A Week for All Time

Timothy Egan, New York Times, June 17, 2016

They will remember, a century from now, who stood up to the tyrant Donald Trump and who found it expedient to throw out the most basic American values–the “Vichy Republicans,” as the historian Ken Burns called them in his Stanford commencement speech.

The shrug from Mitch McConnell, the twisted explanation of Paul Ryan, who said Trump is a racist and a xenophobe, but he’s ours–party before country. As well, the duck-and-hide Republicans, so quick to whip out their pocket copy of the Constitution, now nowhere to be seen when the foundation of that same document is under assault by the man carrying their banner.

They will remember, in classrooms and seminars, those who wrote Trump off as entertainment, a freak show and ratings spike, before he tried to muzzle a free press, and came for you–using a page from another tyrant, Vladimir Putin, admired by the homegrown monster.

As well, they will call out the enablers. In the run-up to the presidential primary season, few candidates received more favorable press coverage than Donald Trump, the Shorenstein Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School found. {snip}

They will remember, in a week that gave us a scary peek into the heart of American darkness, how the civil ties that bind a nation of people from all nations could be shredded. The blood from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, no less a battlefield than Shiloh or Bull Run, was not yet dry when Trump was congratulating himself–a sleep-deprived narcissist on a morning me high. The worst mass shooting in American history was not about the murder of everyday people; it was about him: “Appreciate the congrats for being right.”

{snip}

It comes in such waves, the preposterous lies, the breaches in honor, from this man who wants to use high office to attack his enemies in civil court, who would apply a religious test to fellow citizens, whose mass deportation plan would likely round up the parents of some of the Latinos killed in Orlando. And because it comes in such waves, there is no time to process it all. Was it just a few weeks ago that he attacked a federal judge, hearing a case in which Trump is accused of fraud on a mass scale, because of the judge’s ethnic heritage?

{snip}

In this week of trial and tragedy, Trump showed us how he would govern–by fear, by intimidation, by lies, by turning American against American, by exhibiting all the empathy of a sociopath. Seal this week. Put it in a time capsule. Teach it. History will remember. But come November, will we?

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