modern history to refuse to release his Income Tax returns. He has repeatedly boasted about all the money he has made in his lifetime, while shrugging off his multiple bankruptcies and numerous claims of unpaid bills that have been made against him over the years. According to a USA TODAY investigation, the number of lawsuits he is involved in stands at a whopping 3,500, an unprecedented number for any President. And his Trump University seminar programs may well prove to have been an outright scam aimed at making empty promises to customers while providing no real advice and bilking them of money.
3. He is the first Presidential Candidate to openly embrace conspiracy theories, (like when he said that Ted Cruz's father was somehow involved in the assassination of President Kennedy!).
4. On the campaign trail he continually made over the top personal attacks on his political opponents, calling President Obama and Hillary Clinton "traitors" and "the founders of ISIS". He also often encouraged people at his rallies to physically attack protestors. And in a real low point for American politics, he once ridiculed a handicapped reporter by mimicking his handicap.
5. He was rejected not just by progressive news outlets like the New York Times, but also by more conservative papers and magazines; The National Review, once the think tank of conservative thought, openly attacked him in a cover story. And the newspaper USA TODAY, which normally never endorses candidates, said he did not deserve to be President.
6. His crude statements during debates, in which he made childish insults and interrupted constantly, lowered the general level of public discourse. In a Republican primary debate he defended the size of his genitals; in a Presidential debate he threatened to have Clinton thrown in jail. Add to the insults his constant immature boasting ("I have a very good brain!") and it's easy to see that this man sets a poorer role model for children than any other President in recent times (and probably ever).
7. He was once recorded joking about sexually assaulting women on an open microphone, and was later accused of making such assaults by eleven different women.
8. The nonpartisan website Politifact rated a mere 15% of his statements as true or half true. While all politicians exaggerate or mislead, no Presidential candidate in modern times has every lied openly and repeatedly as much as he has. His biggest lies include that he opposed the 2003 Iraq war from the start, that Clinton started the birther movement against President Obama and he ended it, and that he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City after the attacks of 9/11. Clinton's record of true or mostly true statements during the campaign stands on Politifact at 75%.
9. He has engaged in childish personal vendettas during the campaign: he tweeted angry messages against former Ms Universe Alicia Machado, and threatened to sue every one of the eleven women who have accused him of sexual assault. He also has said that he wants to "open up" federal libel laws to make it easier for people like him to sue news organizations like the New York Times.
10. He gleefully encouraged Russian hackers to hack into Clinton's files to release her emails. The Russian government has now formally admitted that it collaborated with Wikileaks to attempt to discredit Clinton and aid the Trump campaign.
11. He has expressed admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, dismissing the distinct possibility that Putin has had dissenting reporters in his country killed.
12. He criticized the war record of Republican Senator John McCain, saying "I like people who weren't captured." He also attacked the gold star Khan family after Kzir Khan spoke against him during the Democratic Convention. It should also be pointed out that he avoided being drafted into the service during the Vietnam war because of a mysterious bone spur in his foot; in a later interview he couldn't remember which foot it was in!
13. He has advocated killing the families of terrorists and torturing terrorist suspects ("waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse."). The fact that these two things are international war crimes doesn't phase him. He has blithely discussed the US not living up to NATO alliances, and encouraging South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. There are also reports that during military foreign policy briefings he wondered aloud why the US doesn't use nuclear weapons on other countries since we have them.
14. He is either an outright bigot, or at the very least has inflamed racial hatred. From his long stated belief that President Obama was not born in this country to the day he announced his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump has played the race card repeatedly: he once asserted that an American born judge of Mexican descent could not rule fairly in a fraud case against Trump University because of his race (something Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called "The textbook definition of racism."). His signature issues were building a wall on the border with Mexico (while somehow getting Mexico to pay for it) and deporting the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the US. He has also called for a ban on all Muslim immigrants entering the country. When his candidacy was endorsed by former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan David Duke, he only tepidly denounced him. The KKK's official newspaper put a glowing article about him on the cover just before the election.
The scary thing about this list is that it kept getting larger the more I thought about it; it seems like there is no end to the unprecedented, horrible things Trump has done since he first began demanding the President's birth certificate in 2011. He is not a normal Republican, a President Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would upset me, but not horrify me. Trump is all new combination of inexperience, lies, bullying and boasts.
This is why we cannot "give him a chance", like so many conservatives are saying. Not when there has been a spike in hate crimes against Muslims in the past year, not when the KKK has announced that they will hold a rally in honor of him, not when he has decided that Steve Bannon of the extreme right wing website Breitbart will be his Chief of Staff, a choice the New York Times editorial board characterized as "turn on the hate", and which David Duke praised, saying that this might prove that Trump is "for real". Yes ladies and gentlemen, it is 2016 and we have a former Klan leader openly praising a President. This is not normal, this is not in any way good, and there is no way we should accept it; progressives must fight this man at every turn, and never let the country forget the hate filled people that now support him.