If You Can't Say Something Nice...
I received a note the other day from my pal, the fine scientist and guitar-playing motorcycle mechanIc Dr. Greg Van Buskirk. I was going to reply earlier, though I explained that if other major news broke I'd have to push what I had to say back -- and given this administration, it was likely that some major story would break. Just two hours later, Trump invited Putin to the White House. And didn't even tell his Director of National Intelligence first. And then the Cohen tape story broke. And then...
Hey, I've even put aside the story from yesterday of Trump suggesting he might pull the security clearances from the country's top former-intelligence chiefs, because I wanted to finally have a chance to get back to the good Dr. Buskirk. Hey, what's one more national security debacle these days? Anyway, Dr. Buzz had written to me about a conversation he'd had with a Trump-supporting friend --
"I was challenged the other day to 'admit' one good thing he had done: the challenger had several, all of which from my POV ranged from not very good to horrible (not wishing to rank them, I'll leave them to your imagination). Net-net... I could not think of a single thing. Not one. He could have come close with at least starting a dialogue with North Korea, but again that feels like rewarding an arsonist for putting out his own fire. And the follow-up has shown how woeful he was in negotiating (for which he was given abundant warning). Help me out, Bob, so that next time I'm challenged, I can at least feel "fair and balanced"?
There are a great many good ways to reply, but here's the answer I'm going with at the moment --
"If to total surprise of all his parishioners the happily-married pastor of your church turned out to have secretly murdered 120 people, embezzled church money for orphans with his mistress, participated in neo-Nazi rallies that fire-bombed Jewish synagogues and black churches, and funded international terrorism, what earthly difference does it make if I can name three times he did nice things, or even two dozen, like planting a lovely healing garden for the community???
"But fine, OK, here's one good thing this administration has done -- Trump pardoned the boxer Jack Johnson posthumously. There, you have it. But just to be fair, here's even a bonus positive thing: Trump created a task force to promote U.S. agriculture. And yet another, Trump issued a memorandum that all pipeline used by the government must be 'Made in the U.S.A.' So, good for him! Also, to his credit, Trump reunited 40 immigrant children out of the 3,000 he ripped from their parents. And he also has helped rejuvenate investigative journalism. So, hey, there's five nice things Trump has done.
"Okay, here's the deal: Trump has done positive things. He smiles at people who compliment him. He plays golf well. He wears well-tailored suits. All of his positives are lovely, and they are each of them shiny objects that bedazzle his supporters as he secretly murdered 120 people, embezzled church money for orphans with his mistress, participated in neo-Nazi rallies that fire-bombed Jewish synagogues and black churches, and funded international terrorism, all the while putting Russia's interests over those of the U.S.
"Okay, semi-quips aside, he may have actually funded international terrorism with his money-laundering, particularly in Azerbaijan through Iran's Revolutionary Guard. But why quibble on the details.
"But even all that isn't the problem. The problem isn't even Trump and whether I can name things he did that were nice. It's that Republican elected officials have been enabling all the truly horrible things, many fascist and dangerous to America that Trump has been doing since taking office.
"But fine, Trump likes cheeseburgers. That's nice."
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor