Thursday, September 20, 2018

It's Our Democracy, Stupid



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Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign was famous for its motto: “it’s the economy, Stupid.”

In 2018, the operative mantra should be: “it’s our democracy, Stupid.” The economy is beside the point. Not that the economy is ever irrelevant but compared to the far more important question regarding whether we will let our democracy slip through our fingers after two and a half centuries, it should be by far the lesser of our concerns.

Instead, of thinking about the stock market or unemployment, our passions should be dedicated to preserving the Rule of Law, Due Process, Equal Justice, Freedom of the Press, our system of Checks and Balances and Civil Rights for all Americans.

All those elemental principles of the United States of America are in grave danger thanks to the venal narcissist we elected to the White House in conjunction with a cowardly Republican Congress that refuses to accept its responsibility for being a co-equal branch of government.

What are some of the most common words used about this administration? Unprecedented, not-normal, never done before, unheard of. We don’t have laws against much of what he does because no president ever did them before.

No, previous president ever called our FBI and Justice Department liars and thugs and a cancer on our society. No previous president ever defied our intelligence agencies in favor of his own alternate universe of unreality. No previous president ever showed such contempt for our allies and consideration for our enemies. No previous president demeaned and derided his own staff, including his attorney general. No previous president called women fat pigs and crazed dogs.

No previous president ever invited Russian representatives to the Oval Office and blatantly shared intelligence with them (intelligence we had received from the Israelis). No previous president ever ordered his intelligence agencies to give up classified information on an on-going investigation (into himself) . Just this week we learned that he has declassified information on the Russian probe and FISA court.

Even Richard Nixon bowed to the Rule of Law in the end. He didn’t say, as Trump has, that he could pardon himself, defy the courts, stop any investigation, deny a subpoena....

What has Trump accomplished except to up-end the accepted order of things? He pulled us out of the Paris Accords, an agreement every country but ours had signed onto to counter climate change. There is no alternative plan to take its place because Trump would rather listen to right-wing conspiracy theorists than scientists. He pulled us out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement with no alternative plan to take its place, an agreement most of the major nations of the world worked on for years. He’s bolixed up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which made the U.S., Canada and Mexico more prosperous for decades with nothing to take its place. He ended our cooperation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership with no comprehensive plan to take its place. He turned our immigration policies into inhumane brutality with no reform except caging children and demonizing people fleeing from violence as rapists and murderers. He’s arbitrarily ordered citizens from entire countries banned as if they were all terrorists. He doesn’t trust any men but white men and no women at all. He’s denied free trade and inserted tariffs into our economy, risking the jobs of farmers and auto workers as well as other manufacturing that depends on parts made of steel and aluminum.

He’s made us a laughingstock to the citizens of other nations by electing him but we can live through that. What the nation can’t endure is watching our democracy disappear into the feckless, reckless maw of an autocrat.