Republican Lackeys and the White Rose
Lackeys are persons who show servile obedience or deference toward someone else without questioning them. Republican Lackeys supporting our crude, racist, uninformed, misogynistic President are creating a precarious situation for the United States. “Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed, without opposition, by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct.” No, that statement was not written about those Republican Lackeys who remain silent while Donald Trump destroys the norms of democracy. It was written 77 years ago by the White Rose, a German resistance movement created during the Second World War.
Started by Munich university students in 1942, the White Rose leaflet campaign promoted active defiance to the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, the Nazis crushed the movement the following year, executing its leaders.
The Growth of Fascism
The Trump regime is not the National Socialist German Workers Party that governed Germany between 1933 and 1945. But the similarities are chilling, or should be. They parallel those of an authoritarian leader trying to gain complete control of government, flouting the law and constitutional strictures.
The President makes no attempt to hide his fascist tendencies. He repeatedly refers to the “free press” as the enemy of the people. Anything critical of him or his policies is immediately discredited as fake news. And when challenged by critics, he belittles their physical appearance and/or mental capacity. They are UN-American. So much for the Constitution’s first amendment regarding freedom of expression.
Then there is his contempt for judges who rule against him. Virtually every Trump policy decision or action attracts legal challenge. Many, if not most of those challenges have resulted in decisions unfavorable to Trump. Which prompts him to assail the individual judges and urge their removal from the bench.
Flouting the Constitution
He does not accept the role of the House of Representatives in appropriating funds for specific purposes. The House refused to finance his border wall. Using a specious claim of an “emergency,” he is attempting to transfer funds from approved appropriations to pay for it. Once again the issue is under judicial review.
He challenges Congress oversight role and directs executive staff to defy requests by Congressional Committees and ignore related subpoenas. In fact, his lawyers have openly asserted in court that Congress has limited authority to investigate the president. I guess they never read the Constitution and the House’s power of impeachment.
Narcissism Over Knowledge
He fawns over other authoritarian leaders such as those of Russia and North Korea, who play on his narcissism and naiveté to their advantage. By not taking cyber and military threats seriously, he endangers national security.
His policies on trade and tariffs—though directly contrary to policies of the Party he heads—have hurt segments of the economy. To compensate for their loss of markets, the Government has paid U.S. farmers amounts greater than those received from tariffs on Chinese imports.
He takes immigration action with no apparent idea how to implement it properly, thus creating a crisis at the border. Children and adults are held in cages in inhumane conditions without adequate sleeping facilities and basic health necessities. Harm to children separated from their parents is immeasurable but real. The United States is no longer the bastion of hope for those seeking asylum from the dangers of their home countries.
The Laughing Stock to the World
He is a laughing stock to the world. In his speech at the United Nations the audience of diplomats broke out in laughter when they heard him touting his outrageously false claims of great accomplishments. And the unflattering opinion of him and his administration recently leaked by the now resigned British Ambassador is shared by virtually all others in the diplomatic corps.
He revels in his crudeness, racism and misogyny. A recent tweet stated that four newly elected Congresswomen of color should go back to the countries they came from. They all are American citizens. Three were born in this country and one is a Somali refugee.
Truth has no place in his arsenal of dialog. He lies without hesitation, and repeatedly. By any measure, he fails to observe the norms of civil, political and diplomatic discourse. He is a disgrace and danger to the United States. Yet those who have pledged to defend the Constitution remain silent.
First Tier Republican Lackeys
Former Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan—perhaps one of the few politicians who could have constrained Trump at the start of his Presidency—now claims he did just that. Had it not been for me, he opines, Trump would have been much worse. This is now the common rejoinder of those no longer in government, who sat by while the President acted Trumpian. I doubt Ryan or others will receive a positive response to their attempt at reputation resurrection.
Then there is Mitch McConnell. He is not uninformed or stupid. He knows better. But for blatant politically cynical reasons, he enables Trumpian action in return for judges, tax cuts and less regulation.
Lindsey Graham is the Republican Lackey next in line. I must admit it took me a while to see him for what he is. Because of his close connection with John McCain, I thought he had the deceased Senator’s same moral character. But I was wrong. John McCain was a true American hero in every sense of the word. Lindsey Graham is a self-serving wimp—make that a self-serving, cowardly wimp. He is worried more about being challenged in a primary than defending the values of our country. What would John think of his “friend” if he were alive today?
Graham is not the only wimp among the Republican Lackeys. Let’s start with Vice President Mike Pence. The constant up and down movement of his head in silent acknowledgement of or in agreement with anything Trump says has apparently earned him the nickname, “Bobble head.” And if you’re so inclined, you can even buy one from Amazon.com.
You can also include, Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader and virtually all Republican Senators and Representatives. They all grovel in fear of a primary challenge. It is rare when any of them speaks out no matter how outrageous Trump’s words or actions. When they do, it’s usually too little / too late.
To this list of elected officials, you can add many who serve in the Executive Branch. One who comes quickly to mind is the Attorney General, William Barr. He came to this administration as a competent, well respected individual. But his lack of integrity in dealing with the Mueller Report and his actions supporting, encouraging and even enabling Trump’s attempt to bend the Constitution to expand his unlawful powers bring him to the top ranks of Republican Lackeys.
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.” And, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” These are the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President. Perhaps all Trump’s Republican Lackeys should take a moment to consider them.
The White Rose
I started this treatise with reference to the White Rose wartime resistance group. I include the following portion of their first leaflet for its implications of failure to resist an authoritarian regime. Remember, White Rose members directly challenged the Nazi regime though they faced the loss of their lives. Trump’s Republican Lackeys face a much different and less lethal danger: the potential loss of a political career.
“If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order of history; if they surrender man’s highest principle, that which raises him above all other God’s creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass – then, yes, they deserve their downfall.”
Surrendering Your Soul
Does retaining a Senate or House seat really warrant surrendering your soul? If you don’t know the answer, I suggest you find a version of the 1958 movie, Damn Yankees. Even the fictional Joe Boyd, a lifelong fan of the then hapless Washington Senators baseball team, finally makes the right decision. The glory of winning is not worth the price of his soul.