It’s time for Republicans and Democrats alike to ask themselves what they’re really willing to tolerate, and realize that, once certain behaviors are normalized, our republic could be lost in the process.
Donald Trump’s presidency has been one of smashing political norms. It’s part of his appeal. But it’s one thing to clear out bureaucracy and restore power to the people, as Trump promised but hasn’t delivered. Destroying democracy as regular policy is quite a different problem.
Trump saw nothing wrong with foreign interference in the 2016 election. He even encouraged it. He saw nothing wrong with leveraging his position to enrich his own businesses. He continues to do it.
It’s clear from the Mueller Report he obstructed justice. Now, the people are learning Trump sees nothing wrong with reaching out to foreign officials in the Ukraine to try and dig up dirt on potential 2020 presidential opponent Joe Biden. He sees nothing wrong with courting disaster with Iran, because the Saudis buy American weapons.
And those are just the big things. There are thousands of little ones that bloom into national issues — the constant lies, the deranged rantings and ravings on Twitter, the astonishing inability to denounce Nazis. The president of the United States altered a weather map with a marker because he didn’t want to admit he made a mistake, which sent people in parts of Alabama into a panic. Then he tried to have the meteorologists who contradicted him fired. So, that’s how petty he can get, all the while ignoring the consequences of his actions.
Besides everything wrong with this that should be rather obvious, the larger problem is nothing is done to hold the president accountable. The GOP is now the party of Trump. His supporters in Congress, in right-wing media and throughout evangelical America perform unfathomable mental gymnastics to justify the president’s behavior. It’s hard to say why, other than party and power are now more important than country.
But the Republicans are not the only ones to blame. The House Democrats have been trying to move to hold the president responsible for some time, but Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stonewalls, fumbles and refuses to go forward because she’s petrified of her own party losing the 2020 election. Failing to act is complicity. Pelosi is every bit as ineffective and blind as her counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
West Virginia’s congressional delegation certainly isn’t doing much to help, either. Apparently they see nothing wrong with completely compromising American democracy.
Here’s the thing: If a president isn’t held accountable for unabashed ethical entanglements and alleged criminal behavior, then winning elections doesn’t mean anything. Nothing does. Nihilism wins, because the government and its people have decided all of this dangerous behavior is fine.
Pelosi, McConnell and everyone else enabling this current climate need to realize the system of government that has been in place for more than 200 years won’t just fold back into its normal shape after being punctured and warped by Trump. If they’re OK with the president’s actions, the damage will be long-lasting, and their names will be just as infamous in U.S. history, should the country survive long enough to teach it.