Sunday, July 22, 2018

Traitor Week #7: Donald Trump—"No puppet; you're the puppet"

      The traitors we've looked at this week have one thing in common: betrayal of the country to which—or, in Judas' case, the person to whom—they supposedly had allegiance.
     Some did this by fomenting revolt. Some welcomed invaders, or sold information to hostile powers, or friends.
     What has Trump done?
     The short, candid, answer is: nobody knows.
     Maybe nothing.
     Maybe he just really likes Vladimir Putin. He certainly acts that way. No crime there. It isn't a crime to fawn.
     That said, Trump certainly acts like a man who's done something wrong. His continual assaults on the Justice Department, FBI, and particularly the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
    If Trump is a criminal, then he's not a very smart one, hanging around the police station, cat-calling the investigators. Lex Luthor the man is not.
    Were I to say, "Trump is a traitor," his supporters would jump up and object that nothing has been proven. And they'd be right. But they, like their leader, are also assailing the process by which what Trump and his associates have done is being investigated. There is no proof he is a traitor. But there is no proof either to support Trump's cries of "witch hunt" mantra and his claims of bias. One email from one FBI agent.  It would be laughable to rational people, an increasingly small subset of America at this point.
     So Traitor Week was a smokescreen? Maybe. I don't know. You can't expect other people to assess the world clear-eyed and then refuse to do so yourself. We don't need to guess, we only need to wait. There is a truth out there, and it will present itself.
    What could that truth be? Perhaps Trump will be found to be deeply in bed, financially, with the Russians. Perhaps there really is a "pee tape." Perhaps his operatives merely huddled with Russian agents, eager to get their hands on the embarrassing Democratic emails the Russians stole, never considering that they were helping a foreign power undermine the legitimacy of the electoral process, as fatal a stab at American democracy as can be imagined.
    We'll find out.
    Honestly, I'm not that interested in what Trump actually did. What is more important, to me, is how indifferent his supporters are to the possibility of Trump treachery. They just don't care. Nothing is going to make them care. This is worse than any meeting with Russians. Their my-side-versus-your-side, dodgeball mentality is a staggering revelation.
    Should it be? A hundred years ago we imprisoned pacifists and deported union leaders. In the 1950s, we were so terrified of the Soviets we adopted their methods, of loyalty oaths and star chambers and secret lists. Johnson lied to Congress to justify the Vietnam War, Nixon scuttled the Paris Peace Talks to help his election chances in 1968. We know far more about Trump's possible treachery than Americans knew at the time of those betrayals.
    Yet we don't feel better off.
    Maybe the horror of the Trump years is not that America became some awful place under his watch, but that a certain segment looked around and realized what we are. The illusion vanishes, the beautiful skin withers, and we see the grinning skull that has been here the whole time.
    Maybe that's it.
    No rush in figuring this out, to be honest. With a voting system hopelessly skewed toward rural Republican voters, I don't harbor much expectation of either flipping Congress this November or defeating Trump in 2020. If you immediately insist that Trump won't be re-elected, then answer this: who'll beat him, and where is that person now? What are they saying and doing? Because it sure isn't resonating now. It's a steady march of Trump Trump Trump and if you cup your ears against that chant and try to detect a warble of Democratic leadership you only hear crickets. It's maddening.
     Sorry to be Debbie Downer. I ran Traitor Week while my wife and I drove our younger son to law school in Virginia. The good news is, it's still a vast, beautiful country. People are still nice, individually. Make eye contact in Ohio and people will smile and nod, even wave.
     A young generation prepares to take up the task from us, and honestly, we have to be optimistic about that, because really, they couldn't do a worse job, could they? Couldn't screw up our country any more resoundingly than we have, could they? An ignorant president with vast, unjustified love for himself, and no concern at all for his country, supported by a devoted swarm of the passionately defrauded. We don't need Robert Mueller to tell us that. Could the next generation do worse than this?
    Of course they could.  There are hells below this one. Keep that in mind.



8 comments:

  1. Two things to consider: from the looks of it, many trumpistas, who are actually.a good deal smarter than Donald Trump, think that he is devilishly clever and manipulative and has the world by its tale; and the Russian people apparently assume that Putin is guilty of most everything he’s been accused of doing and they love him for it. Yes, there are hells beneath this one.


    John

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  2. Let us ignore for a moment anything that may have happened prior to the election. Let us even assume that Trump knew nothing about the Russian efforts to undermine the election and to push him over the finish line in first. Let us even ignore his attacks on the "rigged witch hunt".

    In a real sense none of those matter in discussing whether or not he may fall into the category of traitor. What does matter is his behavior as President in regard to the ongoing efforts of Putin and Russia to undermine and impact our elections. As has been reported time and again, he has authorized no special efforts be made to safeguard our elections. One of the main responsibilities of the President is to protect the country. He has consistently failed to do so, not through incompetence, but deliberately. Thus he provides aid and comfort to our enemy.

    And it should be noted, to anticipate the claims that treason can only exist in a state of war, that Russia's attack on the US was orchestrated and carried through by members of their military. It was, by definition, an act of war.

    And one wonders why, since it is known that they also hacked Republican servers, why we haven't seen or heard about what was hacked. Could that stuff be used to keep Republicans in line?

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  3. Trump is a traitor!
    1. Because he trusts Putin more than the US intelligence agencies.
    2. Because he's in love with dictators & dictatorships.
    3. Because he's using the presidency to make money.
    4. Because he's a moron that thinks he's smart, in fact a 'stable genius'.

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  4. It is true that Trump has done nothing. That is also his crime. He swore to defend the country but has done zero to combat foreign intervention in future elections. That republican leaders avert their eyes is proof that they believe in their own entitlement more than democracy. We are in deep shit and may not be able to reach a shovel. Hopefully your sons generation will have the stomach to start shoveling for us.

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  5. Yes, it's still a beautiful country. For now, anyway. Individuals are still nice, for the most part, but nicer in some places more than in others. Chicago-born, I lived almost half my life in the city of my birth, and its suburbs, before moving to Cleveland in the early Nineties. And I will never forget the moment when a dog-walking stranger made eye contact, smiled, nodded, and even said hello, as I stood in my front yard. In a big Ohio city. "Hey, you're not in Chicago anymore, " was my first thought. Twenty-six years later, most people are still doing that.

    But even that is changing, I fear. Neighbors don't know one another, or communicate. As the older generation dies off, the newest one doesn't seem to care about its surroundings or fellow residents. Many live in a self-made bubble, averting their faces and not speaking. People rarely honked their horns in traffic here, but that is changing, too. Signs and flags are becoming more prevalent, as folks choose up sides. Civility is eroding.

    Of course, all that began long before His Orangeness ascended to power, but he has accelerated the pace of it. It's the little daily interactions that matter, like a greeting on a sidewalk. I feel sorry for those in your son's generation. Long after you and I are gone, they will have to live with the consequences of today and 2020, well into mid-century. If they don't shoulder a shovel and start dealing with the shit, they...and perhaps the rest of the world...will eventually be engulfed in it.

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  6. Trump alone is not the threat, it's his backers, whom excuse and attack law enforcement over every alleged crime, the Republicans in Congress. His popularity among the base have them endorsing and repeating his lies; they're worse than Fox News. The few that object, well they're retiring, so their whines are meaningless, and they'll still vote his agenda.

    Nothing will change while Democrats cringe and fail to lead with an opposing message, do they still believe his evil excesses, alone, will turn voters away this fall? They're completely impotent. I don't see the motivation to get out the vote, except by a few single topic groups. I want to have faith in the young, but they've become too entitled and complacent, what's in it for them to resist, to fight back? They're not hurting...yet.

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  7. Traitor Week has been very interesting. I can't wait for the day when alleged stops being used when talking about Trump's treason. As Dan Savage puts it, "I.T.M.F.A.!"

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  8. The Traitor Week posts were most appropriate. I can’t pretend to even guess where we as a country are headed, but I like Neil’s reminder that this isn’t the first time an American president has betrayed his sworn oath, and not the first time our citizens have been so divided.

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