Trump’s America: We Are Better Than This
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on September 16, 2018
An old friend of mine called me yesterday to express his concerns about the state of politics and race relations in America. My friend is a white, 77-years-old lawyer and politico who lives in Texas. He has worked in state and national politics since his collegiate days nearly six decades ago. His former wife was a cabinet member in President George W. Bush’s administration. He is a fiscal conservative and social moderate. We have known and worked with each other for more than a decade.
My friend is concerned that the interracial goodwill and respect for humanity that was established by brave men, women and children during our lifetime is being wiped out in President Donald Trump’s administration. My friend has deep roots within the Republican Party. Yet, he never saw the phoenix-like rise of Donald Trump encroaching upon America’s political horizon.
In my friend’s view, Trump epitomizes all that is evil in this country -- greed, selfishness, bigotry, xenophobia, the use of offensive language, the tirade of disparaging judgments against women, Spanish-speaking Americans, and Muslims, and a dangerous propensity for dividing us into mean-spirited political tribes.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia and the litany of guilty pleas by the President’s inner circle of friends and advisers have convinced my friend that Donald Trump is the most corrupt U.S. president in modern history. Trump’s White House “swamp” is much worse than any political “swamp” my friend has seen in Democratic or Republican administrations in his lifetime.
My friend is well-connected to a host of Republican power-brokers and Trump supporters around the nation. He said Donald Trump has made hatred, bigotry, religious intolerance, and violence against Americans of color fashionable. Trump popped the cork and has unleashed a bottled-up anger in white voters that has lain dormant for years.
Since Trump assumed the Presidency in 2017, he has trashed and humiliated: (a) Congressional leaders, (b) fellow Republicans who disagree with his "enrich the rich" policies, (c) former White House staffers, (d) a host of mainstream media organizations, (e) many respected Republican political strategists, and (f) his own personal attorneys, among others. These people/entities, many of whom have known Donald Trump intimately for decades, privately label Trump as an unstable “racist”, “fascist”, “sexist”, and “bigot”. Many of them question Trump's “fitness” to serve as President. One of them wrote an op-ed essay for the New York Times earlier this month that described just how dangerous and incompetent Trump is and how the “adults in the room” are managing his presidency in an effort to protect and preserve our democracy.
America’s ultra-conservative corporate leaders and a plethora of fear-mongering politicians and special interest groups helped to create this political “Frankenstein” we call President Donald Trump. Now, even this cadre of individuals appears to be powerless to stop Trump from debasing the American presidency on a daily basis. Somehow, Trump’s acts of subservient behavior with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his contempt for women (whom he calls “dogs” and “pigs”), his disdain for “dumb”, "mentally-retarded”, “marble-mouth” Southerners like U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his attacks on the Department of Justice, his disrespect for the work of America’s national intelligence agencies, his propensity for incessant lying, and his laziness in office have been normalized into acceptable presidential behavior.
Furthermore, there is no elected or appointed official in the national government with the stature, ability, and political strength to challenge Donald Trump’s menacing and reckless behavior as President. While many of these officials hold important sounding titles, they merely enjoy the illusion of power when dealing with Donald Trump. Most of the time these officials are on their knees serving as political “fluffers” for Trump.
According to my friend, Trump’s brand of racial politics, which is built on fear and demagoguery, is wreaking havoc on the nation. He believes Trump is shaping an America that resembles Nazi Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Under Hitler’s reign as “Führer”, Jews, Germans of African descent, Gypsies, and gays were rounded up, persecuted, and eventually slaughtered on a scale that is unimaginable. Most of the so-called "good" Germans looked the other way while more than six million concentration camp victims were exterminated by Hitler's SS troops between 1941 and 1945.
My friend says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Texas (and elsewhere in America) are rounding up and persecuting immigrants of color just like Hitler’s SS troops did with the declared “undesirables” in Nazi Germany. Families are being split up during ICE raids just like they were in Nazi Germany.
He pointed out that Trump even tried to get a reputed pedophile from Alabama –Roy Moore – elected to the U.S. Senate. Trump also slammed Attorney General Sessions recently for indicting two Republican Congressmen who were early supporters of the President. In contrast, Trump has publicly and repeatedly demanded criminal investigations that target his political adversaries.
My friend firmly believes that, as a nation, we are much better than this. He reminded me that President Lyndon Johnson regularly used the N-word in the White House. Yet, Johnson pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Johnson also declared a "War on Poverty" that drastically improved the plight of tens of millions of poor and elderly Americans. In Trump’s case, his selfish, deplorable, and narcistic actions as President match his openly vulgar words and small-minded views as a man. At the end of the day, Trump has shown America that he only cares about himself.
This cannot be the future of politics in America.
PHOTO: President Lyndon B. Johnson (left) and President Donald J. Trump (right).