Publius Speaks

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Unqualified to be President

Boy Scout Oath or Promise:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Boy Scout Law:
A Scout is:
  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean, and Reverent.
Boy Scout Motto:  Be Prepared! 

Boy Scout Slogan:  Do a Good Deed Daily!  

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 Yes, that is a red line drawn across this page.  Just in case you did not perceive its color or
significance, let me make it clear:  as the elected Leader of this nation, Donald Trump crossed a red
line that demarcates a faux pas from a more serious impropriety.  More than a social gaffe, Trump
perpetrated mistake, blunder, gaffe, indiscretion, impropriety, solecism, barbarism, boo-boo, bloopera stupid, tactless, thoughtless, and embarrassing, almost barbaric, blunder.  He has
trespassed beyond the bounds of decency into the realm of abusive behavior. For he abused his
audience, mostly made up of young boys – many still meeting a definition of children – with adult-
oriented verbiage and story-telling that had little or nothing to do with the promises or ideals of the
Boy Scout Oath, Law, or Motto. To be fair, Trump did make a slight mention of Boy Scout values by
saying:Boy Scout values are American values. And great Boy Scouts become great, great
Americans.” 

Donald Trump failed – once again – to lead, to inspire or even to speak clearly about the democratic values and truths that move this nation toward greatness.  Instead, as usual, he impulsively talked about himself and his adventures, his campaign and his wins.  It was mainly about his story rather than the story of the Boy Scouts in the context of the story of America’s core values and ideals.

 Instead, this man chose to demean our immediate past president, to talk of his own accomplishments, to praise acquisition of a yacht, and to politicize the entire event with rantings about his own “successes” of the last 6 months in office.

He offered nothing of value for these young men who have promised to meet their obligations to be good citizens, to be “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”  In sharp contrast to speeches by President Obama, Trump gave little or nothing of moral value to the thousands of young boys who attended this Jamboree.  He left nothing upon which they could build – no character lessons, no memorable guideposts (like: “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”), and certainly no specific challenges, goals, dreams or horizons toward which they might direct themselves.  He left them the old saw of “work hard” and then offered this as his conclusive, rather confused value: “In life, I always tell this to people, you have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum. And if you don't have it, that's OK. Because you're going to go on, and you're going to learn and you're going to do things that are great. But you have to know about the word ‘momentum’.  But the big thing, never quit, never give up; do something you love.”

 That’s it: know about momentum.  It was a sad end to a sad story he told about a successful man who lost his momentum and couldn’t come back from bankruptcy. One problem: he never explained what momentum has to do with the values of the Scout Oath, Law or Motto, or with democratic values.  

Donald Trump failed the Boy Scouts of America in the very same manner in which he has failed all Americans: his values are those of a narcissistic, grossly impulsive, selfish, egomaniacal seeker of wealth and status, making him virtually unable to lead a people whose values, ethics, principles and everyday concerns (for the most part) are much different.  Donald Trump has little or no sense of community or even of neighborliness; his world is one of competition and winning, not primarily one of sharing, giving, or of helping “other people at all times.” 

Likewise, the  "values" expressed by Donald Trump do not mesh well with the values and principles of the Boy Scout Law.   Generally speaking, the ideals and values therein are mere tools in Trump’s world – meant to be used to achieve his primary goal: the aggrandizement of self and family.  Here are just a few samples.

Loyalty – “As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal -- we could use some more loyalty I will tell you that.”  By these words, DJT, seems to admit that loyalty means something only in the context of loyalty to him as epitomized by the “loyalty oaths” uttered by cabinet and top staff in the Oval Office at a meeting early-on with the newly inaugurated Trump.  Since then, we have seen several persons in his administration resign because they either didn’t meet the standard of loyalty demanded or they could not accommodate themselves to such an oath or declaration – the names James Comey and Sally Yates (and now perhaps Jeff Sessions) come to mind.

 Friendly, Courteous, Kind – certainly little evidence of this in his Boy Scout speech.  But the pictures I will always carry in my mind are from other events: 1) Encouragement of his supporters at campaign rallies to “take care of” “and “throw out” peaceful demonstrators, some of whom were then physically attacked by his supporters or personnel; 2) Donald Trump willing to perform a  take-down and fight with a supposed newspaper reporter at a wrestling match; and 3) Trump pushing and shoving aside the President of Montenegro at an international conference, and then preening in front of the TV cameras as he gained front row status by means of his aggressive action.

 Trustworthy – again, to DJT, this is important only when applied to others, not to himself. Or, when used as a tool to demean and disparage or “fire” others. Think of that Trump-designated “great American”, General Mike Flynn, who got sacked as National Security Advisor when he failed to reveal some important facts about himself and lied about that to the Vice-President.  He was then deemed untrustworthy.  Now apparently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on-board the same boat, as he is accused of both disloyalty and untrustworthiness. Handy values when used against others.

But when applied to Donald Trump, this value has no meaning, especially to him.  He can lie, dissemble, change definitions, be “just joking” when he demeans and belittles others, or he can tweet outrageous untruths and personally denigrating characterizations, and escape any consequences from his base supporters. He can maintain untrustworthy relationships (most likely questionable financial deals and transactions) with this country’s adversary Russia, and its leader Vladimir Putin (former KGB agent), and not even flinch as he alienates long-time allies.

Nor does he get any criticism of note from his own Party, who have chosen to put politics (and winning elections) above the interests of this country by maintaining a cowardly silence.  He cannot even be trusted to undertake the arduous tasks involved in leading this country - the Executive Branch, the Cabinet, the Armed Forces - and the free world.  He does not prepare, he does not consult, he does not keep his word, he does not even read reports, if media sources are accurate.  According to these same sources, he often does not know what is in important pieces of legislation such as that produced during the recent Healthcare debacle.

Finally, he cannot be trusted to keep any promises he has made, especially to a base of people who matter little to him in the general scheme of things.  He has used a dissatisfied, disassociated, disgusted and disparaged group of people as his base of election and operation.  But he doesn’t have any loyalty to that base; nor does he particularly identify with them. Nor will he hesitate to abandon them when they prove disloyal, hostile, too demanding or too needy. 

The base followers of Trump do not yet realize that one of his most untrustworthy characteristics is to turn on people when they can no longer meet his needs; or to fire them when they no longer serve his purposes; or to sue them in Court to wiggle out of a contract, a promise, an obligation or a failed venture or project.  He may not be able to take his base people to court to sue them, but he can get at them through existing, or soon-to-exist, laws and rules, and one of those tools is the Tax Code. 

I predict right now that Tax Reform is going to be the petard on which the base of Trump voters will be hung.  The untrustworthiness of Donald Trump is  tied completely to the fact that his administration, and the GOP-controlled Congress, are wedded to one major mission, goal, and objective: the further enrichment of the wealthy and of every substantial business (especially large corporations) that will continue to “pay-to-play” on a grand scale; to pay large dividends and subsidies to their puppets in the White House and Congress, so they can continue to bilk the vast majority of taxpayers out of billions and billions of tax revenue.

It is their Plan.  It is their platform.  It is their destiny.  And every Trump base follower will begin to feel the pinch in spite of a slight tax break given to the lower echelon taxpayers.  That tax break will begin to feel like the sop it is when:

·         healthcare costs return to unmanageable levels under Trumpcare;
·         when prices on imports go up because of bi-lateral trade deals that yield little benefit to the average consumer;
·         when there are no organizations or boards left through which one can complain or file a grievance or consumer appeal;
·         when privatized services become so expensive because of administrative costs that a new car or new house or tuition for a privatized school seem like an impossible dream.  

But that is not the end of it.  The Trump federal budgets will produce consequences unheard of in modern times: 

  • slums growing in lieu of Section 8 housing;
  • adult children having to care for elderly parents because Medicaid no longer pays for a nursing home;
  • jobs scarce as hen’s teeth because of corporate dedication to new technologies that eliminate even white-collar workers;
  • a rising unemployment rate that also produces consequences of mental illness, a rising suicide and crime rate, and maybe chronic sickness and a lowering of the average life-span 
And then, of course, is the toll that an unattended environmental crisis will take upon us all, aided and abetted by the fossil fuel industry.  We will, as a people, suffer the deadly consequences of environmental neglect, and included will be the growth of both public and personal physical damage and destruction caused by unregulated over-use or dumping of toxic chemicals in food, water, earth and air. 

We will undoubtedly reap the consequences of political and social ineptness and barbarity from the untrustworthy, uncaring, unprepared and unqualified Donald Trump and the Republican Party failure to live up to the simple virtues of the Boy Scout Promise and the Boy Scout Law.  The barbarous blunder of Donald Trump’s speech is not just it’s irrelevance, its crassness, or its lack of inspiration.  That speech stands as the redline between a nation of negative regression, repression and de-construction, and a nation of progressive promise. 

Donald Trump failed again – he failed to give those young boys a vision and a purpose upon which to build a future of hope and the reality of a renewed nation.  This cut-throat businessman -- unqualified to be President -- failed us all.