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Posts published in “Day: July 31, 2016”

Trump 100: Dissing the ‘losers’

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A little over a year ago, July 19, 2015, Donald Trump spoke of one of his fellow Republicans, Senator and former presidential candidate, and former five-year prisoner of war John McCain: “He’s not a war hero." Later, responding to a ferocious counter-blast, he backed off to the point of saying, "He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

McCain, remember, became a prisoner of the North Vietnamese in 1967 after his plane was shot down; he was not freed until 1973. He was terribly injured in the plane crash and was tortured by his captors, but refused an offer to return home, insisting that he would not go home if his comrades did not.

Trump's comments deserved all the heavy criticism they got at the time, which many people speculated would end Trump's career. (The fact that Trump dodged service in Vietnam, although having attended a military school, by using a series of deferments, does not help.) On its own it speaks to a lack of concern and loyalty to the troops he is hoping to lead.

McCain himself seemed to shrug it off, but his granddaughter responded this way: “Trump’s statement, in my view, is unforgivable, and speaks to the kind of man he is: a coward who has never faced danger in his life, an insecure brat who shirked duty for comfort, and a man who is wholly unfit to serve as commander-in-chief.”

All of that is true, but a close look suggests it still represents only part of a problem even larger: Trump appears to express no concern or regard for anyone he doesn't class among life's "winners."

Anyone in trouble, anyone who has had a reversal, anyone needing the help of the government - or of the president - is easily dismissed as a loser who deserves what they get. In the quote "I like people who weren't captured," substitute the words "weren't captured" for almost anything else unfortunate that could happen to a person. Those - most of us - are life's "losers," in Trump's book, and unworthy of serious consideration, much less help.

Imagine how much help a prisoner of war would get under President Trump. Now extend that point out to most of the rest of us. -rs

100 days, 100 reasons

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For the next 100 days, beginning today with the next post here, this site will provide 100 reasons Donald Trump never should become president of the United States.

This is an unusual break for this site, but this is an unusual situation.

In delivering last week the first major newspaper presidential endorsement this year, the Houston Chronicle said, “the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is not merely political. It is something much more basic than party preference. ... Any one of Trump's less-than-sterling qualities - his erratic temperament, his dodgy business practices, his racism, his Putin-like strongman inclinations and faux-populist demagoguery, his contempt for the rule of law, his ignorance - is enough to be disqualifying. His convention-speech comment, "I alone can fix it," should make every American shudder. He is, we believe, a danger to the Republic.”

In my lifetime, 15 presidential contests have been held, featuring 30 major party nominees for the high office. They have been a widely varied group, and some have been better than others. Until now, until this year, none of those candidates has struck me as so dangerous to this country that our national future, the America we have known and celebrated for a quarter-millennium, was at actual risk. I believe it will be now, if the voters of the United States make the terrible mistake of electing Donald Trump.

Through four decades of writing about politics I have avoided flatly recommending for or against candidates. But: As Edward Murrow said of Joseph McCarthy – a true precursor to Donald Trump - “This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent - or for those who approve. We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” If men like Trump, or McCarthy, ultimately prevail, there will one day be no independent journalism to practice.

I do not argue that the candidate on the other side of the ledger arrives without problems of her own. But the nature of Donald Trump is so broadly and deeply flawed, so very dangerous, that the specific risks he poses to the country numbers into the dozens, into the scores. Those various risks have been noted in many places by many people, by Republicans not much less than by others. Those risks should not be forgotten as people begin to consider their voting options. I hope that in its small way this list will serve as a reminder of what we have seen that may hang around just a little bit longer, after one day’s Trump outrage has been replaced by the next.

This is not intended as a list of statements or actions or incidents that I consider disqualifying; most such events taken in isolation could be considered not so terribly serious. This is intended to be a list of aspects of Trump, his character and persona and projection, as illustrated by those incidents, that would lead to a disastrous presidency and a very bad stretch for the United States.

What kind of human being is Donald Trump is the question animating this list.

These 100 disqualifications (not legal disqualifications, of course, but rather what should be voter disqualifications) are numbered, but they aren’t placed in a strict rank order – how could they be? While I have reserved some of what I consider the most overwhelmingly worst of them for the later entries, the serious problems he would evoke start right from the beginning with number 100.

One further note: If you have suggestions, comments, questions, or just want to get in touch, write me at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

- Randy Stapilus