The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the latest explosion in this strange Year 4 of Our Trump. Reading fond obituaries from persons who knew her well is an education into how we should live our lives as human beings: righteous and active from childhood into old age, with style, humor, art and music, hard work, belief in fairness and justice, humility and the capacity to get along with folks with whom we do not agree on philosophical, religious and political issues. Wow—how did that tiny little old lady manage to accomplish so much, and keep at it for nearly nine decades?
Much hoo-hah is made about the hypocrisy of Republican senators calling for a rapid vote on a replacement for Ruth’s chair on the Supreme Court. It isn’t hypocritical at all of these distinguished senators—they always distinguish themselves as taking the expedient route rather than one of principle.
They resisted deficit spending and forced Presidents Clinton and Obama to lower it, in order that they might send it through the roof when they controlled the government purse strings. Now they decry deficit spending proposed by Democrats who want to shore up the financial security of working people, state and local governments during the worldwide corona-crisis. Money for a space force, for big bidnis, for tax cuts—of course! That’s not hypocrisy—it’s how they operate. That was then, this is now. It is what it is—never mind what we said four years ago.
Remember the one-liner about the politician who only open its mouth to change feet? That’s the president, who holds a stranglehold on Republican politicians, even though he has consistently rejected their fundamental principles on free trade, international US leadership and government spending, even though many of his campaign promises have been abandoned.
The singular achievement of these four years is the successful appointment of many conservative judges to federal courts. Mitch McConnell is banking on this as his legacy to the nation, conveniently ignoring his contribution to the further deterioration of the Senate as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” To ram through one more Trump-appointed justice would be his crowning achievement.
The Supreme Court will be Ruthless, the Democrats are toothless to stop it, and who knows whether November will see a change of occupants in the White House and the Senate, or if we continue our downward slide into mediocrity?
People assume this is the worst point in US history, but with the possible exception of George Washington, all presidents, all Congresses, all Supreme Courts have been admired and hated pretty equally. Lincoln and JFK are revered primarily because they were martyred; Nixon’s personal failings have been somewhat mitigated by his historical detente with China and the beginning of environmental legislation—both screwed up by our current president’s executive actions.
Obama reminded us that Trump’s time in office would be a blip in the long run—maybe he meant a blimp. Political cartoonists picture the Hindenburg blowing up and the Titanic going down as visual metaphors for Trumpism. The boss goes full steam ahead, or in reverse, and he is confident he will not go down with his ship. While the swamp drains inward, he bulls outward: He is the best, the greatest, the most wonderfullest, and all critics are the worst, the most contemptuous. Decisions are made on the fly, lacking true beliefs.
Example: last week, the president announced an education commission to design a “pro-American curriculum” to counteract what liberals have been foisting on public school students to “hate their country.” The same day, his Justice Department stated it would investigate Princeton University after it admitted its own history of racism.
On the one hand, racism doesn’t exist, on the other, you will be penalized to examine its existence for redress. For many years, true conservatives denounced the advance of relativism and rejection of absolutes; today’s Republican Party operates totally on situational ethics. No secret that the president is amoral—it’s all about him.
But his remake of the GOP has chosen to remake morality according to the calendar and the available votes. Ruthless, truthless. Don’t forget to vote.