Op/Ed

Editorial: Dropping down the rabbit hole with Trump’s GOP

Here’s how to determine how far down the authoritarian rabbit hole we are as a country, and, on a local level, how far we each might be as individuals.
On the national level, one simple test is to watch how the Republican Party responds to President Trump’s desire to silence and limit further national intelligence briefings on Russia’s ongoing efforts to once again help Trump win the upcoming election.
As an individual, the test is what you believe: Do you think the nation’s intelligence agencies should brief both Houses of Congress in bipartisan fashion (that is, with Democrats and Republicans in the briefing) or do you, as Trump does, think only Republicans can be trusted with such news, or that such information should not even be shared with Congress? Rather, Trump’s national intelligence director should first tell him what the intelligence agencies know and let Trump decide whether or not anyone in Congress should find out about it. After all, Trump would say, he’s president and the president commands everything — particularly information that may make him look bad.
Trump was upset last week when he learned that Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was present when director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire allowed a briefing to occur that demonstrated Russia was actively seeking to again influence the upcoming election to Trump’s benefit. Remember, this is a national intelligence team picked by Trump and under his leadership. It is not the “deep state,” as Trump might have you believe; it is his chosen team. The intelligence community presented the evidence to a bipartisan group of House committee members (as has been the unquestioned custom in Congress up until the Trump era) because they considered such interference in the integrity of our elections to be a concern the nation should address.
Trump, however, berated Maguire for holding the briefing, saying he was fearful that Democrats would use the information against him. So Maguire got the boot; and Trump picked a loyalist with no experience in national intelligence matters, Mr. Richard Grenell, to replace him.
*********
How might American’s view this? First, gauge your own reaction. Is Trump right to berate his director of national intelligence for holding the briefing? Is he right to replace him with a loyalist who, Trump seems to hope, would not share such information with Congressional committees? Is it his right as president to deny Congressional committees access to such information? Is it good for our democracy?
Not surprisingly (because 99 percent of Republicans have become spineless in the face of Trump) most Republicans in the Senate are close-lipped about Trump’s latest tirade. They don’t want to speak out against him — or even insinuate this is not good for our democracy — for fear of the backlash from a raging autocrat. Such fear from members of the president’s own party is the first sign things are amiss.
Now try to imagine how you, and Republicans across the country, would act if a Democrat were in the White House and did the same thing? You can bet they would be hollering as loudly as possible though every Fox outlet and on conservative talk radio, bellowing how outrageous such an over-reach of executive power it was. You’d be aghast that such behavior wasn’t worthy of impeachment — again.
But if Trump’s latest assault on the nation’s separation of powers doesn’t bother you, if you think he’s justified in wanting to keep such information from Democrats because the truth would only hurt Trump and his party’s chances at maintaining power, then you know how those members of the Nazi party felt when Hitler was being chastised for trying to make Germany great again. You can sympathize with Hitler’s supporters for believing Hitler was a champion of the German people and you can understand why they supported his harsh policies against immigrants and others — all in the name of building a stronger German state.
And, as time went along, you can start to understand why so few Germans spoke out against him, even refused to believe the horrendous crimes he was committing, until… well, we all know the rest of the story.
Angelo Lynn

Share this story:

More News
Op/Ed

Editorial: Sheriff reform needed; not so easy to do it

A bill introduced last week to reform the way Vermont sheriffs operate is a step in the ri … (read more)

Op/Ed

Ways of Seeing: Reflecting on Dr. King’s dream

Equality is not equity. Dr. King made this point repeatedly. He argued that while white Am … (read more)

Op/Ed

Building the library of the future: Libraries enhance our workforce

I’ve noticed that many politicians talk about the importance of preparing America’s labor … (read more)

Share this story: