Power Play: Trump, Lies & Videotape
The people have spoken, the courts have ruled… it’s time to move on!
President Trump’s refusal to concede an election that he so clearly lost, affirms behavior encapsulated in the first half of an old adage, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Four years of unbridled — thanks largely to supine Republican leaders — presidential power has corrupted Trump’s thinking to such a degree that it has rendered him incapable of giving up that power. Hence, all of his absurd shenanigans, which include frivolous lawsuits and outrageous presidential proclamations. These desperate efforts to cling on to power are rightly being discounted, more or less, by prominent media outlets that swear by the Constitution. In fact, on December 1st, even his own Attorney General, William P. Barr, acknowledged that the Justice Department had found no voting fraud “on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” The very next day, Trump took to his favored social media platforms to vent his frustration. Per the Washington Post’s description:
“President Trump on Wednesday distributed an astonishing 46-minute video rant filled with baseless allegations of voter fraud and outright falsehoods in which he declared the nation’s election system ‘under coordinated assault and siege’…
Standing behind the presidential lectern in the Diplomatic Reception Room and flanked by the flags of his office and of the country whose Constitution he swore an oath to uphold, Trump tried to leverage the power of the presidency to subvert the vote and overturn the election results.”
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Sir John Dalberg-Acton, the 19th century English politician and writer, who is attributed with the aforementioned quote on power, had also said, “Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.” So, it must be with our wannabe modern-day Caesar, who many don’t consider great, just powerful. A second-term Trump would most certainly have lived up to the second half of that “power quote,” as it were, which warns us that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We the people are fortunate that a second term was denied to him — sort of reassuring us that our republic will survive.
Unfortunately, even an out-of-office Trump could turn out to be the epitome of a bad man exercising influence in a way that challenges the very foundations of our democracy. We all need to remain vigilant to Ben Franklin’s warning, made at the nation’s founding, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Because Trump has certainly demonstrated over the past four years that “keeping the republic” is an impediment to his style and conflicts with his substance. Trumpism — which began as an appealing “America First” concept to his followers — has morphed into a toxic concoction that has severely poisoned our national discourse and could further weaken our democratic institutions, if it is not reined in.
Trumpism can’t trump justice.
So, an important issue going forward is how we deal with Trumpism. Trump will be gone come January 20, 2021 — but how much of Trumpism survives will determine how much and how successfully the nation will heal. Trumpism has been at the core of the deep fissure between the red states and the blue states. The 46thpresident’s biggest challenge will be to eliminate the detrimental aspects of Trumpism without further alienating either side. It’s not going to be easy, but it is essential for not only the survival, but also the revival of our republic as it was pre-Trump. It is apparent that party loyalty — to a powerful, dictatorial leader who lost his reelection effort — is still trumping national interests. As the Washington Post reports:
“Just 25 congressional Republicans acknowledge Joe Biden’s win over President Trump a month after the former vice president’s clear victory of more than 7 million votes nationally and a convincing electoral-vote margin that exactly matched Trump’s 2016 tally.”
This profile in cowardice is all the more remarkable because the Washington Post simultaneously reported:
“Just over a month after the Nov. 3 election, the Trump campaign and other Republicans suing over Biden’s win were dealt court losses across six states where they have tried to contest the results of the presidential race — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Judges ruled decisively that Trump’s side has not proved the election was fraudulent, with some offering painstaking analyses of why such claims lack merit and pointed opinions about the risks the legal claims pose to American democracy.”
Time to move on.
The people have spoken, and our justice system has uniformly reaffirmed the people’s will as being accurate and reflective of the people’s intentions. Consequently, the continuing farce being perpetrated by Trump and his cohorts in Congress makes a mockery of our nation, including of its founding principles and democratic values, in the eyes of the world. The longer this farcical drama goes on, the harder the healing process becomes. The next president has multiple emergencies to deal with, including a raging pandemic and a faltering economy. It’s time to move on — we all need to put our ailing nation first, including Congressional Republicans, who might have Georgia on their mind, and Trump followers who should think of it as “America First” — and, let an all-encompassing transition of power ensue, so that a multifaceted healing can begin.