Some people with high intelligence and general thoughtfulness about important matters are shocking me now with their view that we are being hasty and unfair in judging the new president. They argue that it is “early days” and that naturally there will be a few “distractions” as Trump gets his bearings. In addition, some serious people have argued that it is alright for the press to soft-peddle Trump’s constant “misstatements of fact” as “falsehoods,” because lying requires intent to mislead and they can’t see into Trump’s mind.
But, of course, they can. We all can. You know a liar when you hear one. They are persistently resistant to evidence. They repeat false statements with overt indifference to the truthfulness of their statements.
There is a principle in the law that states “if you take an action with reasonably foreseeable consequences, then you intended those consequences.” Thus, if you drive your car into a crowd of people, killing several of them, you will not be heard to claim “I didn’t mean to kill them; I only wanted to scare them.” Applying this logical and common sense principle to Trump, it must be concluded that he intended to make these false statements and that those statements are “LIES!” We should call them by their true name.
Because he “believes” in multiple mythologies about how foreign-born persons are admitted to the United States, notwithstanding the elaborate vetting processes in place for years now, Trump has issued an Executive Order that has led, foreseeably, to chaos and harm to many people who are otherwise legally entitled to enter the United States. A short summary of some of the early damage is well-told in this piece. http://nyti.ms/2kxA3Y4 Fortunately in the short term, a federal court, at the behest of the ACLU, has issued nationwide stay of the Executive Order.
Trump’s actions regarding refugees are illegal and unconstitutional. They are also likely to cause more actual harm that any harm actually prevented. There is no “wait and see” here. It is clear beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof for criminal cases, that the man in the White House is the same person we saw on the campaign trail. Nothing has changed. A child does not grow up in a few months. So to my friends who say I am being too hasty, I say open your eyes and your minds to reality. What you now see is what we’re going to get.
The Republican Congress, meanwhile, is running out of sand into which to bury their collective heads. In their inverted positions, they won’t even see the next one coming. They vilified President Obama for claimed abuses of the power of executive orders in the face of refusal by Congress to even consider some of his proposals. Now their man is issuing such orders almost every day without a thought to Congress, the agencies of jurisdiction (and expertise) or anyone else. Trump appears to have forgotten, if he ever knew, that there are three branches to the United States Government. Yesterday he was forcefully reminded.
Not that he cares. The White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus has stated, in effect, “we don’t care who got hurt. We got our rights to protect the borders.” No doubt we have that right, but one would hope that the acts taken to protect the border are thought through and competently executed. Instead, the direct consequence of Trump’s need to show he’s in charge was incompetence on a massive scale, leading to large protests across the country, loss of respect overseas and more fodder for the maniacs of ISIS to use in recruitment. Richard Nixon faced many protests and reacted by making “enemies lists” and lying about the war in Vietnam. Trump likely will turn to that next. Round up the usual suspects and to hell with the consequences.
How long then before Trump and his “team” start to execute on their threats to stop the press from criticizing him? How long before they tire of facing a multitude of legal challenges arising from his arbitrary and unjustified executive orders and begin ignoring court orders? How long before they order the military to start arresting people for sedition?
Here are some things you can do.
- Communicate with your representatives in Congress that you demand that they stand up to the arbitrary conduct of the President;
- Join the protests whenever you can;
- Make clear to everyone you know that you are not satisfied with a country in which the Executive Branch runs roughshod over the rights of the people;
- Join your local political organization and actively engage with neighbors.
- # RESIST everywhere all the time.