By John Hall, Decorah
President Trump delivered his first speech before the United Nations on Sept. 19. Winston Churchill did not come to mind.
By standards of a football coach’s pre-game rev-em-up, however, it was a masterwork. Somehow it was able to marry — in one preposterous package — presidential profanity, name-calling, anti-statesmanship, country bashing, fawning nationalism, and an apocalyptic threat to incinerate the 25 million people living north of the 38th parallel.
At one point leaders of countries around the world gathered in the UN chamber laughed out loud at the U.S. president.
By a more mature standard, Trump’s effort at speechifying confirmed what a majority (!) of Americans and the known universe already had concluded: that somehow the United States mysteriously had put not only a mentally and ethically challenged rich frat boy, but a flaming psychopath, in charge of the most powerful nation-state in the world.
Sure, Bloomberg News called Trump’s speech “conventional.” The anti-journalism behemoth Fox News complimented Trump for “want[ing] to get things done.”
Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal beamed that Trump had returned the U.S. to “Realpolitik in world affairs.” While the pseudo-journalists down the street at HuffPo, still clad in sackcloth, pined for another run by Hillary.
But what about the “Democratic Response” to Trumpism and the right-wing onslaught? The Trump speech was possibly the most embarrassing, ill-conceived, ruinous public address in U.S. presidential history. (And I still remember Nixon’s Checkers speech.) One wonders if it will bring the leaders of the opposition party out of the woodwork to condemn the wholesale folly of Trump’s leadership?
To date, crickets.
Perhaps should we conclude, then, that in their hearts the Dems really agree with Trump?
During the Obama years, Republican top dogs down to the rank and file never missed an opportunity to challenge the Democratic president and his policies. It was a loud and public daily occurrence!
Why, then, is the Pelosi/ Schumer/Perez Democratic Party so accommodating to the radicalized GOP? Fearful? Too busy crafting another brilliant Democratic loss at the polls?
Well, perhaps they need help finding their backbone.
However ironic it sounds, setting a better course means not just refusing to vote for right-wing Republicans. The remedy lies in pledging not to vote for Democrats, either.
Pledge publicly and loudly that Democratic politicians seeking a seat in Washington must earn your vote. That Democrats must show leadership by vigorously condemning (and working to replace) the policies of this administration—all of them which threaten our democracy, our institutions, our balance, our ethics, our sanity—and push, despite all odds, for Trump’s impeachment and removal, or you can kiss our votes goodbye.
— John Hall is a former daily and weekly newspaper owner and publisher, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times.