Donald Trump just threatened to release classified information on his opponents – largely Democrats – but also outspoken civil servants like James Comey, who is about to go through a phony inquiry. The intent of the GOP’s Comey investigation is to scare Democrats from acting against Trump and the GOP. It’s sole message is “you come after Trump he will come after you”. This is one of the last desperate cards individual one can play in his attempt to obfuscate truth and obstruct justice. But do not underestimate it’s value. Targeting Congress members has historically been a very effective of getting one’s own way. But why is this? Consider the following:
To our collective shame, the American citizenry has allowed politicians to enjoy the fruits of bribes and graft with little recourse. We’ve not been very politically active as a group. We elect politicians but then let them do their thing. We just hope they live up to their promises, but they rarely do. Lying to the public is not even illegal and the criminal type of politician knows that. We give them uncheck-able legal power and they run with it for self-aggrandizement. Therein lies the main problem with our current democracy.
There’s a heck of a lot of old dirt hiding in the skeletons of both GOP and DEM Congressmen these days. That dirt is the real swamp. And it exists on both sides of the aisle. That dirt, which we permit to exist, consistently stops Americans from enjoying a robust democratic government that really could work for them. That dirt is the real enemy and we have to clean it up. Maybe we know this at last. Maybe. We will see.
Why do you think Donald Trump said “I like Nancy Pelosi”? Yes, Pelosi is red meat for his base which includes plenty of misogynists who believe women belong in the kitchen, etc. But is it possible Trump already has some palpable dirt on Pelosi? She has been in politics for a long time. That brings experience, but it also means she has a history of business deals. I don’t know the details on how Pelosi got to be worth 29 million in real estate. And that’s not so much in California. I assume she is an honest player having not heard to the contrary. However I also know how Trump thinks. He figures he can paint her black because she has money. All the people in his circle who have money have dirt – he practically insists on it. So when Trump says he likes Nancy Pelosi, he’s saying he likes her as an opponent or enemy – not as a fellow politician to engage in an effort to help Americans live better lives. You can count on that.
For too long, a dis-engaged American electorate has permitted the criminal type to not only infiltrate its politics but steep in it with little consequence. Many of these self-serving politicians exist in both parties. Yes, it feels like the GOP has more of them but that may be because they have the power now. The only congressional group that might not yet have skeletons in their closets is the young freshman class that contains folks like Alex Cortez. So I am specially reaching out to them because it may come down to them to clean up the dirt and make self-serving politicians a thing of the past.
What this all means becomes more apparent when you consider what happened to the idealistic Barack Obama after he entered the presidency. Barack made an effort to create “change we can believe in”. But, beyond healthcare it seemed to many that he did not try that hard. Many Americans felt ignored. And that gave the GOP palpable traction to their success in 2016. It seemed like Obama sold out, but we couldn’t quite see it. With Trump – we know 100% he is selling out. We do see and hear about it every day. And it’s finally bugging Americans on both sides of the aisle. That’s what the Blue Wave was all about. And that may turn out to be a good thing.
When the Democrats take power it will come down to why politicians sell out and why we permit it? Trump has already learned that there are skeletons in closets of his allies and enemies. He is collecting the dirt and he will play that game. It has begun!
So all this means when the DEMS come to power with Pelosi in charge, we the people will have to keep an eye open for signs they start going soft on Trump. I hope that is not the case unless it’s to have Trump step down and I have written about that. ( see below)
But one thing for sure. Obama’s idealism hit the swamp/wall and he backed down. That wall still exists and the new House members will learn about it soon. Do they buckle? Do they start seeing paths to self dealing and join the swamp? Do they start complicated motions that ultimately go nowhere? We will know soon.
And what is that swamp/wall anyway? It is the same military-industrial complex that Eisenhower made note of when he passed the baton on to JFK. It’s the Kochs, the Mercers, the Zuckerbergs, plenty of congress members, Boeing, GE, Saudi Arabia’s MBS. Putin, etc. That’s a heck of an obstinate wall. And when it’s structure is challenged that wall fires back with back room deals and bullets.
That’s why I sort of wanted the small band of 25 idealistic freshmen who opposed Pelosi to have their way. It’s not going to happen. I’m apprehensively okay with it. The freshman class is among the few in Congress that are not yet suborned by that wall. And yes, we recognize there are plenty of good, decent Congresspeople. But time spent in Congress turns many good people into cynical jaded operatives of the establishment.
If we are going to make change that really restores America’s position of authority as a beacon of hope for the world to behold, we’re going to have to go “all the way”. That Frank Sinatra song comes to mind. When somebody loves you, it’s no good unless they love you all the way. ( One of my favorites.) We need to love our American democracy all the way this time folks.
Citizens. If there is one good thing Trump has done for America it may be that his inexperience in government has resulted in exposing political corruption and dirt. And it is now abhorrent to us all. But it’s only going to be a blessing of we go all the way and root out corruption at all levels of government – city, state and national. We’re going to have to vet our public servants to the core and have them reveal all their financial dealings if they want to work for us. We need to think of political appointments more like we think of doctors with licenses to uphold. We’re going to have to instantly retire any public servant who does not want to put their books on the record. That’s how graft starts.
Of course, there would be resistance to this kind of scrutiny from both sides of the aisle precisely because there are crooks in both parties. They have votes and they stick will together to protect their personal interests. So if we don’t go all the way, getting rid of Trump won’t mean that much. We’ll just get a new smoother Trump in time.
Anand Giridharadas, bright young author of “Winners Takes All”, said that maybe it would be a good idea to have a personal wealth ceiling for those seeking office. it’s idealistic, but that won’t happen. There are good people who have money too. So it’s the vetting that has to be done. Laws have to set up that disqualify people to serve immediately if they are found to be corrupt by standards we will have to create. We’re going to have to fix what’s broken in the US government system.
Now that Cohen is revealing the truth, Trump has admitted he was indeed trying to build a Tower in Putin’s Russia while a candidate. I guess he figured he would not win and he could come back to the Moscow Tower after the election. When he won, he scrapped the tower project for the time being. But once he is not POTUS again in two years ( we presume – or less ) he can and will go back to that or other Russian projects. And so his not-so-far-into-the-future hope INFORMS his decisions today as president. And that we cannot not abide! We can all agree that a US president cannot have present, past, or soon-to-be financial interests in countries that are enemies of the USA and democracy.
Last thing. We’ve learning from Trump that the current rules that might constrain a rogue president are not sufficient to protect our democracy and nation. Just why we permit the office of president to pardon people who are convicted of crimes is suspicious. We know it’s in the constitution. But it’s such a bad idea for modern times. Pardon power and other absolute powers given to the POTUS since 1776 have to be re-examined and updated to reflect 21st century technology. Maybe we should allow a president to suggest a review for pardoning. But giving one man all the power in a democracy of 300 million is not going to work out for us. They will pardon their criminal friends and how is that good for us?
The Constitution was written when the population of the entire country was 2.5 million. There’s that many people in Brooklyn today.
We’ve got to fix our democracy now and go all the way.
Joseph Aronesty is a father of five, e-commerce pioneer, songwriter, author, creator of etymology by ear, activist since 2015. @EnglishCodeWord
Relevant prior posts:
And if all else fails, we can use technology to replace politicians.