Donald J. Trump’s first year in office as President has been one ludicrous, mind-numbing day after another. From his nuclear war-baiting Tweets to his calls to investigate or criminalize legitimate opposition and our free press, Trump has shown America that we may no longer use the term “American exceptionalism” without cringing.
We allowed, even if we didn’t elect, this race-baiting, mind-bogglingly ignorant, sexist, likely criminal, narcissistic, petty, foul-mouthed man to ascend to our highest office in the land, a catastrophe from which there may be no turning back. Propping himself up with a cadre of profoundly unqualified, white male sycophants, Trump has unloaded all manner of damage to the air we breathe and the water we drink. He has brought out deep-seated hatreds, emboldened the neo-Nazis, caused average citizens to doubt basic science and fact. The Trump regime has been enemies of American citizens, our labor force, our moral and ethical principles. He has, uniquely and profoundly, lowered our standing as a democracy at home and abroad.
Yet, here is the greater, almost insurmountable, problem, the proverbial “elephant in the room:” the Republican Party leadership in all branches of government has not simply allowed this Trumpian takeover but facilitated it, nourished it, as well as provided obsequious cover for it.
Our elephants in the room: Republican Senators Grassley and Graham who have called for the first Justice Department criminal investigations, not into Russian interference or Trump campaign team collusion with Russia, but into the virtual James Bond of her Majesty’s Secret Service, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the author of the “Trump dossier.” Whether the GOP leadership’s actions are a result of blackmail, bribery, or cowardice, it is certain that they have lost their way.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has sided with Republican Devin Nunes over the Department of Justice in allowing unfiltered access to all documents in the Russia investigation to a man who has already spent a full year furiously working at misdirection.
The head of the CIA, Republican Michael Pompeo attended a partisan retreat at Camp David with top GOP leaders and Trump this January 2018 in a breach of protocol and obvious indifference to maintaining integrity of the office he holds.
The list goes on and on with Republicans in power doing everything they can to prop up Trump even as he wanders, loses track of where he is or what is going on. Republican leaders of the past would not recognize what has become of their party.
As a democracy, we appear to have overlooked the elephant, Republican leadership. In our social, political, and cultural interactions, we have been conditioned to accept repression and blindness. How fitting it is that the Republican Party’s symbol is the elephant, only this elephant is not rare or endangered, just big, bullying, and destructive.
Nancy Avery Dafoe