“…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
– Milan Kundera
“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican politicians. But it kind of does, at least right now. The thing is, like me, many of my colleagues have grandchildren. And grandchildren can be a powerful motivator, even if they don’t have a Super PAC.”
– Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
It is difficult to have the courage of your convictions when, like President Donald Trump, you possess neither.
As a businessman, professional blowhard, and presidential candidate, the Donald’s money could buy necessary stooges to cover up these fundamental flaws prior to taking the oath of office as President of the United States on January 20, 2017, but no longer.
The good news is that, in being a physical and emotional, as well as a moral coward, Donald Trump does not, in himself, possess the guts to pursue a tyrant’s path with the single-minded determination of dictators past and present.
The bad news is that President Trump has been a willing stooge for other enemies of freedom and the democratic process among malefactors of great wealth, like the Koch Brothers; media Tsars, like FOX News’s Rupert Murdoch; or foreign dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Most disheartening of all are the despairing bundles of fears and loathing among Trump’s adoring voters, who, in discovering that “freedom isn’t free,” have decided they longer want to pay the price, and are more than willing to be fooled “all of the time.”
More bad news is that Donald Trump continues to be aided and abetted by two other stooges for enemies of American Democracy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Neither Speaker Ryan nor Majority Leader McConnell are the kind of wimps, like Donald Trump, who hide behind tweeted character assassinations, but their civic courage is being sorely tested by a President, whose weakness of character, combined with the powers of his office, is becoming more and more of a clear and present danger to American national security interests as well as our basic freedoms and the democratic process itself.
Unlike President Trump, Senator McConnell and Congressman Ryan have genuine convictions, as much as I might find them abhorrent. But Majority Leader McConnell’s defense of wealthy white, male, Anglo-Saxon supremacy, and Speaker Ryan’s devotion to the egocentric doctrines of Ayn Rand have caused them to become stooges of Tea Party rebels without a cause, and the “divine right of money bags” put forth by the most selfish of our fellow citizens.
Centuries ago, Aristotle defined anarchy as the weakness of democracies, which made them vulnerable to tyrants drawn from their own midst. Our Founding Fathers understood this when they put into place the American constitutional system of checks and balances.
Rampant greed plus worship of corporate machinery could undo our 200+ year experiment in democratic government, as well as the health of our body politic, and our good name as “the last best hope on earth.” We would then be little more than a mirror of autocratic governments like China, or paternalistic governments that dominate Eastern Europe.
Just when Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan crossed the line between public servant and private interest panderer is not entirely clear, but they are on the dark side now, with a majority of their Republican colleagues in tow.
However, a President Trump who is soft on dictators, and hard on ordinary Americans, is causing a light to shine into the dark corners of Congressional shenanigans that Republican Party leadership in Congress was clearly not prepared for, and for which they have few answers short of a humiliating impeachment process or a disastrous defeat at the polls in 2018 — perhaps both.
The Three Stooges of American Dictatorship could, of course, continue down the path of destroying the American Constitution and our democratic traditions, but there are signs that rank and file Republicans, along with a unified Democratic Party, may not allow them to do so.
Republican support of Democratic California Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s bill to end the blank check on the President’s ability to use unlimited American military power is a sure sign that House Republicans are hearing from families of American servicemen who know damn well that their Commander-in-Chief is a coward.
As Joe Louis said of his cornered opponents in the boxing ring: Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell “can run, but they can’t hide.”
As for the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; that is no more of a “quick fix” for angry Democrats and embarrassed Republicans than the impeachment process.
It has been determined by historians, after all, that our most courageous President of all, Abraham Lincoln, suffered from the debilitating effects of depression.
Besides, even if the various elements of Cabinet and Congress could affect the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, the “disability” cited will not be the real one: a yellow streak instead of a spine.