America’s reality check

Donald Trump speaks

The same former president whose response to the COVID pandemic included suggesting we drink bleach has encouraged the Russian dictator to invade NATO countries. Within days, Vladimir Putin murdered political rival Alexei Navalny.

Many Americans blame our woes on both political parties. Excuse me. Republicans, under the thumb of a sociopath, have become a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin. There is no threat across the aisle remotely comparable. Not the Squad. Not Joe Biden’s age nor his trademark gaffes. Not even his failure to rein in Israel.

Donald Trump is ready to start World War III out of spite against his own country. He treats our crucial NATO alliance like a mafia-run protection racket. He confuses 9/11 with 7-Eleven.

Things are in bad shape when I find myself agreeing with Mitt Romney and John Bolton, who at least understand that we should not encourage Russia to overrun Europe.

Independent candidate Cornel West, by contrast, talks as if America is the greatest threat to the world. Some people’s notion of righteousness is to be a spoiler if they can’t have everything their way.

Meanwhile, America’s economy is booming under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high last week. Unemployment has been below 4% for 24 straight months.

If you are determined to take a sour view of the economy regardless — including by blaming Biden for the price of eggs — I can’t stop you. But let’s step back and examine our national situation.

Democrats have expanded access to healthcare, supported women’s right to control their own pregnancies, and have passed legislation to defend marriage equality, address climate change, and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Republicans overturned Roe v. Wade, treat brown-skinned immigrants as a threat to our national purity, deny the reality of climate change, demonize LGBTQ+ people, pander to white Christian nationalism (which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the teachings of Christ), insist on arming our country to the teeth but resent defending our allies, deny school lunches to poor children, and offer only book bans and culture wars as far as the eye can see.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose craven kowtowing to Trump should make his friend John McCain rise from his grave and slap him, had the nerve to tell Fox News, “Conservatives are tolerant, we are kind of get out of your business, you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone.” As DFlindy replied on the X social media platform, “Except for in your: Religion, Body, Bedroom, Marriage ceremony, Library, School, Doctors office, Emergency Room, [and] Pharmacy.”

Trump has some odd defenders. MSNBC host Katy Tur declared him synonymous with New York. The only context in which that is true is if she was referring to mobbed-up businesses in Queens.

The massive fraud penalty against Trump in New York has two opposing dimensions: a con artist finally getting his comeuppance, and its easy fit with his narrative of being persecuted.

There is a real danger that Trump’s weaponization of his legal woes can succeed if enough voters in key states cling to the aspiring tyrant.

Trump says mass deportations will begin within minutes of his swearing-in if he becomes president again. By contrast, California Democratic senatorial primary candidate Adam Schiff urges us to treat humanely the people crossing our border seeking opportunity.

A migration, incidentally, is not an invasion. Putin’s attack on Ukraine was an invasion. If you really cannot tell the difference, God help you.

Citizen Trump, as the DC Circuit Court of Appeals dubbed him, may be deranged but is skilled at appealing to the worst in people. This centers on encouraging white people to adopt a pose of fragility and embrace an endless series of grievances against everyone who does not look and think like themselves. It insists that the worst-ever White House occupant is the only one who can save America.

If Trump is America’s Savior, I’d hate to see the devil.

His mob’s targets include queer people, racial and religious minorities, and everyone who believes in science, evidence, and the rule of law. His slanders of New York Attorney General Letitia James and Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis as a deflection tactic reek of misogynoir.

We need to join my favorite billionaire Taylor Swift in encouraging people to vote. We need to save our democracy.

We can talk glibly about updating our passports, but most Americans cannot afford to leave.

Here’s a thought: we summon our better selves, stand our ground, and fight for our country.

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