Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Just a year ago it wasn’t yet apparent that Donald Trump was going to be elected president. I long for those days of tentative hope. Back when what should have happened was still likely to happen.
Now, especially after the whole disaster with the widow of La David Johnson, one of the four soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month, Trump has plowed up new ground in the matter of “how low can he go.” Rather than consoling Mrs. Johnson, he appears to have minimized her loss while, apparently, forgetting the sergeant’s name during the phone call he never wanted to make in the first place.
I’m afraid that the presidency is permanently damaged.
Trump has sapped the office of all its dignity, tainted it with crassness and incompetence, and turned it into a purely partisan tool for energizing a base that’s ignorant, retrograde, and intolerant (if not outright racist), though these days surprisingly powerful. Meanwhile, he’s breaking all the rules of conflict of interest and, at the same time, making sure his people – the top .01% – are going to benefit from his (let’s hope) single term as president.
If you’re a Trump supporter, you should be ashamed of him by now. If he’s giving voice to your own long-suppressed beliefs, you should be ashamed of yourself.
The presidency has been able to withstand several men who have been found wanting in one area or another, from Nixon to Clinton to Bush II. There were times during the administrations of both Clinton and Bush that I said to myself, “I’m holding out for a hero,” and in many ways Barack Obama filled the bill on that count. Too bad they didn’t let him accomplish anything. But if nothing else he took the presidency back to a high level of esteem and respect, and he made most of us proud as he represented the country abroad. As did his wife and children.
Now, it seems as if it was all a dream.
Trump has turned his office into another asset, a way to attract money to himself and his repellent family. And since he has a sick appreciation of the immense powers of his office, it won’t surprise me at all if he starts a war that will make our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Somalia and Yemen and Niger and and and …) feel like mere maneuvers. He’s not afraid of infamy.
In fact, to become the president whose name stays on most people’s lips the longest – for generations – might be his deplorable goal.
And even though we’re starting to see some pushback from former presidents like Bush and Obama, and from nothing-to-lose senators like John McCain, the fact that they don’t use Trump’s name when they criticize him for the damage he’s doing means things are going to get much worse before they get any better. Bob Corker can’t do it all himself.
One of these days someone in Congress, or maybe a John Kelly with his military sense of honor, will grow a spine and actually confront the son of a bitch. Until then, every day that passes we are a little more diminished.