Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018-02-06

Trump's suggestion that not applauding him might be treasonous needs to be addressed seriously, even if his mouthpiece claims he was joking. The time is long past to excuse his statements as idiocies and gaffes. When he started his ill-fated term, OK, sure, he didn't know what he was doing, but he's been doing this for over a year now. If we the people, and the men in women in the Senate and the House of Representatives who supposedly represent us, don't hold him accountable for his words and his actions, then we deserve what we get.

It's too easy to brush it off. "He didn't mean it like that!" "He was obviously joking!" "Don't take everything so literally!" And yet if Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or any other president had intimated that those who opposed them (and they all had people oppose them) just might be guilty of treason, there would be an uproar. A justifiable uproar.

Of course, he's probably trying to turn the focus of the word "treason" away from his campaign, and the investigation into it, and onto others, preferably his political opponents. We shouldn't fall for that. Neither should the Republican colleagues of the Democrats accused. Or are we saying that it will be OK for the next Democratic president to say the same when Republicans fail to genuflect enough? Everyone needs to condemn this and make it clear that it's not OK, not even if it really was a joke.

Letting the Petulant get away with labeling legitimate investigations as "a witch hunt," insulting politicians (of both major parties) who refuse to toe his line, and implying that refusing to clap for his speech could be called treason lowers the bar and normalizes this autocratic behavior. No, he's not a dictator... yet. Maybe he doesn't even want to be. But allowing ourselves to shrug this off as not a big deal, not worth making a fuss about, could lead us down a slippery slope where someone (perhaps not Trump himself, but someone) does seize control because we let it happen.


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