I don’t want to be the person who wakes up every morning hoping to hear that President Trump had a heart attack or a stroke. I don’t want to wish for Mitch McConnell to have an unfortunate encounter with an 18-wheeler — or Kellyanne, or Lindsey, or the dude who switched parties last week, hoping for a Trump bump.
I realized recently that an unintended consequence of resisting the Trump presidency is becoming someone you don’t want to be. People of good heart and good will, who feel threatened by Trump’s crimes and misdemeanors, have been pushed to excesses in speech and thought that never would have surfaced before the ugly assaults on democracy by Team Trump.
The dissonance in D.C. is crazy-making. We see one thing with our own eyes and are told something else.
After being pounded for years by the tsunami of threats and falsehoods coming from the White House, those of us on the other side have begun to fray. We witness offensive behavior, alarming decisions and indifference to suffering, and our anger metastasizes into contempt and hatred.
Trump’s authoritarian behavior leaves many people feeling intensely frustrated and helpless. People who hold themselves to a high standard of speech, behavior and even thought are showing the strain of three years of the Donald Trump Road Show.
Still, we can resist with class and dignity. Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today, wrote, “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents . . . That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
In The New York Times, Steve Schmidt, George Conway III, Rick Wilson and John Weaver, all former Republicans and/or Conservatives, wrote, “Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced them with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. In a recent survey, a majority of Republican voters reported that they consider Mr. Trump a better president than Lincoln . . .”
Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote in The Washington Post that Trump’s greatest folly is “his disgraceful denial of the threat posed by catastrophic climate change. No matter who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump’s open hostility toward any action on climate will elevate it to a defining issue in the 2020 campaign.”
USA Today recently wrote, “In his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Trump resembles not so much Clinton as he does Richard Nixon, another corrupt president who tried to cheat his way to reelection.”
This isn’t partisan politics as usual. It is precisely the type of abuse the founders had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton supported a robust presidency, but worried about “a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper” coming to power. Impeachment, Hamilton wrote, was a mechanism to protect the nation “from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”
The L.A. Times wrote, “All presidential elections are uniquely consequential, but a good case can be made that the next one is the most important of our lives. The time has come to undo the great mistake of 2016 and drive Trump out of office at the ballot box. It is time to pull our country out of the illiberal abyss into which it is sinking and put it on a path toward reason and fairness and empathy and constructive engagement with the world.”
Let us keep faith with ourselves and not let the Trump effect drag us into the gutter with him.
For myself, I will not pass along mean-spirited anti-Trump jokes. Our political crisis is too dire. I will not make fun of Melania or the other Trumpsters, although satire is tempting. I will not exaggerate, contort or misrepresent the facts to suit my political point of view.
What I will do is continue to have this forum for ideas and debate, continue to express my opinions and, most important, hold love in my heart, and let that trump hate.
Copyright 2019 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.