“He (Abraham Lincoln) would have proven the best friend the South could have had and saved much of the wrangling and bitterness of feeling brought out by reconstruction under a President (Andrew Johnson) who at first wished to revenge himself upon southern men of better social standing than himself, but who sought their recognition, and in a short time conceived the idea…to become their Moses to led them triumphantly out of their difficulties.”
– Ulysses S. Grant, 1885
“(Kaiser) William II runs the awful danger of being cast down…(because) He boldly takes upon himself responsibilities which in all nations are divided among various bodies of the state…He must therefore be infallible and invincible. At the first disaster…Germany will at once conclude that his much-vaunted alliance with God was the trick of a wily despot. Then there will not be stones enough from Lorraine to Pomerania to stone this counterfeit Moses.”
– Eça de Queiroz, 1891
“The denunciation of subversion in high places is little more than a sham, a crude tactic designed to discredit political opponents whose domestic policies are the real target.”
– Richard O. Curry, Conspiracy: The Fear of Subversion in American History
“He (President Donald Trump) is a f*cking moron.”
– Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Money laundering with the aid of dictators is a much easier proposition than long-term brainwashing of a free and feisty people like Americans.
Donald Trump’s nasty and divisive efforts to make America not-so-great-as-before are running afoul of voiceless people who are finding their voices on the one hand and, on the other, American oligarchs who are exasperated at Trump’s outsourcing of their control over U.S. elections to the Russians. The whole point of the Citizen’s United case of 2010 was to tilt the playing field of U.S. politics to them, not to Vladimir Putin, the Chinese, or even (gasp) the North Koreans.
That Trump’s oil of vitriol is not the balm of well being now causes buyer’s remorse among some former supporters, like the woman from Indianapolis who believed him when he said he would save her job at Carrier, which is now headed for Mexico.
However, the percentage of Trump’s anti-establishment base still holds in the thirtieth percentile because, in part, those voters sent a message in 2016, Russians or no Russians, voter suppression or no voter suppression, that the social, economic, and political establishments in both major political parties had failed to meet their real or imagined expectations. Most importantly, the American dream that had nourished their parents with a higher real wage package, no longer seemed to be in reach. If voting for Trump was what it took, than so be it.
Beware of what you wish or vote for! The single most damning revelation in the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury is that actually winning the Presidency was “Plan B,” and one that seemed far-fetched for Trump, himself, and actually undesirable for many around him.
“Plan A” was to come close, avoid real responsibility for governing, not to mention scrutiny of his finances, and continue to burnish Trump’s image with the aggrieved among his base by screaming about a “stolen election” and blaming Hillary and the Democrats for every ill in the nation.
“Plan A” was also a sweet deal for Republican Party leadership, who sold their souls to a charlatan for the sake of hanging on to power in Congress, and a shot for a conservative plutocrat like Mitt Romney in 2020. Tax Deals without accountability for responsible government. What could go wrong?
It did go wrong. “Plan B” came in. Republican leadership had managed to stick this country with a leader they knew better than to believe in, but dared not say so. Now they could only grab what they could for the private sector, and save governance for Democrats, and Moderate Republicans, when and if the American people wake up to the realization that Trump is an incompetent, as well as a counterfeit Moses.
Much damage will occur in the next few years, but we have repaired wounds to democracy before, and can do so again, if we dare.
Rigidly close comparisons to President Richard Nixon and Watergate are unfair to Nixon’s Presidency. Though flawed in a way that would undo him, Richard Nixon will go down in history for his liberal record on social welfare benefits, lesser known empowerment of black small business and Native Americans; and widely known détente with, but not acquiescence to, the Soviet Union and China.
As Watergate shows us, however, President Trump and his enablers in Congress, the Judiciary and the media, have power to blast holes in our traditions of rule of law that have governed the U.S. since its inception in the 18th century. Whether these ruptures are temporary or fatal will be up to us. Will we encourage our civil servants, media outlets, and elected officials to feed the boa constrictor of prosecution in the Robert Mueller investigation that dares to indict abuses of power in high places? Or will we continue to stand by while malefactors of great power and wealth in current control of the White House and Congress move to cut off the head of the snake that defends us? That is the question.
Such rueful contemplation has definitely not been on the minds of President Trump and his abject acolytes in the Republican Congress, like Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), as they scramble to “defame and deflect.” Each one seeks to escape tightening coils of truth about their contempt for American democracy in favor of offshore bank accounts, and historical enemies like Putin’s current Russian version of the Soviet Union.
Trump’s motive for defamation of the FBI is obvious. No rat enjoys being caught in a trap. Deflection motives for Republicans like Nunes, and his boss, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) are no more subtle, just less obvious (they hope) to busy folks outside of Washington D.C. with monthly bills and increased prices on their minds.
Nevertheless, as the Mueller investigation drags on into the primaries of the campaign season, the usual short attention span of the American people becomes less dependable for office holders as November, 2018 nears. In addition, greater health care costs, wrought by the Tax Bill of 2017, along with rising interest rates and prices, could also, early and often, erode sums boosting paychecks this spring.
Then there are those thousands of angry women, millennials, and loved ones of victims of mass murders, filing to run and planning to vote against the Republican Party in 2018. High retirement numbers this year of incumbent Congressional Republicans suggest that these guys can count their electoral chances better than they can weigh their consciences.
One known fact of American history is that vast numbers of those of us who came to our shores, first dreamed the American dream in a language other than English or Norwegian. DACA Dreamers from Mexico are just new versions of the old one, from back when Ireland (at least the Catholic part) was considered a “shithole” country by those who had come here a century earlier. Yet we let the Irish in at Ellis Island, as well as folks from southern and eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and we became greater.
We can still go back to the future, to our better selves, if we heed the message of Congressman Joe Kennedy III’s (D-MA) response of January 30, 2018 to President Trump’s State of the Union address. In a short speech, this Kennedy, like his grandfather, Senator Bobby Kennedy (D-NY), talked the language of inclusion: both white people and people of color, both men and women. JKIII was also inclusive of people of all beliefs and forms of sexual orientation.
Congressman Kennedy has walked the walk, as well, with service in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. He also spoke a few words in Spanish, not just to many Dreamers, who may know only English, but to their extended families in Mexico, Central and South America who support their dream; and, by the way, to Puerto Ricans, American citizens who still yearn to be treated as such.
But President Trump does not care about people of any color, gender, or creed who do not share his desire to let him be the big BOSS of the U.S.A., with no real or perceived restrictions on his power or hang ups.
He launched his career as a future “Putin puppet” by impugning the American birth certificate of President Barack Obama.
It is only a matter of time before Donald Trump is revealed, not only to a greater number of his adoring followers as a counterfeit Moses, but also, to all of us who dream of real due process, real freedom and real equal opportunity, as a made-in-the-U.S.A. counterfeit American.