Think Snow

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I'm Glad Your 401(k) Is Growing But....

     Recently a few intelligent Republicans I know have raved about how well the economy and their investments are doing with Donald Trump in the White House. A fellow at the gym asked whether it didn’t make me happy that more people were working. Yes, it does, and I’m pleased when our investment account numbers go up, mainly because we don’t have monthly checks coming in from any company I worked for. But this country should be about more than money, shouldn’t it?

     Count me as a member of AA, Angry and Ashamed. Angry and Ashamed of what we’ve become. Truth and facts aren’t valued. The president of the United States is a habitual liar. He was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it. Who could believe that? A five year old? 

     “Oh, I know he exaggerates. All politicians do, but my 401(k) is doing real well.”

     One day he’s raving about WikiLeaks, and later he knows nothing about it. In October, 2016, he said his administration would “immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare.” Did that happen? It was all wind and fluff and lies.

     There doesn’t seem to be a living dictator he doesn’t like. He said he and the despot running North Korea “fell in love.” Pause and look at that sentence and how idiotic that claim is.

     “Oh, I wish he hadn’t said that, but my portfolio is doing fine.”

     Mexicans are rapists. What a Christian thing to say, yes? And all the church-going Republicans in and out of Washington spoke up and condemned him for that, right? He mocked John McCain who spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war. And many of the religious conservatives among us didn’t say a word.

     “Politics is a rough sport, you know. We’ve got enough saved now to put in a new deck and pool in the backyard."

     Vladimir Putin tells the truth but U.S. intelligence agencies don’t. When Putin and Trump met in Helsinki, the only other American in the room was a translator. We still don’t know what they discussed. Is it none of our business?

     He claimed he would pick the “best people” for his administration. Did he? He picked an acting attorney general connected to a company accused of fraud. How many of his cabinet picks have left under a cloud? Why did so many people associated with Trump lie at first about their meetings with Russians during the 2016 campaign? Could it be that they knew they shouldn’t have been doing that? How many people who worked for him have been indicted? 

     I spent 45 years in newsrooms. Was I “an enemy of the people” when I worked in the English language newsroom of RFE providing news to be broadcast into communist-controlled Eastern Europe? I wasn’t and people working in journalism today aren’t enemies of the people. Such calumny mimics the language of dictators.

     The United States has a serious border-immigration problem. What is he doing to try to fix it? Making serious proposals that stand a chance of approval in Congress or merely continuing what he does best, propagating hatred and fear?

     “I support my president. If he says these scum bags are coming over here just to go to Disneyland, I believe him. Why would he make up something like that?”

     Indeed. Why? 

     How far into the weeds have we gone when someone who has had multiple bankruptcies is considered a successful businessman? Who wants to bet that when all the digging is over he will be found to have been laundering money for the Russians?

     Russia is interfering with our election process. Has he focused public attention on the issue, demanded more be done to stop or at least diminish the interference?

     “Say what you want, what he’s done isn’t nearly as bad as Hillary destroying all those emails. Lock her up!”

     Isn’t it wonderful to have a president:

who announces decisions on Twitter with no consultation with other government officials;

who doesn’t denounce a top leader in Saudi Arabia after his minions literally butchered a journalist who was living in the United States; 

who you wouldn’t want your daughter or sister or niece or aunt or classmate or hair dresser to date?

     I’m angry and ashamed. I believe there are T-shirts that say something like, “If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.”

     In the delusional world of Donald J. Trump and his supporters, he’s made America great again. He and they claim the United States is respected around the world now. Right. That’s why delegates laughed at him when he spoke to the United Nations. Ridiculing allies and praising dictatorships is the new norm.

     For those consumed by the rise of their investments, how long do they think it will take to repair all the damage Trump is doing to our institutions, our relations with allies and our neglect of nations that need help, especially those south of us?

     I spent most of the 70s living in Munich and most Germans I met admired the United States. What’s there to admire today? A president who doesn’t read, apparently spends much of his time watching television and posts nonsense and distortions hour after hour on Twitter?

     I’d prefer someone other than Joe Biden to be the Democratic Party nominee for president next year, but he is absolutely right: the vote in 2020 is about the “soul” of America.

     I don’t give a damn how fat your 401(k) is. I’m angry and ashamed, and you should be too.