It’s time to Break It Down!
Originally Posted on January 31, 2018; reprised, February 6,2019
Last night, #45 gave his second State of the Union (SOTU) address. If you tuned in here to get my take on that, I extend my sincere apologies. Consider this post alternative programming. I am instead re-posting the sentiments I shared after last year’s SOTU message.
Over most of my adult life the Republican Party has campaigned perpetually to distinguish itself via frenzied non-stop marketing, self-labeling, and branding, as the Family Values Party, the Law and Order Party, and the Party undeniably and irrevocably committed to national defense. These standards were hallmarks embraced by evangelicals, fundamentalists, and the Christian Right. You might say it was a match made in Heaven.
A little over two and a half years ago, June 16, 2015, Donald J. Trump entered the fray of campaigning for the Presidency. From that day to this day, he has presented himself, first as the un-candidate, and for more than two years now, as the un-President; a man whom his supporters insist is not a politician, and whom many of his detractors contend is unworthy of his titles, President, and Commander-in-Chief.
This post is not intended to represent a critique of Mr. Trump. I’ve done that, and in all likelihood, I will do so again at some point in the future. Today, however, I will simply share a few observations about the human pretzels that so many erstwhile stout Republicans have forced themselves into, all in an effort to defend at all costs the words, actions, and policies of the man they say on one hand is not a politician, but on the other hand, find themselves perpetually dismissing/labeling so many of his behaviors and decisions, as “just politics.”
In keeping with my commitment to brevity, I’ll use just four examples of how the renowned Party of Lincoln transformed itself into the Party of Nixon (and the Southern Strategy), and then subsequently, pivoted to become the Party of Trump (and Good People on Both Sides). I fully appreciate that virtually no one wants to be called a racist. In contemporary American society, white Americans, in particular, bristle at the notion, the mere suggestion, that anyone might deign to use that appellation to refer to them or one of their own. To each and every person who feels that way, I have one, and only one thing to say. I truly believe the best way to avoid having that pointed verbal hand grenade tossed in one’s direction is to separate oneself from racist behavior, deeds…and people. A hint to the wise should be sufficient, or so I’ve been told.
I fervently believe that truism holds for and applies to white people in general, and as our country’s titular leader, to #45, specifically. As for the latter, I am frequently bemused whenever I hear Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters passionately knocking down any suggestion that Mr. Trump is a racist, or that he even says things that are accurately categorized as such.
Upon hearing often angry disavowals, I am reminded of one of Queen Gertrude’s lines from Act III, Scene II of the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, circa 1600: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” In the event that the stilted language of a 17th Century English poet, penned in Shakespeare’s trademark iambic pentameter, is less than clear, the simplified CliffNotes-like interpretation is, Queen Gertrude was reacting in a fashion that let on that she considered the actor playing the Queen in the play was a stand-in for her, and that in that light, she (the actor) was being overly effusive and more pointedly, insincere.
Translation/relationship to #45 defenders and apologists: Folks who rush to deflect, divert, or deny that #45 is, at least on occasion, being, acting, and/or speaking in racist terms, are insincere, and over the top. If they don’t know better, they should know better. (For the record, I think they know better).
As we wend our way beyond AD 2 (Two Years After Donald), here are four quick observations about things that have changed since the GOP installed #45 as its North Star. In keeping with their pact with their now Dear Leader, #45 supporters, surrogates, and spinners, insist that these changes are all positive, or, in classic alternative facts/fake news fashion, that they actually do not in any way reflect changes.
- Family Values Party – As I noted in a previous post, (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/01/24/evangelicals-have-given-trump-a-mulligan-it-must-be-to-infinity/), evangelicals, fundamentalists, and the Christian Right endorse marriage and the family as the foundation of civilization. The synthesis of wedlock, faith, and spirituality were previously ingrained as keystone American values, or at least as GOP talking points. Then along came Mr. Trump with his penchant for swearing, creating less than truthful narratives (over 8,100 times in his two years as President, according to Washington Post and New York Times fact checkers), and if you believe 20 or more women…and Mr. Trump, in his own words, accosting women, to whom he is not wed. Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and all the folks who deem themselves true believers (In Trump they trust), gave him a mulligan on all that stuff. If the guardians of the Gates to Heaven feel that way, who am I to argue. Clearly…a lot has changed.
- Law and Order Party – For years, more than I can recall, the GOP has anointed itself as the foremost keeper of the flame of all things related to law enforcement. So, imagine my surprise when I see and hear daily, sometimes hourly, and if I’m watching CNN on a weekday, multiple times per hour, reports that one, several, or a whole host of Republicans are questioning the authority and or the good intentions of the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, and/or any other entities comprised in what we Americans refer to loosely as the Intelligence Community. A couple of years ago, that would have been hard to imagine, if not altogether unthinkable. Now, it’s de rigueur. Just let me reiterate…a lot has changed.
- National Defense Party – I was a youngster for a significant part of the Cold War. Hazily, I recall Khrushchev pounding his shoe on his Delegate’s desk at the United Nations, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember the Berlin Wall, and the fall of the Wall. My memories incorporate the fact that the United Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR), and subsequently Russia, was considered, by members of the GOP, our mortal enemy, global adversary, and geo-political rival…right up to and including, 2016, in its entirety. Suddenly, circa 2017, #45 has shown a greater propensity to demonstrate faith and confidence in Russia and Vladimir Putin than in our own country’s Intelligence Community. This includes initially refusing to execute sanctions approved in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-2. To be clear, that was a Senate in which the GOP owned a majority, by the way. TrumpWorld not only doesn’t think that’s out of character, its inhabitants believe it’s perfectly sane and logical to do so, and they give their guy digital high fives multiple times per day. Have I said…a lot has changed?
- Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and the Christian Right Party – On occasion, as a PK (Preacher’s Kid), I concede, I find myself out of step with certain elements of religious dogma. Prayerfully, I seek forgiveness. Conversely, when asked whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions, Mr. Trump said: “I’m not sure that I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that.” I don’t even know what to say about that one. I think I’ll just let it speak for itself. Oh yeah, one more time for the road…a lot has changed.
I’ve written before about the apparent hypocrisy of conservatives and would-be-saints, in regard to their unbridled support for #45. As we now hear, in addition to harassing folks that he appointed himself, members of his own Party, and a host of people heretofore deemed acceptable to the GOP writ large, he cleared the way to release a partisan GOP penned memo, written without the benefit of having evaluated the source data, while preventing the release of a parallel and explanatory memo from Democrats, all the while ignoring Justice Department warnings that such a release could result in causing irreparable harm. #45 has, through his attorneys, indicated that Mueller has not met the high threshold necessary to interview him in person. For an individual who claims there is neither collusion, nor obstruction, there is an abundance of actions, and yes, evidence, that casts doubt on that claim. In conclusion, “Welcome To Donald’s World: A Lot Has Changed – Redux!”
I’m done; holla back!
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