Win McNamee/Pool via AP
Donald Trump’s resort to openly fascist demagoguery, by suggesting, before a crowd of his supporters, that Democrats who didn’t clap for him during his State of the Union speech are “treasonous,” puts him on par with any two-bit, tinhorn dictator (“Democrats who didn’t clap ‘un-American,’ Trump says,” Page A9, Feb. 6). While it’s no surprise that such an immature and easily bruised ego as his would demand such ritualistic kowtowing, exemplified by sycophantic Republican enablers such as Paul Ryan and Mike Pence, it should be remembered that whipping up a crowd at a campaign-style rally with “red meat” throwaway lines like that has been standard practice for the so-called party of Lincoln for a long time.
In 1992, at the Republican National Convention, party chairman Richard Bond contrasted Democrats with the GOP by saying, “We are America, they are not America.”
In their decades-long quest to destroy the New Deal and funnel ever more lucre to their wealthiest donors, Republicans have become the enemies of working-class people. Yet despite their retrograde policies, they continue to win elections, using divisive, hate-filled rhetoric and scapegoating, while subverting democracy through gerrymandering and voter suppression. That’s about as un-American as you can get.
Re “Pentagon ‘brainstorming’ on military parade request” (Page A2, Feb. 7): President Trump’s effort to organize a huge military parade in Washington is, to use his own word, “un-American.” The United States has always been strong, but it has projected admirable soft power. The spectacle of Trump on a reviewing stand saluting the missiles, tanks, and other hardware brandished by our troops would be reminiscent of Red Square or Pyongyang parades. Such an expensive event would symbolize the values not of America but of a country that might shoot first — one that seeks to dominate — or of an America that fears not being feared. Will American soldiers be trained to goose-step by the stands?
Despots that our president admires create lavish military shows in their capitals to project their power. Trump should stand above these leaders and not place himself beside them, as a figure on a reviewing stand.
Let us honor our military strength in a more appropriate manner.
Last month, our president called on Pentagon planners to arrange a large military parade in Washington to showcase our fighting forces and their equipment.
I am appalled that, apparently, no one burst this insane bubble — not the secretary of defense, not the chief of staff, no one. Our troops and the planning staff are engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and are dealing with at least two other potential adversaries _ Iran and North Korea. Their time is fully occupied.
There will be time enough for a grand parade when all the troops are home. Time enough for a grand parade when our conflicts with other countries have been resolved.
The two parents sat tensely on opposite sides of the table in my small office. As the principal of a school, it was not unusual for me to meet with the parents of one of our students. What made this occasion so tense was that these two parents had recently finalized a bitter divorce.
As the father began to speak about why I was being unfair to him and favoring his spouse’s position, I interrupted and said, “You may think that the school is not supposed to take sides in this kind of family dispute. That is false. We always do take a side — we are on the side of the child.”
With the Nunes memo, it is clear that the Republicans are claiming that special counsel Robert Mueller is taking a side by aligning with the Democrats in the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. They are right in believing that he is taking a side. Mueller is on the side of the US Constitution and the rule of law, as he should be.
Now, more than ever, we need ethical public servants, such as Mueller, who have the integrity to stand up for our democracy.
A magician often accompanies a sleight of one hand with a flourish of the other. This move appears to be familiar to the White House, too. As President Trump has done in the past, with an executive order early last year that initiated the watering down of Dodd-Frank during the early chaos of the Muslim travel ban, so has he done with the enforcement of sanctions against Russia. This time, the trick is treacherous: an outright refusal, obscured under the smokescreen of the Nunes memo, to enforce sanctions against Russia that were almost unanimously passed by Congress (98-2 in the Senate, 419-3 in the House).
The illusion has gone off sensationally. Reporters and pundits in the media have poured ink and breath into the Nunes memo, yet Trump’s refusal to enforce sanctions against Russia has floated on without illumination. Americans should not be so quick to overlook this disappearing act. President Trump is under scrutiny amid his administration’s questionable interactions with Russian officials and agents. Whether or not he has betrayed his own countrymen in dealings with Russia, failure to enforce the sanctions passed by Congress (and that he himself signed) is a dereliction of presidential duty.
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