Just a few years ago it would have been impossible to fathom in my lifetime people would see the terms ‘liar, bully, racist, homophobic, sexist pig’ being used to refer to a person and guess that person is the sitting president of the United States. Yet that is where we are in our country.
We see a president bully and try to intimidate a congressional witness, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, by tweet in the midst of her testimony to Congress. He tweeted “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Yes the president has the right to appoint ambassadors but demeaning them publicly, and doing it in the midst of public testimony, claiming a foreign leader doesn’t like them is unheard of.
We have the Trump administration now filled with a host of questionable people from Attorney General Barr who speaks one-sided lies to the Federalist Society; and a top White House adviser Stephen Miller who it has now been shown has connections and sympathies promoting white nationalists. There have been 68 high-ranking administration officials and Cabinet secretaries who have either resigned or have been fired, many under a cloud, in the three years Trump has been president. In addition 34 people with ties to the president and his campaign, including those who worked as Russian spies with ties to the Kremlin who worked to help him win, either indicted, convicted or having pled guilty.
The world looks at us as if we were the lowest form of banana republic. They see us with a president who coddles dictators and abuses friends. A president who praises Kim Jong-un of North Korea and works with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey while leaving our allies the Kurds to die. Part of his rationale for abandoning the Kurds who have helped us in the war against ISIS was they didn’t help us in World War ll. But then Trump is so uneducated, and we know he doesn’t like to read, he didn’t even know the Kurds did help us. He continues to attack our allies and NATO while cozying up to Vladimir Putin.
Decent people in the world see President Trump taking the United States down a path leading us backwards in every way. A president who has made it once again acceptable to be openly racist, sexist and homophobic. All things we as a nation have been struggling to overcome and seemed to be gaining ground on. They see a president who has encouraged divisions and hatred because he sees their result as a political gain for himself. He has dealt with international affairs the same way highlighted in his dealings with Ukraine for which he is now facing an impeachment inquiry. He has shown he is willing to subvert long-held American policy and freeze out the State Department in his efforts to bribe Ukraine’s leaders to do something to benefit his reelection campaign.
So our allies see a leader who has taken our nation so off-track they must wonder if we can ever again claim a leadership role in the world. It is imperative Trump be ousted from office and if impeachment doesn’t do it then the voters must in November of 2020.
I recently heard Democratic pollster Celinda Lake tell an audience defeating Trump in the election will not be easy and I agree with her. It will require Democrats to come out and VOTE. Which Democrat we nominate is still up in the air. We have reached a point where millennials and Gen Xers now will out-number Baby Boomers. The question this election will answer is whether they will actually come out and vote. What are the issues that will motivate them to take the time to cast a ballot? Will it be climate change, gun control, healthcare, or minimum wage? Will it be a renewed push for the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay for equal work for women, the Equality Act for the LGBTQ community, choice, or some other issue that will move them beyond demonstrations to actually casting a ballot? We have seen Trump nominate and his sycophants in the Senate approve ultra-right and often unqualified judges. The administration backtracking on DACA, caging children and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords. Yes voting does make a difference.
Let us all commit to never again seeing a Democratic candidate win the popular vote and yet lose the election. Let Republicans be aware we know and understand voting matters and will do it in record numbers.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.