When one thinks about it, there’s a good explanation why millions of Donald Trump supporters cannot acknowledge that scarcely a day goes by when he doesn’t disgrace the office he now holds. Were they to acknowledge that disgrace, it would call into question their faulty judgment, and they simply cannot tolerate that thought. Only when he lets them down — as he inevitably will — will they admit their tragic mistake.
It’s become commonplace among such people to accept that, when members of the global news media — with few exceptions — question the lies presented daily by the Trump administration, they are presenting “fake news.” When Trump — the President of the United States — resorts to disgusting personal attacks on women who criticize him, they say he’s just showing that he’s a “fighter.” When Trump himself stands before the world and makes statements that are patently untrue, his supporters say it’s just because he’s new to the political world and doesn’t understand protocol and convention. His minions simply ignore the truth that he assesses everything that takes place in his world by how it makes him feel. If anyone is purveying “fake news,” it is this President and his mouthpieces. Trump is simply unable to accept the notion that he is not a king who can issue one command after another and expect it to be obeyed. American values — civility, decency and honor among them — have vanished within the Trump administration. And millions of his supporters are willing to accept that.
Republicans in Congress, almost to a person, have become craven cowards, unwilling to directly challenge this man who sees the office of the president as his personal domain and a final recognition of his greatness. Even our own U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, while willing to occasionally criticize some of Trump’s most egregious behavior, clings to the notion that somehow he deserves deference simply because of the office he holds. That is simply nonsense. In life, even when one occupies the office of the presidency, one must earn respect. It should not simply be handed out. And, lest we forget, the election was not the landslide constantly claimed by Trump supporters (yet another lie). Hillary Clinton outpolled Trump by nearly 3 million votes, and other presidential candidates received nearly 8 million additional votes. Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, just 107,000 votes in three states effectively decided the election.
It would be laughable — if it weren’t so tragic — that, even in the face of intense and overwhelming public opposition, congressional Republicans remain bent on repealing the Affordable Health Care Act and replacing it with a measure that would leave millions of Americans without health insurance while providing a massive tax cut for the most wealthy 2 percent in the country, all under the false claim that the “free market” will be the answer to the prayers of those poor and middle class people desperately in need of affordable health care. More than any other segment of our economy, health care is the segment in which the profit motive ought to be de-emphasized in favor of human need. As the most wealthy nation in the world, there is no legitimate excuse for the United States not to guarantee that every one of its citizens should have access to comprehensive, affordable health care. All it requires is the will to do so.
As a former Republican myself, I have lost all political respect — and increasingly am losing personal respect — for any and all Republicans who continue to advocate so-called “free market” forces as the solution to all of this nation’s problems. First and foremost, the “free market” is not free at all. Big agriculture controls our food market. The pharmaceutical industry has an iron-clad grip on the price of the drugs millions of people depend upon for their very lives. Big oil successfully fights every effort to challenge its hold on the nation’s energy supply. Our politicians in Washington — especially conservative Republicans — continue to be the best that money can buy, and woe unto those of us without the money to gain necessary access to the decision-making process. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.
As a role model for our children and grandchildren — no matter what one’s political persuasion might be — Donald Trump is everything that we do not want or need. It is simply astounding that so many Christian men and women can turn their backs on the teachings of Christ and continue to support a president whose daily behavior runs counter to those teachings.
Sadly, it may be that there’s a real truth at play here — that we get the kind of government we deserve. If so, it’s time to change that.
Hugh Bowden is a lifelong political observer and a retired journalist. He lives in Ellsworth.