Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is Charlottesville Trump's Tipping Point?

"Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville? It is in Charlottesville. You’ll see....  It is the winery. I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that’s been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States. It’s in Charlottesville." -- Trump's Captain Queeg moment at the end of his Aug. 15th press conference.
President Bush's invasion of Iraq and the disastrous decisions that followed (including the use of torture), comprise arguably the greatest foreign policy debacle in our history.  But it wasn't until Bush's inept and tone deaf response to Hurricane Katrina in his second term that the full measure of Bush's inadequacy as a president was roundly acknowledged.  This was the tipping point -- Bush's popularity cratered, the media stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt, and his presidency never recovered. 

We are only seven months into Trump's presidency, God help us, and there has been so much bad craziness -- so many ignorant, corrupt, dishonest, spiteful and hateful acts -- a level of scandalous behavior that would have brought any other president down by now -- that one wonders if we will ever reach a tipping point.   

It wasn't his brazen self-enrichment after failing to divest himself from his business interests while promoting those interests for profit.
It wasn't the stocking of his administration with white nationalists.
It wasn't his Muslim ban. 
It wasn't his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. 
It wasn't his disclosure of highly confidential information to Russia which burned a critical Israeli source on Isis.
It wasn't his firing of the FBI Director and other attempts to impede the investigation of his administration's collusion with Russia. 
It wasn't his lies about voter fraud to justify a commission aimed at voter suppression. 
It wasn't his pathological inability to tell the truth about anything else.
It wasn't his relentless attacks on democratic institutions, from judges to U.S. intelligence agencies to the press.
It wasn't his reckless threats to North Korea, bringing us close to a nuclear confrontation.

But in the last few days the malevolent orange shit-gibbon appears to have outdone even himself, raising just the possibility of a tipping point.  The satirist Andy Borowitz has aptly stated before, in reference to some of Trump's more heinous actions, that "a group of scholars have concluded that the bar can no longer be lowered."  Well, Trump's refusal to unequivocally denounce as abhorrent Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, carrying torches (albeit tiki torches), chanting "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us," is a new low.  The bar cannot be lowered any further.  Trump's efforts to shift the blame for the violence that included the killing of a counter-protester and led to the deaths of two Virginia state troopers, his pathetic false moral equivalency between what he called the "alt-right" and the "alt-left," and his embrace of the talking points of racists and anti-Semites is grotesque and unforgivable. 

Trump defended the "very fine people" who were merely protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, ignoring that it was erected like so many other statues of Confederate leaders during the Jim Crow era, not to honor the Confederacy, but as a symbol of white terror and white supremacy:  "I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”  Where does it stop, indeed.

Will Trump's vomit-inducing "many sides" trope put an end to the mainstream media's reflexive "both sides do it" framing?  Will the leaders of the Republican Party finally say enough is enough, and concede that there are certain fundamental principles at stake that are more important than tax cuts, eliminating affordable health care and right wing judicial appointments.  And will the Democrats finally refuse to govern as a complacent minority party and begin using every technicality and procedural rule in their power to throw sand in the gears and bring Congressional business to a crawl until Trump is removed from office. 

If we haven't reached a tipping point now, I'm not sure we ever will.  Contact your Senators and Representatives.  If they are Republicans demand that they do more than declare that "Nazis are bad" and start taking meaningful steps to remove their leader from office.  If they are Democrats tell them to shut it down until the Republicans do so.  Enough is fucking enough.


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