After more than two years of unrelenting attacks on President Donald Trump, his family, his government officials, and his business associates – unlike anything ever seen in our history – several questions naturally arise:
- What’s the future for Mr. Trump?
- What will happen to any future president who takes the office?
- How will this paradigm affect our system of government?
- How can we stop it?
- Do we want to stop it?
Entire books are being written on these topics, but we’ll try to sketch out some answers in this limited space.
I had a past relative whose hatred of Franklin Roosevelt extended far beyond FDR’s lifetime (and maybe beyond hers). She called FDR the Antichrist and the Beast of the Apolcalypse. (See Revelation 13.) She believed he had wrecked the country, and she refused to listen to more moderate assessments: e.g., his success in keeping the country from going commie during a ruinous economic depression; and his towering leadership through a cataclysmic war against enemies who were as close to pure evil as we’re likely to find. She was adamant on the subject, and could not be dissuaded.
Back in her day, however, political “hate” had boundaries. You could hate someone’s politics without wishing him (or her) actual harm. You didn’t attack a political opponent’s family, or try to ruin his business, or try to get him jailed just because he defeated your preferred candidate in an election and was advancing policies you didn’t like. For the most part, representatives and senators still observed time-honored, mannerly conventions – “I yield to the honorable gentleman from Macungie,” etc. – even if they disagreed with an opponent’s policies and political party. In particular, the man in the Oval Office was always entitled to respect, no matter what you thought of him or his politics. No respectable American, at any societal level, ever sided with foreigners against our president. Political disagreements always ended at the water’s edge.
That was then, but this is now. New politicians and activists have now arisen who know nothing of the old manners, and care even less about observing them. Today it’s all war, all the time, on the president, his family, his associates, his cabinet, and other office-holders of his party. Cabinet officers are harassed as they sit with family members in restaurants. Representatives, senators and staffers of the president’s party are literally gunned down as they play baseball in a public park. Senate hearings for a Supreme Court nominee are disrupted by unruly partisans who refuse to come to order in the hearing-chamber, and who subject senators to angry shouts and threats in elevators and hallways. Whoever heard of such treatment? Ordinary folks can’t help thinking the country is coming apart.
Aftermath at Republican baseball practice – June 24, 2017
On the media front, a strong majority of reporters and commentators are so solidly aligned against Mr. Trump that they actually seem willing to see the country harmed if that will damage the president and degrade his chances for re-election. Nothing that he accomplishes – foreign or domestic – can earn their approval. He has restored the nation’s economy and furnished new employment opportunities for millions. Minority employment levels are the highest in our history. But Mainstream Media organs rarely mention these achievements.
The president can do no right. His entirely reasonable moves to control the flood of illegal immigrants crossing our borders are viciously smeared as “racism” by Democrats and their media echo-chamber. Even the truly beautiful and gracious First Lady, Melania, cannot catch a break, as media fashionistas constantly carp at her attire, her shoes, her hair, and anything else they can find to criticize. (Oh, if only she had Mrs. Obama’s wonderfully buff arms and Olympian sense of style.)
On the foreign front, Democrats in the House of Representatives conducted much-ballyhooed hearings of Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, during the president’s meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Mr. Trump had hoped to make progress toward de-nuclearizing the dangerously unpredictable Hermit Kingdom, but the meetings came to naught when Mr. Jong Un insisted that all economic sanctions on his country must be lifted before any future divestiture of nuclear weapons can occur.
U. S. foreign policy gurus realized, too late, that the North Koreans believed the Cohen-hearings had so weakened Mr. Trump that he would be desperate to come away with some kind of deal – even a bad one. The president confounded that expectation by leaving the conference early, without a deal, but it was clear that Democrats’ showboat Cohen-hearings damaged his attempt to defuse a dangerous situation with North Korea. This brings “loyal opposition” to a new level, bordering on treason.
College campuses are in an uproar, with violent protests against the president being conducted and conservative speakers being driven from podiums by raucous crowds who will not let them speak. In secondary schools, students wearing MAGA hats and shirts are being sent home by teachers who say their attire is “disruptive” or “hateful.” Fake racist and homophobic attacks are being staged to demonstrate how intolerant and hateful the country has become. Actors routinely call Donald Trump our “most racist” president ever, without any credible evidence to support the charge. (Obviously they have never heard of Woodrow Wilson or Andrew Jackson.)
Considering all this, what’s the prospect for the remaining 18 months of Mr. Trump’s term? With the Mueller investigation finally winding down, and no findings of Russian collusion apparent, will things finally calm down so the president can finish his term in relative peace? As John Wayne would say, “Not hardly.” Instead, we can expect criticism and accusations of Mr. Trump to intensify, as more and more wolves join the howling pack of Democrats who hope to replace him in the Oval Office. They are already in full cry. Having accused the president of every crime in the catalog, those banshees will come up with imaginative new charges – probably including mopery, heterosexuality, matriculation, bowdlerism, plagarism, not playing well with others, and consorting with persons of low character. It will be media’s happiest time. There will be no letup.
If Mr. Trump wins re-election, the din of accusation and “investigation” will escalate to unheard-of levels. “Indictments” of Mr. Trump for all manner of offenses will be brought by prosecutors in numerous Democrat-controlled townships, counties, cities and states across the country. TV talking heads and other purveyors of ignorant twaddle will rhapsodize over the prospect of seeing Mr. Trump “frog-marched” out of the White House in handcuffs, despite the fact that a sitting president can’t be arrested or indicted.
After his presidency ends, the lawsuits and prosecutions of Mr. Trump, his family, his associates, and his former cabinet officers will continue indefinitely. His political enemies will attack his businesses and try to ruin him financially. But why? Why will this extreme vendetta continue? I believe Establishment denizens from both political parties will hound Mr. Trump to the ends of the earth to ensure that any non-establishment pretender understands what he can expect, should he dare to intrude on their sacred preserve. No mercy. No peace. Death to all interlopers!
Big Media are cheerleaders for all this because their key question is“Where’s the conflict?” “What’s the truth?” no longer matters. They run to the sound of the guns. “If it bleeds, it leads.” War? Great! Civil war? Even better. The country falling apart? Film at eleven!
Beyond the uproar and disruption, three major problems naturally arise from this evolving paradigm. They are governance, jurisprudence and modeling:
Governance. A key passage in the Declaration of Independence states: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…” But the country cannot be governed if a large faction of its people refuse to give their consent and are determined to be disorderly. When that faction actually becomes an organized resistance, chaos ensues. We are perilously close to that point.
Jurisprudence. As the saying goes, you don’t have to be a chicken to tell if an egg is fresh or spoiled. Just so, I’m neither a lawyer nor a judge, but I think I’m smart enough to see that our system of jurisprudence is, as old soldiers like to say, FUBAR. (You can look it up.) In the past, when a known crime was committed, law-enforcement agents set about to find the perpetrator and amass suitable evidence. When that was accomplished, the accused was indicted and tried. If convicted, he was punished according to law. But in the special prosecutor era that orderly system has been turned on its head. Instead of identifying who committed a known crime and then gathering evidence, the special prosecutor first targets a person, then sets about to find crimes that he might have committed. This comes very close to the Red Queen’s decree: “Sentence first – verdict afterward.” People much smarter than I are saying this simply cannot continue.
Modeling. Leftists and Democrats (but I repeat myself) who are having great fun bashing the president, disrupting the country, and rendering it ungovernable might not realize that they are fashioning a model that could eventually affect them and their party. When they regain power, they will assume that everyone – including Republicans – will settle down and accept their governance because… well, because that’s the way things always go. Republicans are the “good boys” of politics. They never make a fuss. Everything will be fine when Democrats are back in charge.
But what if that expectation isn’t realized? Suppose the apple cart Democrats so gleefully upset can’t be righted, and Republicans adopt the Democrat-model. What if they crash Congressional hearings, beard Democrat pols in restaurants and public spaces, bring indictments in local courts, raise unrelenting hell, etc., etc.?
Can’t happen? Don’t count on it. Americans are famous for waiting until an adversary is coming down the chimney before we rouse ourselves to action. Various foreign powers came to grief in the past because they failed to understand that the generous, good-natured American people can be pushed only so far before they finally recoil, like a compressed spring, and wreck the place.
That characteristic applies to internal politics, too. We saw it demonstrated in 2016, when millions of voters rose up and elected Donald Trump. Democrats, who still can’t understand how a crude New Yorker whupped the lovely Hillary, don’t see that the ordinary people they once represented had been pushed to their limit. They used the election to vent their displeasure, so their push-back was peaceful. But suppose they adopt the new model of civic resistance, disobedience, disruption, and even violence in the future. Like millions of my fellow-countrymen, I don’t even want to think of it. But it could happen. Do we feel lucky?
Whenever a contentious issue arises, the Man on the Street checks his wallet to see if it affects him financially. If not, he says, “I don’t care – let ‘em do what they want.” But that simplistic measure might not suit today’s politics. If we keep going as we are, we might run so far astray that we won’t be able to find our way back to the country we once were.
We are sailing out into uncharted waters. If we want to avoid the shipwreck of un-governability and totally corrupted jurisprudence, we’ll need to start correcting our course now. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do know that we’re in big trouble. Although Mr. Trump is doing his best, he’s going to need support in tangible ways that extend beyond opinion-polls and TV sound-bites. This isn’t just his job. It’s going to be our job, too. The sooner we realize it, the better chance we’ll have of correcting things. It’s not too late, but soon it might be. If we want to take our country back, we’ve got to start now.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand… I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other…” (Abraham Lincoln, 1858)
Lincoln-Douglas debates, 1858