Rage: #MAGA Deflection

Labor Day and 9/11 do not always fall within the same calendar week. I would normally re-share a vintage post this week, commemorating the fallen heroes lost during that tragic episode in our country’s history. Even though the date occurred Friday of last week, I want to share a passage from that post, denoting the scope of what our nation lost in that act of terror. 

Even after nearly two decade, with nineteen years’ worth of context building, and the accompanying development of perspective, the numbers behind Nine-Eleven are chilling.  Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured, and many more sustained post-event trauma.  Examples of the carnage include:

2,977 Victims killed (not including the 19 hijackers)

2,606 Killed at the World Trade Center Towers

125 Killed at the Pentagon

40 Killed in Shanksville, PA

87 Killed on American Flight 11/NYC World Trade Center North Tower

60 Killed on United Flight 175/NYC World Trade Center South Tower

59 Killed on American Flight 77/Arlington – The Pentagon

40 Killed United Flight 93/Shanksville, PA

19 Hijackers

246 Passengers Killed on the four planes

19 Hijackers Killed (on the four planes)

2,996 Killed on Nine-Eleven

411 Emergency workers killed at the World Trade Centers

341 FDNY fire fighters killed

Paramedics killed

23 NYPD officers killed

37 Port Authority Police Department officers killed

EMT’s killed

658 Employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. (Investment Bank) killed; most of any employer

1,631 Bodies positively identified from World Trade Center Towers

1,122 Bodies (41%) remain unidentified

Bone fragments were still being found in 2005 by workers preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building

72 Additional remains found in 2010by a team of anthropologists and archeologists

To paraphrase FDR, September 11, 2001, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked. Condolences to the families of those who lost their lives due to those horrific events. May their memories be a blessing.

Back to this week, the latest tome taking on the credibility, or lack thereof, of Donald Trump was released yesterday. Rage, by Bob Woodward, of Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein fame, hit the shelves yesterday. There have been a number of books, claiming to reveal all manner of insider details about Trump and his administration. If methods are any indicator, Rage should be a giant step ahead of any other book, to date. Woodward conducted 19 interviews with Trump, 18 before the book went to press, 7 initiated by calls from Mr. Trump, and at least one Oval Office appearance. According to Woodward, the interviews totaled 9 hours and 41 minutes.

I’m not going to link the book. It’s sure to be a best seller without my help. It has been teased for about 10 days now, with Woodward doing a host of TV appearances, including, 60 -Minutes, and CNN. Two years ago, Woodward never spoke to Trump when he wrote Fear: Trump in the White House. That detail purportedly irritated Trump, regarding the previous book. He appears to have gone out of his way to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Whether John Kelly not being around to act as gatekeeper this time around was the key difference, or not, in terms of whether Woodward got to speak to Trump, at all, Mr. Trump seemed determined to ensure that he weighed in numerous times, and by presidential standards, sometimes at length, this go-around. A number of elements have been teased. In lieu of the preceding preamble referencing 9/11 and the lives lost, the central issue for most observers seems to have been Mr. Trump choosing to downplay the COVID-19 pandemic with the American people. In early February, he told Woodward (as verified by the tapes/no fake news here) that the virus was much more deadly than the flu, while weeks, if not months later, he was still telling the American public it was under control and would soon go away. Even now, he eschews masks, and glibly notes, “it will go away, someday.”   

As with most things pertaining to Trump, the line of demarcation between his loyalists and advocates, and those who are inherently skeptical of his words, actions, deeds, and motives, is clear, bright, wide, and chasmic deep. His peeps, when last seen, were adamantly insisting that The Atlantic piece by Jeffrey Goldberg, asserting that Trump called American soldiers who died in battle were ‘Losers and Suckers,’ was a hit piece, full of fake news, because it contained anonymous sources. Do you ever notice how Trump frequently refers to “many people say,” and “they said,” and the like? Those are anonymous sources, that Trump acolytes find totally acceptable. But I digress. Bereft of their favorite patsy, a source they can disparage, because in this case Trump, himself, is the source, the best excuse I’ve heard his dearly beloved come up with is, “if he had told the truth, the left would have accused him of trying to instill panic.”

To those of us who deign to hold him accountable, it’s a simple matter. He misled (lied to) the American people. Repeatedly. There are other details of note, but as noted, I’m not marketing the book. Just noting that it’s out there. The title itself comes with its own backstory. Apparently, Mr. Trump is aware that he has a special effect on people. Woodward noted that he said he creates rage. I actually appreciate that he has that level of self-awareness, and that he was able to admit it. I never doubted he knew, because, I think it’s intentional. His admission was the prize in the Cracker Jack box. The rage, in my opinion is two-fold. For his base, it’s empowering; a sense of agency. For the rest of us, it’s a compelling distraction. The sort of thing designed to induce one to take their mind off the prize. We are called to do better. It’s imperative to stay focused, and not fall prey to Rage: #MAGA Deception!

I’m done; holla back!

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