In November, it’s Trump OR America – not both7/21/20
After detailing in our March Viewpoint Donald Trump’s numerous fascist efforts to undermine our democracy and democratic republic, we believed there was little to add before the elections to expose the full breadth and depth of his destruction of our country. We were very wrong! Since then, the COVID-19 coronavirus has devastated our country due mostly to his inaction, denial and mismanagement, killing more than 120,000, closing tens of thousands of businesses and throwing tens of millions of Americans out of work in just three short months; and our country has erupted in massive demonstrations against police violence especially against African Americans triggered by murders of three unarmed black Americans including George Floyd.
Mr. Trump has shown himself to be totally unfit and unable to deal with these first crises of his presidency, making each worse rather than better. He has used them as cover and justification to trample on American institutions, our Constitution, our lives and freedoms.
Trump denied for two months the pandemic was a problem, giving it valuable time to spread and infect our country. When he could no longer avoid its reality, he lied about it saying he has it completely under control and has been doing a great job. He has been in such a hurry to reopen the economy to help his reelection chances he has ignored the deadly effects of a resurgence of infections and deaths from the virus.
During these past few months while we’ve been preoccupied with COVID-19 and the protests against police violence, Trump has been busy eliminating those who would hold him accountable, including five inspectors general, stopping immigrants from entering our country, escalating his efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act and health care for tens of millions of Americans at the very time when tens of millions MORE Americans need insurance to replace what they lost with their jobs, weakening or killing environmental regulations that keep our air and water clean and free from pollution, increasing drilling on public lands, destroying the U.S. Postal Service, and many other actions that make our lives more miserable.
Trump has proven himself over the years to be a racist and white nationalist, even encouraging police to get tougher on people of color. He preaches violence against other Americans he doesn’t like, creating a climate of intolerance and racial violence, with hate crimes increasing dramatically since he took office. As with the pandemic, he has completely mishandled the outrage against police violence and racism sweeping our country from Lloyd’s and others’ murders by police officers, even using our military to violently attack peaceful American protestors.
His poll numbers and approval ratings have been dropping precipitously due to his gross mismanagement of these crises and the consequent tens of thousands of deaths and tens of millions of lost jobs and his incessant lying to the American public (currently 20,000 lies just since taking office). He has begun to panic at the increasingly likely prospect of losing the November election, bringing out the worst and most extreme of his fascist traits of a tyrant who wants to be an authoritarian dictator. His hateful twitter attacks on those he doesn’t like have increased dramatically, and he’s been showing his horrible, frightening willingness to violate our Constitution by turning our military against our own citizens.
On Monday, June 1, after having cowered in a bunker at the White House, Trump finally couldn’t take it anymore and lost control of his impulses, viciously attacking peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Park near the White House with gas, flash-bang grenades, and rubber bullets, complete with military helicopters flying just above the street to terrorize the protestors – to clear a way for him to stroll over to a church for a phony photo-op with a Bible. He has just threatened to impose martial law throughout our country without regard to what state governors wanted by misusing the Insurrection Act. Equally alarming and unconstitutional, he brought into and stationed all around D.C. hundreds of troops with no identifying designations of which service they belonged to, as if they were his own private militia. He stationed many of them on the steps of OUR Lincoln Memorial. Within 24 hours, virtually ALL current and senior military officials had said publically they would have no part of that. They could see where Trump was going with that – to misuse the military to interfere in and help him cheat/steal the November elections as demagogues do in other autocratic third world countries.
Trump’s June 1 meltdown and other episodes, and his falling support even among his base, almost guarantee that he will stop at nothing to be reelected and remain in office, even try to declare martial law and steal the elections or refuse to leave office when he loses. He knows that losing in November means he will face numerous criminal charges from New York State involving himself and his organizations before the statutes of limitations expire, and spend the next several years in court fighting them. His fear of prosecutions has led him to fire the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, with lies from his corrupt Attorney General Barr attempting to limit who his successor might be.
Our great national patriot and hero John McCain said after his five years of captivity including torture as a POW in Vietnam: “In prison, I fell in love with my country. I had loved her before then but like most (young) people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans take for granted. It wasn’t until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her.” While I can’t begin to relate to the horrible treatment he suffered, I do share a similar feeling in that I have recently felt I’m losing the country I grew up to appreciate and serve, and realize now more than ever how much I love America, and that I can lose it all under Trump if he is ever reelected.
The Lincoln Project led by a group of solid conservative Republicans opposed to all Trump is doing to destroy our country said that the November election will be a choice between America OR Donald Trump, and that four more years of Trump means the end of America and emergence of an authoritarian dictatorship. This is a national emergency calling for all Americans who love our country to vote Donald Trump and his enabling Republicans out of office.
Mike Brown is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum. He writes from Cambridge.