During the weeks since President Trump’s inauguration, Americans have witnessed the sorry spectacle of his opponents acting exactly the way they predicted his supporters might do if he lost in November: demonstrate unwillingness and even outright refusal to accept the election result. In a perverse sort of way the spectacle, especially the incessantly repeated charge that Trump is dividing the country when it is his opponents doing the dividing, has been almost as amusing to watch as sad. It is the effect of seeing adults act like spoiled children who didn’t get their way. However, there are two aspects of the proclaimed “resistance” to Trump that aren’t amusing at all.
The first: Clinton supporters, unable to admit to themselves that they ran a candidate who was simply too widely disliked and mistrusted to win, have worked mightily to persuade the public that the reason for Trump’s victory was Russian meddling in the election.
We are not going to dwell here at length on how the U.S. regularly interferes in the political affairs of other nations. A recent blatant example was when President Obama flew to London prior to last year’s Brexit referendum, lunched with the Queen, and then told the Brits in a televised speech that they should vote to remain in the EU. We all know how that went.
Democrat Clinton supporters haven’t been the only ones fueling anti-Russian feeling. Nobody beats the drums harder for a renewed Cold War (or worse) than Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Fellow Republican and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has said of him all that needs saying. This was on ABC’s “This Week” on February 19: “John McCain’s the guy who’s advocated for war everywhere. He would bankrupt the nation. We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge, because I think we would be in perpetual war. I would say John McCain’s been wrong on just about everything over the past four decades. He advocated for the Iraq War, which I think destabilized the Middle East. If you look at the map, there’s probably at least six different countries where John McCain has advocated for us having boots on the ground.”
Had Paul been as unequivocal in everything he said at the time of his own bid for the Republican presidential nomination, it might not have been Donald Trump sworn in on January 20. But let me not divert us.
Which sane person can really believe that the current build-up of U.S. troops and weaponry in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe is all that stops Vladimir Putin from ordering his tanks to start rolling toward Warsaw, Berlin and Paris? Answer: No one who is sane, and no one at all except defense contractors who profit from the build-up and only pretend there is a Russian threat. After them come: 1) the Defense Department, which always is as anxious as every other department of government to see its share of the federal budget get bigger and bigger; and 2) members of Congress who vote the money that goes to the defense contractors because big chunks of it then come back to them in the form of campaign contributions.
As for Ukraine, also supposedly targeted by Putin, we’ve been hearing ever since U.S.-supported rebels, including neo-Nazis, overthrew its elected government that a Russian invasion was due any minute, and it hasn’t happened. Why would it? Putin has all any leader could handle in governing Russia. Why in the world would he want to take on trying to run bankrupt, ramshackle Ukraine?
What about the second aspect of the “resistance” to Trump that isn’t funny? It relates to the claim of Russian meddling in the election. It is the open warfare U.S. intelligence agencies have been conducting against the new Administration. They, after all, are the acknowledged source of the “leaks” concerning Russia’s alleged meddling.
Since the days of ancient Rome when the Praetorian Guard began making and unmaking emperors, rulers have known that nothing can be more dangerous to their survival than treachery in their security apparatus. It is why monarchs from Byzantium to Versailles to Tehran under the Shah used to have foreigners or members of detested minorities as bodyguards or running their secret police. The foreigners and minorities knew they owed their position and privileges to the ruler, and without him they stood to lose everything, possibly including their lives. The ruler could depend on their loyalty.
It is not necessary here to get into any of the unproved, and probably unprovable, theories about CIA or FBI involvement in the assassination of President John Kennedy. Instead, to make the point we are getting at, no more is needed than to recall what everybody eventually learned: that Deep Throat, the man who gave Washington Post reporters their important Watergate leads in the newspaper’s ultimately successful campaign to drive Richard Nixon from office, was a disgruntled FBI official seeking revenge because the President did not name him to succeed J. Edgar Hoover.
Speaking of the Washington Post, it is not irrelevant to mention the very many articles and columns the newspaper has devoted during these past weeks to suggest and sometimes flat-out charge that President Trump is deranged, unhinged, crazy. Other media, notably CNN, have pounded away on the same theme.
If they succeed in convincing the public, the Trump presidency could be jeopardized. That is because of Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (look it up on Wikipedia). It allows for the removal of a president if a majority of the Cabinet and Vice President declare him incapable of discharging his duties. It does not stipulate that the incapability has to be physical.
Readers should not conclude from what is said here that this writer expects Donald Trump really will “make America great again.” Nor, more to the point, have I abandoned the Catholic belief that politics which recognize Our Lord Jesus Christ as the true ruler of society is the best kind, but I am facing reality: the eighteenth-century Founders of the nation (most of whom were deists at best) established it as a liberal republic, not a Christian one, and the possibility of it becoming Christian grows more remote as the American people become less so; and that will not change unless and until the Church’s hierarchs overcome their own lack of belief and voice the truth that the only real reason to become or remain Catholic is that there is no other means by which a soul can enjoy eternity in the Presence of God. In the face of this reality I see that remaining serious Catholics, whether we be few or many, and whether or not we choose to participate in the quadrennial charade of choosing a leader from the left or right wing of our national liberalism, are better off today than we would be had the rabidly anti-life, man-hating, war-mongering Hillary Clinton become President in January. That doesn’t make Trump right in all he says or does.
For instance, I think that as praiseworthy as was his nominating Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, he is as wrong on Iran. Accusing it of terrorism is especially misleading. Not a single act of terrorism in Europe or the U.S. has been perpetrated by Iranians (most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis). Yes, Israel is intent on keeping the monopoly it has on nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and that is understandable, but continuing to fight another country’s wars does not put “America First” (another of the President’s slogans). It should also be noted that whenever he speaks of possible U.S.-Russian cooperation, President Trump always cites the usefulness of a combined effort against Islamic State. Has it escaped his attention that if President Assad’s army is beating Islamic State in Syria it is with the backing of Iranian troops as well as Russian tactical air support?
I don’t want to conclude these lines without saying something about the new First Lady. My memory of first ladies goes back to Eleanor Roosevelt. None has been the object of so many nasty remarks in ordinary conversation, or snide commentary in the media, as Mrs. Trump. I think the trouble is women can’t identify with her. Many could look at even Jackie Kennedy and imagine that with a makeover and the money to buy her wardrobe they could look as good. Not nearly as many can imagine looking like Melania Trump. All the women in a room will know that when she walks in the eyes of all the men will turn toward her.
Besides being beautiful, she is guilty of being feminine – a quality become almost as rare nowadays as beauty like hers always is, but with which quite ordinary women can be alluring, if they would but realize it.
It would have been wrong to disparage Michelle Obama for being black. It says more about them than her as persons if other women disparage Melania Trump on account of her being feminine and beautiful.