How low will Americans allow our elected leaders go?
By Sparta Live | December 4, 2017 9:21 am
Democratic Dialog – by Debra Wines
I have been asking myself variations of that question since the last election. Lately, without provocation, Donald Trump and Republicans have done their best to show they have not hit rock bottom yet. Mr. Trump has surpassed even my lowest expectations by the things he says and does, due to the fact that he is the president. After 11 months in office, there are some Republicans, in Congress, who can no longer justify his behavior.
The majority of elected Republicans and several Democrats have shown by their votes, they do not really work FOR the majority of Americans. Instead, they have shown us they work for the large corporations and special interest groups who contribute substantial amounts of money to their campaigns. If you have to ask how and why this happened, you only have to go back to the Supreme Court decision that was pushed through by Citizens United to give corporations the same status as “people.” Remember Mitt Romney, while campaigning in 2012, condescendingly telling voters “corporations are people too?” That ruling was a dark day in the never-ending battle for campaign reform. American citizens have been pushing, for a very long time, to get “big” money out of campaigns. Over the years, there have been senators and congressmen who tried to reform campaign funding, and, in some cases, they had little successes. But more often than not, their attempts were unsuccessful or were so watered down that they became impotent.
In my opinion, I think some of the people who voted for Donald Trump assumed he was too rich to be corrupted by others. Donald Trump, of course, told the public this was true because he was “self-funding” his campaign. It certainly didn’t hurt him that he was able to get more free media coverage than any other candidate. He was on TV news channels, social media, blogs, online news outlets, and in print media. He never paid a dime for this coverage that inundated America 24/7. The constant coverage of Trump’s ”over-the-top” behavior and outrageous statements started on the day he descended the escalator at Trump Towers to make the announcement that he was running for president of the United States of America.
Who ever thought of his campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again,” was a marketing genius. That slogan addressed a variety of issues for every American. Trump let that slogan sink in over the months, and he soon realized what issues were “triggers” for the Republican voters that he wanted to support him. It even worked for Republican members of Congress. The one major issue Trump focused on was the hate that he and others felt toward President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Taking that hate, he was able to expand the negative feelings for Obama and Clinton and then proceeded to target policies and issues the alt-right evangelicals; Tea Party members; large corporations; and the well-funded special interest groups wanted accomplished for years. He was the answer to their prayers.
Mr. Trump also focused on pushing his own hate-filled agenda against the diversity of millions of people living in our country who are not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants with a long history of multiple generations living in the United States. He gave the Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and every hate group permission to spread their hate and instill fear wherever they gathered. Donald Trump set back civil rights and equality to the dark ages and made it OK to openly bully anyone who was considered to be of less value as a fellow human being.
Some members of the Republican Party tried to “tone down the spin” on Mr. Trump’s rantings and the effect his comments were having on the general public. Some publicly admitted they did not support Mr. Trump’s bravado and questioned his ability to perform the duties of the presidency. All that changed once Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president. It seemed every single Republican who voiced their disagreement before his nomination suddenly became mute or issued “no comment” statements. That was not going to work for those who were up for re-election; they couldn’t jump on Mr. Trump’s bandwagon quick enough. They have remained there, whooping it up and doing their best to give Donald Trump everything he wants, no matter what the consequences will be for the majority of Americans. Let’s not forget these consequences will be felt by ALL Americans living and working here and outside America, like the members of our military.
Donald Trump had grandiose plans for himself as president of the United States. The needs and desires of the majority of Americans were never his concern. He wanted to and needed to win that title. He did and said everything he could to accomplish his goal. From the day he was elected, Mr. Trump never took the job seriously nor did he make it a top priority to learn how to become a president, in any way. Our first indication of how much Mr. Trump didn’t understand what was to be expected of a president of the United States was his Inauguration speech. It seemed to be a compilation of his campaign speeches, which were nothing more than negative views of America and its people and his lack of details for Making America Great Again. His first speech, as president, kept feeding the rhetoric that everything wrong with America and Americans’ lives was because of foreigners; people who weren’t “Christians;” President Obama; and people who weren’t just like him.
On “day one” Donald Trump started fulfilling his dream as ruler of America. He will go down in our history as the man who filled his cabinet and administration with the richest and most unqualified people our country has ever seen. Along the way, Mr. Trump has shown very little understanding of the need for diplomacy and respect for our allies. Yet, he has continually shown great appreciation and admiration to every dictator, pseudo-dictator, and leader who rules with an iron fist, except Kim Jong-un. The Twitter/bullying war he has declared on the North Korean leader is not only unprecedented by any other world leader, but it is either the most insane thing Mr. Trump has done or he has made some kind of deal with Kim Jong-un to give them both a strange kind of “status” that no other world leaders have right now, probably because they wouldn’t want it.
On the domestic front, the healthcare that would be better, cheaper, and available to ALL Americans turned out to be a HUGE lie and a disaster for Trump, his administration, and the Republican Party. The American people spoke up and demanded better from our elected legislators. Our healthcare system is still in flux, leaving millions feeling uncertain about the future of their medical care. That’s OK; the Republican Congressional leadership will continue to chip away at the Affordable Care Act via their “tax reform bill” or by some other means, if that should fail. Donald Trump wants the Affordable Care Act gone because it was Obama’s. Since the Republicans had seven-plus years to get rid of it, they now have to live up to the promise they made to Donald Trump to erase any and every part of the Affordable Care Act. He is not happy with them since they have failed miserably to accomplish that “simple” task.
The Republicans in Congress have cheered Donald Trump every time he has signed an executive order that diminishes or eliminates any of President Obama’s executive orders. It doesn’t matter that by doing away with everything President Obama did will feasibly hurt many Americans. The proposed budget for the next year will be devastating for the majority of Americans, but Donald Trump and his administration do not care. In previous columns, I have named the various government agencies that are currently understaffed, and the proposed budget cuts will make them all but useless to provide necessary services when needed. The question we should be asking ourselves is “why”? Why does it appear that Donald Trump, the Republican Party, along with their benefactors, want to destroy the majority of Americans’ lives? This is in no way “Making America Great Again.”
If Donald Trump and his supporters really wanted to make America Great, they would ensure American workers’ wages would rise along with the level of corporate profits and corporation executives’ salaries and benefits. They would be doing everything possible to give ALL Americans a healthcare system that put the needs of patients first, instead of the profits for insurance and pharmaceutical companies. They would make sure we had a top-notch public educational system for every child in our country from pre-school through college or technical school. They would make sure the workers, in America, had all the necessary training needed for the coming century. They would do everything possible to give every American a justice system that was equal for all. They would fight to make sure every one of us was guaranteed our civil liberties and rights. They would turn their backs on the NRA and use common sense regarding gun laws.
Just when you think the Trump administration and his Republican supporters can’t go any lower than they already have, they plan and discuss a “tax reform” bill behind closed doors, deny open debate, and do exactly what their campaign backers want and not what is good for the majority of Americans. For all the screaming the Republicans did about President Obama and the deficit under his administration, they don’t seem to care about the size of the deficit when they are in charge. Adding $1.5-plus trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years doesn’t seem to faze them. They are more than willing to strip the American people of our Social Security and Medicare. An issue that has recently surfaced is the tax cuts that are proposed for the ultra-rich and large corporations will be permanent. The rest of us will be subject to tax changes after 10 years. Again, why are the majority of Americans going to be made responsible for increased debt and deficits while we lose more benefits and our quality of life becomes more and more insecure?
I don’t know what Donald Trump, his supporters, and the Republican Party see as their end game. While trying not to be a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist, I can’t see anything about their proposed legislation, behavior, and actions that makes me feel as if America will be getting anywhere near “Great” for the majority of us, especially under Donald Trump’s administration.