GOBSMACKED # 10 MEN OF CHARACTER

Nothing has changed. Those who expected Donald Trump would grow into his role as President, those who thought he would develop programs and policies to help his supporters, those who believed he would bring a businessman’s skills to cleaning up the tawdry swamp in Washington, those people believed that the persona projected on “The Apprentice” was real. Did they realize that on “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump was told what to say and do? When he was able to follow direction, he pleased the audience. Some voters found hope in this tv persona’s willingness to stick it to the traditional, to say fuck you to norms, to tell it like it is. The most important and devastating irony of the situation is that there is indeed no there there when considering the man’s character. Do his supporters consider what a leader is and does? Where in Trump’s history are they able to find evidence for hope that he is a leader? What leaders say is important. Their words matter. When pro-Trumpers and idiots like the magnificent Kellyanne Conway talk about Trump’s leadership “style,” or about process and policy and Trump’s agenda, they are talking about a big zero. A lot of nothing. Jeff Sessions, in spite of all the sympathy he seems to be getting, IS forwarding an agenda. He stated that he would stay on because he and Trump share the same values. Sessions’ agenda is all about force feeding us with his bigotry, fear, and discrimination. He is achieving his goals in spite of the President’s lack of loyalty to him. Why should he leave? His agenda is more important to him than Trump.

I would say that McCain and Obama are both men of character. There was a wonderful moment during their contest for the Presidency, during a town hall style debate when a woman in the audience said something about Obama being a Muslim. McCain was quick to correct her that Obama was not a Muslim, and I believe he also said something to the effect that Obama was “a good man.” I can admire McCain forever for that civility, honesty, and leadership.

Early on…sometime in November, I asked in a Facebook post, how teachers would deal with Trump. How do you discuss lying with students? How do you introduce “topics” like ethics, public and private morality, and honor? If we detach ourselves from the day to day outrages of our present reality, can we say that such concepts as truth, justice, and the American way matter? Hold it, you may say. Is this D.C. Comics we’re talking about, or the real world? The harsh real world. Dog eat dog, you know? Business.

My boiling anger at Donald Trump became almost unbearable to me when I heard and saw excerpts from his appearance at the Boy Scouts’ Jamboree in July. What he did and said didn’t really surprise me, nor did the shameful display of Zinke, Perry, and Price, those sycophantic goons behind him onstage, laughing and clapping at his denigrations of Obama and Hillary Clinton. The audience of twelve to eighteen year-old boys laughed and cheered. Many parents and present and former scouts and others have expressed outrage similar to mine, but the train has left the station! The deed is done. Now it’s history, what’s the use of worrying about some wise-cracks in front of a crowd of boys? As a former teacher, I must believe that this was a setting where REAL damage could be done.

His display epitomized what I mean when I say it will take generations to recover from Donald Trump. Modeling behavior, public and private, is true leadership. What did those boys learn in the presence of the President? In thirty years, what will the mature men who saw the real President back in 2017 remember about that day?

When we think about the dramatic Obamacare skinny repeal failure of Mitch McConnell at 1:00 am on July 28, 2017, let’s give the three Republican no voters a pat on the back for doing the right thing. But let’s not lose sight of the continuing horrific degradation of our democratic institutions at the hands of Donald Trump. He can still easily destroy Obamacare, and all signs say he will. The propping up of this lunatic as our leader will be a disgraceful stain on the reputations of those who have done it. “They [McConnell, Ryan, etc.]realize that Trump’s base is still the core of the G.O.P. electorate, and they dare not antagonize it. The Republicans, the self-proclaimed party of family values, remain squarely behind a family and a Presidency whose most salient features are amorality, greed, demagoguery, deception, vulgarity, race-baiting, misogyny, and, potentially — only time and further investigation will tell — a murky relationship with a hostile foreign government.” -David Remnick, New Yorker, July, 24, 2017.

The failure of this present assault on Obamacare is a failure, not because of John McCain, but because of Trump. He is no leader, and never has been. Our democracy is increasingly in jeopardy because of Trump. He is incapable of understanding duty, truth, loyalty, and justice. His character, which is all on the surface for all to see as it ALWAYS has been, is our problem. Nothing has changed. He is after comfort and adulation at the expense of the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Our future and our safety are in peril as long as he is in office.

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Joshua L. Shoemaker

Joshua L. Shoemaker

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