“Never trust politicians.
They are craven.
It’s an occupational attribute.”
So began Charles M Blow of the New York Times in his essay today.
I could relate to Mr. Blow, an African American essayist.
I wrote this poem, entitled “Words” when I was 16 years old, in Independence, Iowa:
If fewer words were spoken,
If fewer words were said,
If deeds alone were the mark of a man,
Not the ‘catch’ of an eloquent pledge.
If fewer words were spoken,
If fewer words were said,
If, for all the fake forensics, there were simple words instead,
And a man stated just what he started to state,
Without false fuss or further ado.
If you weren’t a politician,
I’d probably listen to you.
So, I’m in agreement with Charles M. Blow as he continued:
“Sure, there are some politicians who are good people, who tell the truth most of the time and choose careers in politics for the right reasons—public service rather than political aggrandizement.
But power, as a genre, is about power. And power corrupts. (*And absolute power corrupts absolutely).
Generally speaking, the higher up the political ladder a politician climbs, the more vicious they have had to be, and the more viciousness they have had to endure.”
As a young girl, going around with my Democratic father to help put up yard signs, I remember him saying to me, a then elementary-school-aged child, “Stay away from politics, Con. It’s a dirty business.”
Charles Blow continued: “Politicians have had to shake more and more hands to raise the obscene amounts of money now needed to run campaigns, and they have likely had to make unsavory compromises in order to protect their own advancement.
I do not seek to draw a false equivalence between the political parties in America. While I find all politicians suspect, the utter moral collapse of Republican conscience and character under Donald Trump still stands out as an outrageous aberration.
Republican politicians, by and large, knew how lacking in every aspect Donald Trump was, not just in experience, but also character, morality and intellect. Many said as much before he was elected.
Ted Cruz called Trump ‘utterly amoral,’ a ‘serial philanderer,’ and ‘a narcissist at a level that I don’t think this country has ever seen.’ He also said of Trump:
‘This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.’
Lindsey Graham said: ‘He’s a race-baiting xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for.’
Marco Rubio said: ‘We’re on the verge of having someone take over the conservative movement who is a con artist,’ and called Trump, ‘the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency.’
All of this was true When these people were Trump’s opponents in the quest for the nomination, none of them shied away from telling the truth about him. Now they have been cowed into obsequiousness.
Trump didn’t change, but his relationship to power did: when he won he had it, and the Republicans swarmed to him like moths to a flame, [or more like vultures to a corpse].
Power, in politics, changes everything. Politicians are desperate for power the way a drowning person is desperate for air. But in politics, there are levels of proximity: The closer you are, the stronger you are You can possess or be in proximity to it.
Republicans in Washington turned their backs on everything they believed. Trump created a mob. He recruited traditional conservatives into it. He was in full control of it.
To a politician, a mob can look like a movement. It can look like power. So, they caved to that which they could consort with: they feigned ignorance of the ways they had accurately derided Trump so that, one day, they might harness the white nationalist throngs he unleashed.”
I attended a rally for Jeb Bush back in Davenport, Iowa at St. Ambrose University, accompanied by a Republican friend, and we listened to Jeb Bush (in 2016) say, “You can’t insult your way to the White House.” As it turns out, Jeb was wrong, and you actually CAN insult your way to the White House and remain there for 4 long years insulting friends and foe alike! And some of those insults were aimed at our long-time allies, which is even more damaging.
Republicans put their personal ambitions over the preservation of America. Maybe they thought that whatever damage Trump did would be easily repaired, so they would simply trudge through it until his time in office was at its end.
Well, it is now at its end, and he seems to be doing more damage than ever—or as much damage as ever.
The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a shocking thing to behold. But so much of what has occurred during the Trump presidency has been shocking.
There is no telling what Trump might attempt to do in his final days in office.”
For those of us who have read his niece, Mary Trump’s, book “Too Much and Never Enough” or have viewed “Unfit,” Dan Partland’s fine Amazon documentary, we realize that there is nothing this man, this criminal, will stop at. Nothing.
“Even if Trump leaves office without further damage, the damage he has done is lasting and many of the people who blindly support him will persist. (The militias, the Proud Boys, QAnon, the white nationalists, are not going away).
We may be getting rid of Trump. But we are not getting rid of “Trumpism.” The aftertaste of this toxic presidency will linger.
Now we have to ask a very serious question: What do we do now as a society and as a body politic? Do we simply turn the page and hope for a better day, “let bygones be bygones”? (It seems, to me that most Republicans speaking on the floor today want to simply sweep aside what has occurred, punish the common street flunkies who are being rounded up, but ignore the head of the serpent, DJT.) Or do we seek some form of justice, to hold people accountable for taking this country to the brink? (And let it be known that this extends to those at the very top.)
I say that we must prosecute all people who have committed crimes and punish all those who have broken rules. The rule of law can’t simply be for the common man. It must also be for the exalted man. Because only then will the ideas of fairness and justice for all have meaning.