Speaking Truth to Power

Can you imagine if Barack Obama ever once did any of the things Donald Trump does every week? Imagine if he called to console a widow of a slain soldier and remarked that the soldier knew what he was getting into when he signed up. And what if Obama then said the widow’s and two other ear-witnesses’ accounts were “a total fabrication”? What if he lied every single day, and then lied about the lies? What if he deliberately tried to provoke an unstable dictator into shooting off his nuclear weapons?

What would have happened if Vladimir Putin successfully intervened in a US election to elect Barack Obama? I believe no matter whether Democrats or Republicans were in control of Congress, Obama would have been impeached and convicted and then tried for treason and convicted, or, more likely, assassinated.

So where are the Republicans who put America ahead of party enough to speak truth to power? Except for a few courageous exceptions, the silence has been deafening, but in the last two weeks, two more prominent conservative voices have spoken up.

In a speech days ago at a forum organized by the George W. Bush Institute, former President George W. Bush laid out a plan for returning America to its former greatness by returning to our ideals. In a speech that every American should read or hear, he never mentioned our current president by name, but that wasn’t necessary. He said,

“We know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy…

“Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication…

“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together…

“But foreign aggressions — including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence — should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion…

“We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed…

“We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them…”

President Bush has gone up tremendously in my eyes. If you haven’t already, you can read the whole speech by googling “George W. Bush speech October 2017.”

Another conservative voice is the columnist George Will. I often (usually?) disagree with his opinions, but, as an English major, I am always in awe of his vocabulary and command of the language. In an op-ed (google “George Will Sinister Figures” to find it), Will made these comments:

“With eyes wide open, Mike Pence eagerly auditioned for the role as Donald Trump’s poodle. Now comfortably leashed, he deserves the degradations that he seems too sycophantic to recognize as such. He did Trump’s adolescent bidding with last Sunday’s preplanned virtue pageant of scripted indignation — his flight from the predictable sight of players kneeling during the national anthem at a football game… Pence is a reminder that no one can have sustained transactions with Trump without becoming too soiled for subsequent scrubbing…

“Trump’s energy, unleavened by intellect and untethered to principle, serves only his sovereign instinct to pander to those who adore him as much as he does. Unshakably smitten, they are impervious to the Everest of evidence that he disdains them as a basket of gullibles… He gives his gullibles not governance by tantrum, but tantrum as governance…

“The alt-right insists that real nationhood requires cultural homogeneity rooted in durable ethnic identities. This is the alt-right’s alternative foundation for the nation Lincoln said was founded on the principle that all people are, by nature, equal… Trump is, of course, innocent of this (or any other) systemic thinking. However, within the ambit of his vast, brutish carelessness are some people with sinister agendas and anti-constitutional impulses…”

So where are the other Republican voices speaking out? George Will, after describing the evil of waiting too long to speak the truths that are evident, wrote,

“Perhaps there shall be a bedraggled parade of repentant Republicans resembling those supine American communists who, after Stalin imposed totalitarianism, spawned the gulag, engineered the Ukraine famine, launched the Great Terror and orchestrated the show trials, were theatrically disillusioned by his collaboration with Hitler: You, sir, have gone too far.”

If the parade doesn’t begin soon, our democracy will be in even greater danger. Here’s to those courageous few out in front of the parade.

About admin

Rusty Harper is outrageously happy because he is retired and living with the love of his life, Pat Callbeck Harper in Helena, Montana. So why does he inflict these ramblings on the rest of us, you ask? Because you deserve it. If you aren’t smart enough not to read this stuff, then you have to suffer through it. Maybe that builds character, though I doubt it.

Think of all the positive things you could do with the time you are wasting on things that occur to me in the night and then sound strange even to me when I write them down in the morning. Bake a cake. Complain to your Senator. Run for Congress. Do something.

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