Little Rock It is going past bizarre into the realm of just plain scary. We’re past the wrong-headed witch hunts and conspiracies of Senator Joe McCarthy, and have gone into the territory of bull goose loonies where there are no boundaries. Every time we come to a point where we believe we’ve hit bottom, and it simply cannot get any worse, darned, if it doesn’t get even worse than we might have ever imagined. We have now exceeded the ability of traditional governmental “checks and balances” to keep us from gyrating any known course.
Current cases in point are almost too numerous to list, but here are some highlights.
- The New York Times talks about two Trumps with the Jekyll and Hyde of President Trump throwing red meat to the crowd on the border and in his Phoenix campaign rally threatening to shut down the government over the wall, threatening the media as “sick” and “un-American,” and calling out members of his own Republican Party, and then what they call Teleprompter Trump in Reno the next day to the American Legion. Whoa, Nellie!
- The Justice Department subpoenas a webhosting company from Los Angeles for 1.3 million records on individuals including everything from soup to nuts who visited a site they were hosting to coordinate protests around Trump’s inauguration in a huge breach of privacy and political overreach that would be more common in Egypt, China, or Russia. Thankfully, the company refuses and makes the refusal public, and Justice amends its request to only 200 people who were charged with various offenses during the protests.
- And, of course there is President Trump’s response to Charlottesville, its hate, violence, and murder, where first he tweets that both sides are to blame, then the next day he goes to the White House and calls out hate groups and appropriately condemns them, and then the next day goes back to his country club hangout and doubles down and retracts the amended statement, once again saying there were “good people on both sides” and, worse, defending the Confederate statutes, claiming they are part of history “and tradition,” and equating Confederate generals with Washington and Jefferson.
Enough already, but when will elected officials come to their senses and do what is necessary to reign President Trump in? What is happening to the historic, fail safe protection of American democracy, the much vaunted “checks and balances?” As every veteran of a school class in American history or civics knows, the firewall of democracy in the United States is supposed to be the countervailing power of the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. If the executive branch is out of control, can we really count on a Congress led by Republican Speaker Ryan and Republican Senate Majority Leader O’Connell to actually put their feet down and protect democracy and the Constitution or will party loyalty and promises to well-heeled individual and corporate donors make a mockery of that? On the judicial side, when we had a partisan takeover of the Supreme Court to prevent a Democratic appointment under President Obama and assure a Republican control under President Trump, can we really expect they will protect us from Trump?
We’re in the area of wishing and hoping, and that’s not enough to allow any of us to sleep easy in the time of Trump, whichever one is pretending to govern today, I should add.