When does the line get crossed? Ever? Donald Trump’s unhinged, rambling performance in Phoenix Tuesday night—filled with lies and the coded hatred of white supremacy—should make any rational person afraid for our democracy.
It bears repeating again and again. These are not normal times. The Trump regime is truly an evil world development in the early twenty-first century that exists to mainly comfort a malignant narcissistic leader intent on destroying our democratic institutions and replacing them with a culture of lies that assuages and emboldens a diminishing number of racists who adore him.
In Phoenix, before a crowd of adoring supporters, Trump went through a laundry list of lies about his accomplishments, tried to justify his incendiary remarks about a white supremacy rally and strongly hinted his was going to pardon the racist Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, who was found guilty for ignoring a court order to stop racial profiling.
Jennifer Rubin described the speech this way in an excellent analysis in The Washington Post:
The opening 15 minutes or so were devoted to relitigating – and lying about – his response to the Charlottesville incident. He omitted his words a few days after the death of Heather Heyer in which he claimed that there were “fine people” on both sides and that there was blame on “many sides.” But once again, he dwelled on himself, not on the death of a young woman or the flare-up of anti-Semitic, racist groups. He railed at the media, claiming that they did not cover the crowd (they did, revealing a modest gathering) and that there were not many protesters outside (there were thousands). The sight of the president, eight months into office, still lying about crowd size and whining about the media was stunning but not surprising.
It’s important to parse through Trump’s lies no matter how exhausting it becomes, but the larger picture is this: We have a mentally unstable president who is stoking the flames of hatred among white supremacists, an egomaniac who has surrounded himself with military generals, an unhinged blowhard who lies and lies to people who don’t care he lies. He is also someone under investigation for colluding with a hostile foreign power to get elected and then trying to obstruct that investigation.
Where does it all lead? The only quick, reasonable way out of this mess is for the Republican Party to come to terms with the fact that Trump is harming our country here and abroad and help remove him from office through legal means, such as impeachment. But it’s also incumbent on people to get on the streets and peacefully protest. Don’t listen to well-intentioned people who are urging people to stay home. The racists and fascists aren’t going to stay home. Trump isn’t going to stay home.
Everyone should dismiss the arguments that opposing Trump in strong words is somehow hyperbolic or that there’s any equivalency between white supremacists and those who oppose them. While it’s true that our courts and mainstream media have held up under his regime so far that could easily collapse in the aftermath of some national tragedy, such as a major terrorist attack. The question should be, What won’t Trump do or say?
Words are important. So is presence. Speak up. Show up.