When Senator McConnell said he hoped Democrats would treat the new President the way President Obama was treated by Republicans his message was insincere, even if he only meant 45’s cabinet picks. President Obama’s nominees waited an average of 35 days for confirmation, with his nominee for Attorney General taking a full 161 days. Just for perspective, President George W. Bush’s nominees waited 16 days on average. In truth, Senator McConnell wants his guy to be treated better than how he and his cronies treated President Obama. For eight years their behavior was both partisan and petty. President Obama was the only President to literally need to show his birth certificate. President Obama was the only President to face 500 filibusters in the Senate, the only president to be denied a budget hearing, and the only president denied a hearing for his Supreme Court Justice nominee. Senator McConnell himself made the public announcement that the top priority of the GOP would be to deny President Obama a second term. And, although they failed, McConnell and his gang did everything in their power to achieve that end. So today when Senator McConnell whines about Democrat obstructionists he actually knows his GOP has an exclusive on that particular market.
Another fact about the last eight years is: President Obama set a high bar when it comes to political and social discourse. Ideas are up for discussion. Policy can and should be debated, actions analyzed, and rhetoric criticized. But personality is not to be maligned without irrefutable evidence to back up each and every claim. My sincere hope is the men and women of Congress give our newly elected President more respect than the man deserves. Congress should respect the office and the Constitution which established that office. As part of the electorate, I expect them to maintain the high bar set by President Obama. I expect them to refrain from belittling, name calling, and mockery because such behavior reflects negatively on them and does nothing to confront the very real threats our current President poses. And while most are arriving late to the party, this administration must be held to account.
The level of dishonesty, betrayal, and menace America has experienced from the White House since the inauguration IS NOT NORMAL. We cannot afford to be distracted by playground charades or barnyard banter in response. We must be clear about the difference between the petty whining perpetrated by the GOP for the past eight years and the serious danger we face today. POTUS, Bannon, Spicer, and Stephen Miller among others, do not have the American people’s best interests in mind when they enact and defend bans on people who pose no actual danger to Americans. They are not looking out for our safety when they rescind individual civil rights, threaten military action in our city streets, and ignore or make light of real attacks made by home-grown individuals and hate groups. They are not watching out for American interests when they only allow journalists access to White House briefings who routinely stroke their egos, ask soft questions, and report favorably about their actions.
If you are not alarmed by the events of the past month you have either not been watching or your personal privilege has made you comfortable, and blind. The President undermines the Constitution by his abuse of executive power. By-passing Congress, who alone has the ability to make law, levy taxes, and allocate money, his order to build a wall on our border and his threat to place a tariff on Mexico to pay for it are an over-reach of his authority. Our civil liberties are under attack by POTUS as well. His refugee ban has harassed innocent American citizens, sullied blameless immigrants who hold valid visas and green cards, and created fear where none is warranted. Rescinding President Obama’s protection for transgender students has left some of our most vulnerable citizens even more at risk and do nothing but placate the Religious Right. Additionally, several of the administration’s cabinet picks–Betsey DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Steven Mnuchin, and Wilbur Ross–are poised to compromise the effectiveness of or completely deconstruct the departments to which they’ve been appointed.
Yet, given all that, 45’s most treacherous and revealing behavior continues to be his relentless attach on the free press. As a president Thomas Jefferson may have been critical of the press, but as a Founding Father he had a different opinion and with good reason. Writing to Edward Carrington, a delegate to the Continental Congress, Jefferson said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” In other words, Jefferson understood how vital access to information is to the public good, and not just information but truth.
Unlike Jefferson, our current president and his followers labels every fact they don’t like, fake. Paris Dennard, for example, tried to tell Don Lemon of CNN that a story about 45’s travel expenses was fake. And, while it certainly does not show the President in the most flattering light, the $10 million dollars tax payers have shelled out for his multiple weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago is real. Fake News is the garbage Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer have tried to peddle to the American people about a massacre in Bowling Green and voter fraud in California and New Hampshire. They spew assertions without evidence, lies which have been repeated despite being proven false, and misinformation that far too many Americans continue to swallow hook, line, and sinker.
Make no mistake, 45 and friends want power. They are interested in personal gain alone. And, they do not want to be questioned. Frighteningly, the GOP leadership, who could at least hold them at bay have so far been more interested in courting favor. If justice and freedom are to prevail the American people must resist the agenda of this President and defend the fourth estate and the People’s voice.