Alden Graves | Graves Registry: Thumbs up for orphans?


I stated in a recent column that, no matter who emerges from the long, long line of Democrats aspiring to be president, the others should support the nominee unequivocally. It doesn't matter if the person has proposals that are too far-reaching or too short-sighted. It doesn't matter if he or she wants to paint the Washington Monument in purple stripes. What matters is showing Donald Trump the exit and beginning to undo four years of Republican condoned moral and financial chaos.

The national debt, for instance, now stands at a record $22 trillion (that's a T, folks, not a B). Tax revenues are significantly down thanks to the GOP's generous giveaway to the gluttonous rich and federal spending is up. American taxpayers have doled out an estimated $102 million just to keep Trump's padded behind (family newspaper here) riding around in a golf cart.

The president is a big fan of debt as long as it lands on someone else's back. In a moment of unvarnished candor and displaying a degree of odiousness that is notable even for him, Trump claims he won't be around when the bill comes due, so why should he care? It is worth remembering that our children and their children will be.

If the Democrats prevail in 2020, the Republicans can revert to wailing and moaning about the astronomical debt. It will be a sort of instant replay of the Obama presidency after the financial disaster that George W. Bush's administration wrought on the nation. Remember how President Obama didn't clean up the mess fast enough to suit them?

The most impressive feat that Mr. Trump has been able to achieve during his tenure playing president is staying out of jail. Of course that is much easier to accomplish when you have one of the two major political parties running interference for you that would shame a NFL linebacker. The people who used to bill themselves as the Family Values Party have capitulated, body and soul, to a man to whom the word "family" means potential accomplices and "values" only apply to dollar signs.

Frank Bruni had an interesting column in the New York Times a while ago. He speculated, much to his regret, that Trump had a few "legs up" on winning a second term beyond the obvious one of being an incumbent.

There is also the Electoral College to consider. That is the American institution that holds that a vote in Iowa, in effect, should have more impact than a vote in New York, thereby keeping the stability of the country from being upended with fancy notions like progress.

One vote should count as one vote in a democracy no matter where it is cast. The Electoral College smacks of the same political shenanigans that gave rise to gerrymandering and have proven to be the life's blood for a political party that cannot sustain itself solely on its allegiance to the best interests of the wealthy. For far too long, those with a vision for the future in America have been hamstrung by people with an obsession for living in the past.

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Mr. Bruni had some valid points, but the elections in 2018 was as much a public verdict on the Trump presidency as prognostications best left to crystal balls and tarot cards.

I keep hoping, perversely I suppose, that Mr. Trump will make one unforgivable blunder that will finally open the eyes of the people who still support him. Since a remotely empathetic reaction to tragedy doesn't seem to be within the confines of Mr. Trump's emotional range, the public relations jaunt to El Paso, scene of another American gun massacre, didn't go very well. Most of the victims who were still hospitalized left instructions to keep Trump away and the mayor of the city had the effrontery to suggest that the president, with his inflammatory rhetoric, bore some responsibility for the bloodbath.

The highlight of this farcical orgy of con job commiseration was a photograph of Trump and the third wife (that appellation seems so much more fitting than first lady) holding the orphaned infant of two victims of the shootings. The smile on Trump's wife's face is much more tentative, as if she is photo-savvy enough to suspect that there is something perilously close to a Twilight Zone status with the whole idea.

But Donald ("What, me worry?") Trump is standing there with a big Cheshire Cat grin on his face, flashing a thumbs up for the camera. Thumbs up for orphans? What the hell is wrong with this guy!

Trump's handlers laid the foundation for the horror that they knew was coming by convincing a good percentage of the American people that all the stories that would inevitably emerge about their corrupt and inept boss were simply fabrications by a biased media. Blaming the messenger was the only way to peddle a man so morally and intellectually deficient as Donald Trump.

The most fake president in American history was thus transformed into the maliciously maligned victim of the news media. Over and over, Trump proved that the media was telling the truth about his incompetence and his dishonesty. His supporters, who by then had morphed into a kind of cult, just sneered, and they will undoubtedly vote for him again.

I voted in the 2016 election, naively believing that it was hardly necessary, that certainly an accomplished, intelligent, experienced woman would prevail over an inarticulate television clown with a dismal business record. I wonder how many others with the same expectation didn't bother to vote at all. It is my hope that, to paraphrase Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's famous quote after Pearl Harbor, that Trump has awakened a sleeping giant in the American people and filled them with a terrible resolve to get rid of him.

One final note: If a film is ever made of the disreputable life and untimely death of Jeffrey Epstein, it should be called "The Man Who Knew Too Much."

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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