Balancing Friends, Tyrants and Love of Enemy

John…

Thanks for one of the best reads I’ve seen on the “never say die” and dangerous efforts of Donald Trump and his sycophants to destroy the checks and balances of the American Constitution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/23/robert-kagan-constitutional-crisis/  (by Robert Kagan).

The evidence is clear. Trump is a dictator in waiting. He is waiting to join the latter day ranks of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito. He is waiting to join the present day ranks of today’s world dictators… Duterte (Philippines), Kim Jong-un (North Korea), Orban (Hungary), Putin (Russia), Xi Jinping (China), Erdogan (Syria), Duda (Poland), Bolsonaro (Brazil), Biya (Cameroon), etc. He has already joined the ranks of latter day media czar, Randolph Hearst… who used his nationwide, media pulpit to brainwash America by implanting his own world vision of reality into the American psyche. Anybody up for a Trump rally???

Some of the many insightful observations in the 6/3/2021 Opinion Essay by Robert Kagan include… 

Today’s arguments over the filibuster will seem quaint in three years if the American political system enters a crisis for which the Constitution offers no remedy.

Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015. They underestimated the extent of his popularity and the strength of his hold on his followers; they underestimated his ability to take control of the Republican Party; and then they underestimated how far he was willing to go to retain power. The fact that he failed to overturn the 2020 election has reassured many that the American system remains secure, though it easily could have gone the other way — if Biden had not been safely ahead in all four states where the vote was close; if Trump had been more competent and more in control of the decision-makers in his administration, Congress and the states. As it was, Trump came close to bringing off a coup earlier this year. All that prevented it was a handful of state officials with notable courage and integrity, and the reluctance of two attorneys general and a vice president to obey orders they deemed inappropriate.

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Most Trump supporters are good parents, good neighbors and solid members of their communities. Their bigotry, for the most part, is typical white American bigotry, perhaps with an added measure of resentment and a less filtered mode of expression since Trump arrived on the scene. But these are normal people in the sense that they think and act as people have for centuries. They put their trust in family, tribe, religion and race. Although zealous in defense of their own rights and freedoms, they are less concerned about the rights and freedoms of those who are not like them. That, too, is not unusual. What is unnatural is to value the rights of others who are unlike you as much as you value your own. 

[Translated… Trump, his sycophants and his followers reject the “Do Unto Others” Judeo/Christian ethic for those not of their own tribe… despite pontificating their self-proclaimed status as the “saviors” of Christianity.]

John…

At this stage of my life (and probably all stages before), I have no qualms about turning away from past or present friends who refuse to see what’s there to be seen. Donald Trump is a tyrant in waiting… a would-be King. Even if Trump stood in front of America draped in purple garments, sitting on a throne with a purloined crown, millions of Americans would refuse to see what is there to be seen. Anybody up for a little “1st Amendment walkabout” through Lafayette Square with the Secret Service shooting pepper spray at peaceful protesters so the Donald can have a Bible, photo-op as an uninvited guest at St. John’s Church???  What the new IG report about Lafayette Square and the … – Vox You say, “Count you in,” then I say “I Count you out.”

I realize the stakes for control of the heart and soul of America and the American way of life couldn’t be higher. One the one side are the self-serving autocrats, their sycophants and supporters… those who drape themselves in the American flag, call themselves “true patriots” and righteously give us their sophomoric, self serving, “pretendversion of the Constitution. On the other side, are the less self-serving who compassionately understand that we are all God’s children… black, brown, asian, white, capitalist, laborer, heterosexual, homosexual, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu.      

John, time and political circumstance (2021) does not allow me the “superficiality of pretend friendship” with old friends who are the followers of King Trump or followers of Trump’s compromised sycophants… sycophants with names like John McConnell (Amy Coney Barrett’s case is different than Merrick Garland’s… a damnable lie), Rep Kevin McCarthy (I dare not speak out against Trump’s call for insurrection; “please take me back, Donald”… a man lacking in backbone), Rep Josh Hawley (giving a raise fist salute to the Capitol insurrectionists… surely a true “American Patriot”), Rep Andrew Clyde (The insurrection was just a “normal tourist visit” through the Halls of Congress… surely a dunce) and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (who refers to the January 6th Capital intruders as “political prisoners”… another dunce, true believer and ardent follower of the Q… as in Q’Anon). 

John, the stakes are important. I refuse to tolerate our old friends whose blind allegiance to “all things Trump” is second only to their lack of logic, deductive reasoning and critical analysis skills… including our grade school and high school classmates with names like… Cook, Trewartha, DiPonio, Banano, Cerrito, Beaufait, Flynn, Roger the Pin (head) or even Gunga Din. 

  • I will not abide those who apply the Golden Rule to… only their tribe. 
  • I will not abide those who make no effort to understand a 9th Beatitude… “Blessed are those who have never suffered, but feel the plight of those who have.” 
  • I will not abide those who refuse to search for and find their own confirmation biases and modify those biases… as required by “intellectual honesty.” 
  • I will not abide sophomoric lectures from those who tell us about their constitutional rights despite never having studied the Constitution or the cases that interpret that grand document… a document our Founding Fathers gave up their lives for (including those who were subject to General George Washington’s mandatory vaccinations at Valley Forge). Did George Washington Order Troops To Get Vaccinated …
  • I will not abide the attempt of White Supremacists to rewrite the shameful, 400-year-old history that disadvantaged black souls and banished them to the poverty of Black neighborhoods… with centuries of slavery (1619-1865), Jim Crow laws of “separate but equal” (1865-1965) and de jure and de facto second class citizenship thereafter (1965 to the present 2021).
  • I will not abide the half-baked, sound bite lectures on Socialism from those who do not understand America’s safety nets for all… #1. Safety nets for the poor (based on the message of Jesus… “When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, thirsty, you gave me to drink,” #2 Safety nets for the middle class (Covid stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and billions to American farmers) and #3 Safety nets for the rich (to keep the reckless rich from crashing the American economy… such as the $750 billion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds given to Wall Street Investment Banks and General Motors to keep them afloat during the Great Depression of 2008, financial crisis).
  • But, as an “act of the will,” I will abide the precept of “love your enemies,” and I will pray that they find the best of American Democracy (and Bill of Rights’ freedoms) for them and their families… despite their willingness to lay asunder Democracy and the freedoms of the Bill of Rights. But, loving my enemies does not allow me to countenance their small talk, their intellectual dishonesty, nor their ignorance and lack of experience on all matters political or constitutional.

I realize the stakes for control of the heart and soul of America and the American way of life hangs in the balance… right now in 2021. One the one side are the self-serving autocrats, their sycophants and supporters and the rest of those who drape themselves in the American flag, and call themselves “true patriots” as they so righteously deliver their sophomoric, self-serving, “pretendversion of the Constitution. Would they hug the Bill of Rights rather than some symbolic flag of cloth.

 

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On the other side are the less self-serving who compassionately understand that we are all God’s children… black, brown, asian, white, capitalist, laborer, heterosexual, homosexual, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu. Would that the flag huggers understand that the “Do Unto Others” message applies to all Tribes… not just the tribe they belong to.

Fred Lauck,
Copyrighted 2021