You are not being unreasonable and you are not alone if you feel frightened by what Mr. Trump and his administration are doing in their effort to change America’s policies and the direction in which our country will travel. You are not unreasonable and alone if you find it hard not to believe that they are targeting you because of your race or religion or for other reasons that are not in any way associated with whether or not you have broken the law.
Even if you think that you may be paranoid or simply overreacting and try to mitigate your feelings by taking a step back and seeking some sort of reassurance from the Trump administration that your feelings are not justified, you cannot trust that reassurance. Why? Because Mr. Trump has told so many falsehoods, alternative facts, lies or whatever word(s) the press feels obligated to use now to describe the accuracy of his statements that one cannot decide what to believe.
In the meantime, many Republicans have gone dark and completely dropped from the news media grid while those that remain there are far more concerned about playing politics than they are about fulfilling their responsibility to the American people. A good example of this is what was said behind closed doors when the GOP met, in contrast to what they are saying (or not saying) in public. Here are a few of the comments that some of those elected officials made about Obamacare and Planned Parenthood behind those closed doors according to a recent article in The Washington Post by Mike DeBonis.
The article said that Representative Tom McClintock commented that “We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created. That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
Senator Bill Cassidy said, “It sounds like we are going to be raising taxes on the middle class in order to pay for these new [insurance] credits.”
Representative John Faso raised concerns about using Obamacare as a vehicle to defund Planned Parenthood when he said, “We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill. If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves – House and Senate.”
According to Mr. DeBonis’ article, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the concerns about repealing Obamacare. Speaker Ryan said, “We have a responsibility to work for the people that put us in office. That’s the oath we take: to defend the Constitution, to fight for the people we represent, and [Obamacare] is a fiasco that needs to be fixed.”
Representative Tom MacArthur said, “We’re telling those [roughly 20 million Americans covered under Obamacare] that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”
Finally, again according to Mr. DeBonis’ article, concerning defunding Planned Parenthood Representative Faso said; “we are arming our enemy in this debate… To me, us taking retribution on Planned Parenthood is kind of morally akin to what Lois Lerner and Obama and the IRS did against tea party groups…” He went on to say that “Health insurance is going to be tough enough for us to deal with without having millions of people on social media come to Planned Parenthood’s defense and sending hundreds of thousands of new donors to the Democratic Senate and Democratic congressional campaign committees. So I would just urge us to rethink this.”
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was not among those in this particular closed door meeting who were discussing the Repeal of Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood, it is no secret that he too is onboard with this part of the Republican agenda. It is also no secret that he is among those who are struggling to decide how to handle any disagreement that they might have with Mr. Trump and, therefore, are handling him with kid gloves. He is just as guilty as those quoted above in playing politics and shirking his responsibility to the American people by refusing to challenge Mr. Trump even when he believes that he is wrong and that he is deviating from America’s norms and everything that America stands for. Observe how he responded when, according to an article in USA TODAY by Paul Singer, he addressed a question on Mr. Trump’s ban on refugees which basically amounts to a ban on Muslims.
Senator McConnell avoided directly criticizing Mr. Trump when he said; “We need to bear in mind that we don’t have religious tests in this country and we also need to remember that some of our best allies in the war against Islamic terrorism are Muslims. It’s hopefully going to be decided in the courts as to whether or not this has gone too far. I don’t want to criticize them for improving vetting. I think we need to be careful. We don’t have religious tests in this country.”
It is obvious by the comments from these GOP elected officials that, whether they are talking about Obamacare , Planned Parenthood, the refugee ban or their responsibility in general to shepherd America forward and protect our democracy as her elected officials, they will put political ambition and Party first. Just like they were supposedly determined to uphold their fiscal responsibility to the American people by fighting tooth and nail to avoid lifting the debt ceiling during President Obama’s term in office but now seem willing to raise it for Mr. Trump in order to build a wall to keep people out; under Mr. Trump they are now willing to forego their fiscal conservative principles to destroy Obamacare at all costs. It doesn’t matter what the impact will be on the American people or American economy. It’s political ambition and Party first!
Mr. Trump may have built a dam to keep the GOP onboard and keep all of its members in line. But it appears that a crack is developing in that dam. Not only are Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham pushing back against him, but one of his most staunch allies just might be now trying to distance himself from him. That ally is Rudy Giuliani. Although Mr. Trump has said that his refugee ban is not a Muslim ban, Mr. Giuliani is publicly differing with him. Mr. Giuliani said that Mr. Trump “asked for a Muslim ban” and wanted to know how to do it legally. Based on that, Mr. Giuliani said that he put together a group to do it. The interesting thing is not that Mr. Giuliani appears to be trying to distance himself from Mr. Trump; it is that he is doing it so publicly.
While Mr. Trump has built a dam to keep the GOP onboard and keep all of its members in line, elected Republicans throughout America have gerrymandered districts to keep their supporters dammed in so that they can assure for as long as possible that Republicans and not Democrats will be elected. They have been extremely successful in their efforts but if Mr. Trump continues to operate like he is currently operating and those in the Senate and House continue to put political ambition and Party ahead of their responsibility to the American people, all of the gerrymandering in the world will not be able to keep them in office.
Whenever President Obama issued an executive order, the Republicans called him a lawless president and many of them held press conferences and went on cable news shows to drive their point home. Now that Mr. Trump is governing almost exclusively by executive order, although he has repeatedly made mistakes and he and his team exhibit signs of complete incompetence, Republicans are remaining silent and hiding from the Press. Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell, respectively, are the leaders of the House and Senate. While all Republicans in congress are responsible to step up and assure that the American people are properly represented and that America comes before their political ambitions and their Party, Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are supposed to be the Party leaders so they should set the examples. So far, they are not doing that. Instead, they are doing what they accused President Obama of doing for eight years; leading from behind.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line