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THOMPSON: The dangers of having Donald J. Trump as president

September 14, 2020 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, those who have tied themselves inextricably to Donald J. Trump...are in trouble. You see, it is difficult to save yourself from drowning in a sea of ills with a fat man clinging to you. Make no mistake...this is one Captain who has no intention of going down with his ship.

I’m reminded of an old “Seinfeld” episode entitled “Fire” featuring anti-hero George Costanza...a self-described “short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man.” At a birthday party for his girlfriend’s young son, George panics after a small fire breaks out in the kitchen and he runs over everyone, including an elderly woman with a walker, in his rush to escape.

In typical Seinfeld comic fashion, a clown puts out the fire with his big shoes. When firefighters arrive, those at the party attack George for his selfishness, but George claims he is a hero for leading everyone in the right direction. A firefighter asks, “How do you live with yourself?” George answers simply, "It's not easy."

So, it should be with Donald J. Trump and every single person who sold their soul to get where they are in the current administration. But believe me, all those folks...everyone...will be blamed by Trump for his failures eventually. Of course, we all know drowned rats tell no tales. Even so, anyone with a conscience, a soul, any regard for another human...would have only one answer about how they live with themselves as a Trump supporter...“It’s not easy.”

There are so many despicable people to choose from over the past nearly four years — presidential appointees, White House staff, Senators and Representatives, Cabinet members — all will one day have to defend their actions. They must answer the question, “How do you live with yourself?” The answers are predictable.

Let’s consider here - given the great many corrupt actions and excesses of the Trump Administration - what might at first seem a lesser evil. The culprit...Louisiana Congressman Doug Scalise...the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives.

Two Sundays ago, Scalise ordered his staff to edit a video of an interview with Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden so that it appeared he said something he did not. Scalise didn’t give it a second thought. His staff didn’t either.

It’s bad enough that Russians have built a cottage industry out of interfering in American elections. Now public servants - Congressmen - elected by Americans are doing the same thing on their own. Scalise manipulated a video to ensure Donald Trump remains president.

Where’s the outrage?

Here’s exactly what happened. Scalise’s staff took a video clip of progressive activist Ady Barkan - who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and talks with a computer-aided synthetic voice - asking: “Do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Biden responded, “Yes, absolutely.”

Scalise’s pseudo-Russians took the video clip...and added the words “for police” using another computerized synthetic voice at the end of Barkan’s question. Harmful? You bet. Now it appeared Biden was 100 percent behind de-funding police...something he absolutely opposes...despite Republicans lying about his position every chance they get. Scalise then used social media to reach millions of people with the fake question and misleading response.

Barkan complained the very day the fake interview was being pushed on social media...demanding the video be taken down, as well as an apology from Scalise. Scalise stopped using the video...but the damage was done...millions had already seen it. And, he not only offered no apology, he continued to attack Biden and other Democrats as though his altered video was true.

The matter has been referred to the Office of Congressional Ethics, but quite frankly almost no one in the Republican Party in the past three and a half years has had anything to worry about after such transgressions. The Republican Party holds the majority in the Senate and simply votes not to act on the Ethics Committee’s recommendations.

This is the real danger of having Donald J. Trump as president...there are no guardrails on the road to governing America. Everything is acceptable. Lies. Fraud. Cheating. Everything is okay...as long as you win...as long as you stay in power.

The truth is manufacturing and disseminating disinformation is a danger to democracy...it’s a verbal terrorist bomb. Will this get better or worse if not acted upon with some vengeance...some outrage over its injustice?

Scalise is just one Republican in the Trump Administration. Is he the only one cheating? No...every Trump supporter...McConnell, Graham...almost every elected and appointed Republican commit similar frauds...they lie with impunity. Most of these transgressions are lost in their sheer number...but like individual terrorist bombs...they have an accumulative effect.

Americans - Republicans - who either look the other way...or know and don’t care...you’re complicit. Lies and fraud like those of Scalise rip the fabric of American democracy and freedom. If you’re a Republican Trump voter and support the status quo...it’s no different than throwing real bombs at government offices and institutions.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.


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