Previous posts in this discussion:
PostOn WAIS, Are There Limits to "Telling It Like It Is"? (Leo Goldberger, USA, 01/12/22 6:37 am)
As someone who some time ago played against the expressions of simple "schadenfreude" or offensive language here on WAIS, I am consistent with that principle--though I am fully in favor of citing some well-documented and obvious psychiatric and judicial truths. To avoid such mentions here seems difficult for me to understand, let alone accept!
Just yesterday when I listened to the Senate hearings on the pandemic, I noted that Dr. Fauci used the term "crazy" in reference to an arrested pro-Trump potential killer, with a loaded rifle, who was caught headed for Fauci's home to assassinate him. In reporting this type of news, ought one (or I on WAIS) avoid the term "crazy" in describing the incident?
I must admit that my early background as a Holocaust survivor might have intensified my sensitivity to "crazy" people--like a Trump--and how he hoodwinked his many innocent followers, be they in Congress and motivated by their concern for re-election or simply victims of the Fox-type and other consistently false news on Facebook and the like.
In brief, what are the limits of "telling it like it is"? As far as I am concerned, I'd welcome arguments against my stated stance--that we are in real danger of destroying our democracy if we do not forcefully and consistently rain our voices against Trump and his enablers! What am I possibly missing?
JE comments: Leo, I'm with you that Trump was, and remains, a threat to our democracy. Can anyone with the opposite view convince me otherwise? Please start with the refutation: "Trump is not a threat to our democratic system because..."
Trump's Actions Reflected the Popular Will
(David Duggan, USA
01/16/22 4:58 AM)
In response to a number of posts, our editor has inquired whether Donald Trump is the greatest threat to our democracy in United States history, or at least since the Civil War.
Evidently the short-memory syndrome common among the pundit class has caused the amnesia that Lincoln won the 1860 election with only 40% of the popular vote (the lowest plurality given to the Electoral College winner in our history--at least Slick Willy had 43%), Lincoln alone suspended the writ of habeas corpus, Lincoln alone used his "war powers" (where that?) to liberate the slaves in those states or portions of states in active rebellion against the United States, regardless of whether the individual slave holder supported the rebellion and regardless that slavery was provided for in no less than three places in the Constitution (Art. I, sec. 2; Art. 1, sec. 9; Art. IV, sec. 2), and Lincoln alone packed the Supreme Court with a 10th member to neutralize slave-holding Chief Justice Roger Taney's vote in a case arising from the several Circuit Courts.
Though I hold no brief for our former president, and am inclined to believe that "China Joe" Biden won the job by hook and by crook, Donald J Trump is much less a threat to our democracy than the five prior Democratic candidates (Al, John, Barry, Hillary and China Joe--all still alive and dangerous), even if three of them didn't make it to the Oval.
First, if "democracy" means "the people's rule," then DJT's policies were both consistent with the popular will and with legislative enactment. Building the Wall, changing the US embassy to Jerusalem, bombing the "sh__" out of ISIS, approving the Keystone Pipeline, and leaving Afghanistan were all supported by a majority of citizens. Leaving the Paris Climate Accords, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise the Iran nuclear deal, were also consistent with legislative authority, since Obama refused to submit either "international agreement" (negotiated by "Purple Owie" John) to the Senate under the treaty clause. If the legislature is the ultimate repository of the Public Will, and as close as we will ever get to the "people's rule," then Obama's end-run around the legislative authority, with PO John running the interference, is a much greater threat to democracy than anything that DJT did, the events of Jan. 6, 2021 notwithstanding.
Second, DJT didn't start the "I'm really the winner" whining. Go back to "Inconvenient Truth Al" who challenged (and lost) the Florida vote-counting procedure and spent three years afterwards complaining that he was in that "elusive third category" of neither winner nor loser of the presidential prize. Here's the inconvenient truth, Al: you're a sexual predator and at least four of your victor's predecessors took the oath of office without having won a popular vote majority (Lincoln, Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison and Hayes). This "woe is me" narrative continued with Hillary's incessant bleatings that the "deplorables" stole the election from her and her urging of citizens to dispute the 2020 election should Trump win. The shoe turned up on the other foot and Hillary et al. are doing what they can to stack the deck in future elections. Biden's teleprompted comparison of legislators who insist on a modicum of identification as a voting pre-requisite to "Bull" Connor (fire-hose wielding public safety commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama) is beyond ludicrous. His demagoguery is the real threat to democracy, not anything that DJT said.
Finally, the events of Jan. 6, 2021 and their aftermath prove that DJT is no threat to the people's rule. Hard as it was to swallow, DJT left office peaceably on Jan. 20. His "take my football and go home" exit was no more petulant than that of statesman John Adams, another victim of a disputed election against nemesis (and elitist) Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps it is a sign of grace that Adams and Jefferson engaged in a friendly correspondence after each had left public life, but don't expect China Joe to do that with DJT: without someone to write his letters (the presidential retirement package doesn't provide for scribes), China Joe will be dependent on nurses to re-wrap the shawl around his shoulders. Trump will still be playing golf.
Moreover, Trump was exonerated by the tribunes of the people: the Senate which tried his second impeachment trial. Even if the tribunal was unconstitutionally convened (Trump was no longer in office and could not be removed, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, not the Chief Justice, presided), the Senate's acquittal, as pure an indication of the people's rule as can be found, stands as proof positive that Trump is not the threat to democracy that the Nancys, Chucks, Kamalas and China Joes are and will continue to be until they are replaced or go to their eternal rewards.
JE comments: There should be a corollary to Godwin's Law, involving Lincoln: if Honest Abe played loose with the Constitution on habeas corpus and executive orders, then it is OK for his successors to do the same. Conversely, a "Lincoln wasn't so great, or even popular in his day" argument is useful for all sorts of comparisons. The Abe Allegory?
The 1860 presidential election had four viable candidates, more than any in our history, and Lincoln won with a ten-point margin over the second finisher, Northern Democrat Stephen A Douglas. His Electoral College victory was even more decisive.
David, you make a strong case for the "popular will" and Trump. My only question concerns whether we can apply the "popular will" to a candidate who won not by a plurality but through the Byzantine system known as the Electoral College. (I'm not saying we need to abolish the EC, just that it has the uncanny ability to elect a candidate that doesn't reflect the majority's preference.)
David, what say you to those who see the current moves to bring "integrity" to voting as nothing more than a ploy to deny access to the polls to those who might elect Democrats? At the very least, these new measures are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist: there is virtually no voter fraud in this country, despite the extreme efforts made to find it. In my view, Gerrymandering is the far greater problem.