Remember the Golden Rule

By Sam Patten | Jan 09, 2021

On Tuesday last week, it became clear that Donald Trump threw the Republican Senate under the bus.

On Wednesday, he threw his loyalist supporters under the same bus.

On Thursday, he did what an American president has never before had to do: He tried (under extreme duress, one suspects) to reassure the nation there would be a peaceful transfer of power.

Talk about jumping the shark. Right now, there’s not much left for him to come back to. What about those who once supported him?

Like victims of trauma, many of those most tormented by Trump cannot believe he will really go away. Time is probably the only balm for that. For some, the mere mention of his name may trigger panic for years.

But we are resilient and, as with the eponymous movement founded by a Camden native after George W. Bush’s election in 2000, we will "move on."

With 11 days left in his administration, I’m already preparing for a life that doesn’t involve thinking about Trump. Will he be impeached? Possibly, but the procedures involved in that followed by a Senate trial seem an awful lot to squeeze into such a short time, and to what effect?

Immediate removal by the 25th Amendment might be quicker if Mike Pence is on board, but I doubt he is. The best option for Trump is resignation, since he then can be pardoned.

Somehow, he’s managed to work around the Twitter ban to announce he’s not attending Biden’s inauguration, so the only business he has left at this stage consists of securing his retreat, possibly throwing up one or two smaller-scale distractions for cover. Everything he does until his exit from 1600 will be self-serving, but given the mess he’s just made, he’d be wise to throw an esteem-able act or two into the mix.

How America deals with Trump is less important than how those now in charge deal with the not insignificant percentage of the country that has supported him (half of whom probably still do). Just as the country’s been increasingly divided for at least four years, today we face the very real threat of disenfranchisement of up to a third of Americans. These compatriots, now leaderless, are already hardening in their belief they’re being targeted for revenge.

Are they?

A couple weeks ago, I used a term in a column basically unknown in America: “lustration.” Commenting on the piece, a former Iraqi ambassador to the UN offered a clearer definition than I had: “debarment from public service after a regime change from dictatorial to democratic governance, for those who were part of the machinery of terror of the old regime.”

OK, so that covers hacks and means they can never again work in government. Ordinary supporters, who in a normal democracy would weave back into society after an election in which their candidate lost, are most stigmatized. They gave the most and got the least.

Whoever struck (and ultimately killed) a Capitol Police officer with a fire hydrant, the Florida man who brazenly stole the speaker’s podium, other looters and everyone’s favorite shaman buffalo man will all be charged with crimes, one expects. Some, like the fellow who reportedly tasered himself to death while trying to steal a portrait of former Speaker Tip O’Neill, require no further punishment.

As far as I’m concerned, the person most responsible is the one who whipped these poor souls into a frenzy and false sense of permission.

On Thursday and Friday, a seemingly organized campaign to get people to "unfriend" Trump supporters gathered new steam. While I understand the relative sense of powerlessness a regular citizen must feel now, and the sense that taking a righteous stand (even if it evokes the primitive practice of ostracism) may be reassuring, I beg those who are tempted to "cleanse" their friends list to think very carefully. Doing so will only fuel the resentment on which Trump once rose.

Trump did an excellent job of discrediting himself to his own base last week. Just about every effort to kill the king misfired over the last several years and ended up hitting someone else.

By tossing the Senate majority that acquitted him last year into the dumpster, he left scorched earth for one-time political allies. By leading from behind during the assault on Capitol Hill, he lost support of many of the ordinary men and women he once inspired.

Some might say leave it there, others might insist crimes must be prosecuted. Frankly, I’m agnostic on that.

But now is the moment to engage, not shun, those with whom one may not have agreed politically before. It may help them do what once came naturally in American society, and heal quickly after a loss. Try to remember the rage and frustration you felt for the last four years and ask yourself one question: Do you believe it’s their turn now?

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.

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Comments (14)
Posted by: Paul Rosen | Jan 13, 2021 08:42

"...doth protest too much, methinks"



Posted by: Kevin Riley | Jan 12, 2021 08:33

or continuing Mitchell McConnell and the senates inaction on a sweeping pandemic relief package.


There, fixed for you.


H.R.6800 - The Heroes Act116th Congress (2019-2020) was passed in the house on 05/15/2020.

It is a sweeping relief package that was then sent to the senate for the regular legislative process any bill would have to go through.
It never left McConnell's desk. He would allow it to even be sent to committee for debate. The senate never got to see it. As of today that is 242 days of NO action by the senate on the relief package.

 

As to the rest of your conspiracy theory laded word salad, as Carl Sagan used to say,

"Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Proof"

You have made extraordinary claims.

Present demonstrable proof of your claims or they are nothing more than your opinion.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 11, 2021 20:43

The First Amendment only prevents the government from censoring speech. It does not require private companies to provide a platform for all comers to exercise their rights to free speech. Twitter, Facebook and other media firms and publishing outlets are well within their legal rights to kick Donald Trump and other bad actors off their platforms.

The danger occurs when these giant media monoliths partner with the government in order to impose this censorship. A case can, in fact, be made that our corporate ultra-consolidated media and and our corporate-captured and owned government are one and the same entity. At the very least, they are partners in the exact same oligarchic enterprise. Ironically, for all the talk of Trump being a fascist, one of the key elements of fascism is the melding of government and corporations. This true coup against democracy long preceded his election to the highest office in the land. In fact, this coup is what enabled his rise to political power in the first place.

Therefore, the expulsion of Donald Trump and his followers from these private platforms, these unaccountable platforms which have forged unhealthily close ties to the CIA and the Democratic Party, might feasibly lead to the silencing of any voice that the "establishment" or the "ruling class" or the "deep state" or whatever you want to call the permanent structure of money and power, decides that it doesn't like.

Never mind the spectre of "trickle-down" censorship. This censorship is already occurring. Google, for one, has been exposed as using its secret algorithm to suppress search results on the Internet. A secretive group calling itself "Prop Or Not" arose in 2016, publishing a list of some hundred blogs and media outlets purported to be under the control of the Kremlin. There's more than one way to suppress content other than imposing outright censorship. There are smear campaigns and intimidation tactics galore to get undesirable voices to shut up, be cancelled or just ignored.

The failed Trump-enabled putsch at the Capitol last week could be just the newest, niftiest incentive that these powerful people need to clamp down on unpopular or "divisive" rhetoric and protest movements in the name of "national security." They clamped down with a vengeance after 9/11, with the Patriot Act. How ironic that Trump cultists' favorite name for themselves is "patriots" who are trying to "take our freedoms back" from the very architects of the Patriot Act.

We have to stay vigilant, especially as it now appears that there are plenty more dirty hands than Donald Trump's involved in last week's massive breach. Latest reports indicate that forces within the Pentagon itself may have been involved, and that it was Congressional leaders who balked at National Guard troops guarding the capital as a preventive measure because of the "bad optics" such militarization of the halls of "democracy" would broadcast.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moves in a high state of emergency to impeach Trump for a second time for inciting a riot, her lieutenant James Clyburn tamps down expectations for swift justice by calling for a hundred-day delay in sending the lone impeachment article to the Senate for trial. This delay would ostensibly allow President Biden to put the Senate to better use enacting his economic agenda.

We'll soon find out what that agenda will be. Early indications are that conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin will be the party's designated fall guy, or bad cop, for continuing Democratic inaction on a sweeping pandemic relief package. The bright spot is that more and more of us can detect ass-covering whenever we see it.

The key word is vigilance (as opposed to the top-down orchestrated vigilantism in service to a billionaire we saw last week.) We have to keep covering the ass-covering and speaking out like there is no tomorrow.

If our elected leaders really do care about the rise of right-wing extremism in the United States, they'll emulate FDR, who stopped American fascism right in its tracks in the 1930s with the New Deal legislation.

Give people money. Give people health care. Give people jobs. With their dignity restored, maybe they won't feel so aggrieved and so prone to fall under the spell of another cult leader charlatan like Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the private media companies arrogating to themselves the power to squelch speech should be broken up and the entire Internet should be made a public utility. That way, the entire public and its court system - not the billionaire tech CEOs - would be the final arbiters of the First Amendment.

Oh, and let's also consider restoring the Fairness Doctrine and legislate broadcasting in the public interest.

Tall orders for sure, but why stop at just one solution to the "friendly fascism" that's been operating in this country for most of our lifetimes?



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 11, 2021 20:43

The First Amendment only prevents the government from censoring speech. It does not require private companies to provide a platform for all comers to exercise their rights to free speech. Twitter, Facebook and other media firms and publishing outlets are well within their legal rights to kick Donald Trump and other bad actors off their platforms.

The danger occurs when these giant media monoliths partner with the government in order to impose this censorship. A case can, in fact, be made that our corporate ultra-consolidated media and and our corporate-captured and owned government are one and the same entity. At the very least, they are partners in the exact same oligarchic enterprise. Ironically, for all the talk of Trump being a fascist, one of the key elements of fascism is the melding of government and corporations. This true coup against democracy long preceded his election to the highest office in the land. In fact, this coup is what enabled his rise to political power in the first place.

Therefore, the expulsion of Donald Trump and his followers from these private platforms, these unaccountable platforms which have forged unhealthily close ties to the CIA and the Democratic Party, might feasibly lead to the silencing of any voice that the "establishment" or the "ruling class" or the "deep state" or whatever you want to call the permanent structure of money and power, decides that it doesn't like.

Never mind the spectre of "trickle-down" censorship. This censorship is already occurring. Google, for one, has been exposed as using its secret algorithm to suppress search results on the Internet. A secretive group calling itself "Prop Or Not" arose in 2016, publishing a list of some hundred blogs and media outlets purported to be under the control of the Kremlin. There's more than one way to suppress content other than imposing outright censorship. There are smear campaigns and intimidation tactics galore to get undesirable voices to shut up, be cancelled or just ignored.

The failed Trump-enabled putsch at the Capitol last week could be just the newest, niftiest incentive that these powerful people need to clamp down on unpopular or "divisive" rhetoric and protest movements in the name of "national security." They clamped down with a vengeance after 9/11, with the Patriot Act. How ironic that Trump cultists' favorite name for themselves is "patriots" who are trying to "take our freedoms back" from the very architects of the Patriot Act.

We have to stay vigilant, especially as it now appears that there are plenty more dirty hands than Donald Trump's involved in last week's massive breach. Latest reports indicate that forces within the Pentagon itself may have been involved, and that it was Congressional leaders who balked at National Guard troops guarding the capital as a preventive measure because of the "bad optics" such militarization of the halls of "democracy" would broadcast.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moves in a high state of emergency to impeach Trump for a second time for inciting a riot, her lieutenant James Clyburn tamps down expectations for swift justice by calling for a hundred-day delay in sending the lone impeachment article to the Senate for trial. This delay would ostensibly allow President Biden to put the Senate to better use enacting his economic agenda.

We'll soon find out what that agenda will be. Early indications are that conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin will be the party's designated fall guy, or bad cop, for continuing Democratic inaction on a sweeping pandemic relief package. The bright spot is that more and more of us can detect ass-covering whenever we see it.

The key word is vigilance (as opposed to the top-down orchestrated vigilantism in service to a billionaire we saw last week.) We have to keep covering the ass-covering and speaking out like there is no tomorrow.

If our elected leaders really do care about the rise of right-wing extremism in the United States, they'll emulate FDR, who stopped American fascism right in its tracks in the 1930s with the New Deal legislation.

Give people money. Give people health care. Give people jobs. With their dignity restored, maybe they won't feel so aggrieved and so prone to fall under the spell of another cult leader charlatan like Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the private media companies arrogating to themselves the power to squelch speech should be broken up and the entire Internet should be made a public utility. That way, the entire public and its court system - not the billionaire tech CEOs - would be the final arbiters of the First Amendment.

Oh, and let's also consider restoring the Fairness Doctrine and legislate broadcasting in the public interest.

Tall orders for sure, but why stop at just one solution to the "friendly fascism" that's been operating in this country for most of our lifetimes?



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 11, 2021 20:17

Numb as a hake.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 11, 2021 20:17

Numb as a hake.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 11, 2021 20:16

Numb as a hake.



Posted by: Seth Thayer | Jan 11, 2021 05:53

Nope, the President is fully and totally responsible and should be removed from office.  This unprepared and unqualified President can do a lot of damage militarily with a few phone calls.  Just look at what happened in Yakla at the start of his Presidency.  He was unprepared, but wanted to show his strength as Commander in Chief.  The raid was completely botched and scores of civilians were murdered.



Posted by: Kevin Riley | Jan 10, 2021 12:24

Ralph,

I see you have little to no understanding as to how this all works.
I suggest you research this a bit and read the SCOTUS decision.
In a nut shell Texas and "no standing" to sue other states to reverse or decertify they election results. No state does.
The constitution, a document you've shown little understanding of, clearly states the individual states have soul authority to set the times, places and process by which federal elections are held.
No other state has standing to effect the election of any other states. Ergo no state can sue another state over election results.

Article I Section 4, The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.

That is the constitution SCOTUS followed.

It would be like you suing someone living in another town from something they did in that town that did not effect you at all.

Also, 60 cases in four states(?) were thrown out do to zero evidence of voter fraud or malfeasance, many by Trump appointed judges.
Zero evidence.

In three cases the petitioners, Trumps lawyers, admitted they had no evidence.

To quote many from the 2016 election (including you I believe) you lost, get over it.

Unless of course you are able to demonstrably prove that 13,000,000 votes are fraudulent.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 10, 2021 10:36

How is it that the State of Texas does not have "standing" before the court. Texas laid out a good case. The Supremes should have followed what is spelled out in the Constitution. "No standing?" No standing has been a convenience for the courts for some time. Clear your desk sort of thing. No language for it in the Constitution.



Posted by: Kevin Riley | Jan 10, 2021 09:39

Crawford,

Don't forget No Standing.



Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Jan 10, 2021 09:34

Courts try cases based on evidence and the law not on hurt feelings or conspiracy theories. No evidence ... no case.... no SC involvement.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 10, 2021 06:27

The Supreme Court is Responsible. That death in Washington DC is the Supreme Courts responsibility, it falls on their inaction. I don't say this because I think the court should have sided with Trump, I say it because they left no avenue for the people that supported him to be heard. The court threw out every single suit on this election and refused to hear a case. I absolutely don't think the court should have sided with Trump, I think they should have heard one of the better cases even if they chose not to give remedy. Even if they ruled against the case, they could have done so in a fashion that preserved the rule of law. Most of the time a person or group just wants their grievance to be heard and the Supreme Court failed in its duty. So when you justices look at the news of the woman that was shot and killed and realize she is a veteran that served this country, understand you are the reason she is dead.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 09, 2021 15:57

Free Assange. Free Snowden.



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