“We don’t need someone who can think. we need someone
with enough digits to hold a pen.”
– Grover Norquist, Republican strategist,
In 2012 Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, presented his vision of the ideal Republican presidential nominee. Four years later, he got his wish when America elected Donald J. Trump as its 45th president.
Author Gloria Shur Bilchik best summarized Norquist’s “idiot-with-a-pen” philosophy last year on the website, Occasional Planet. org., which she edits. Bilchik, said, “I have come to believe, (it) is as good an explanation as any for why Republicans stick to Trump no matter how blatantly ignorant, unhinged, racist, inappropriate, infantile and illegal he reveals himself to be. They’ve made their deal with the devil – as long as he gives Republicans what they want – which is … guns, anti-immigrant policies, white supremacy and freedom to weaponize Christianity against anyone or anything they don’t like, they’ll support him and let his bullying run wild.”
Past presidential elections simply decided whether a Democrat or Republican would occupy the White House for the next four years. Much more is at stake on Tuesday, however, when voters decide whether America will resume its role as leader of the free world by electing Joe Biden or continue Trump’s reign of divisiveness and demagoguery that ultimately would transform our country into the newest bastion of authoritarian rule. By his actions or lack of, Trump’s presence in the White House has dimmed dramatically former president Ronald Reagan’s image of “America as a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom loving people everywhere.”
During Trump’s bombastic four-year tenure, he has, among other things, ignored the mores of the political world, attacked the media whenever it challenged his false statements, abusive comments or morally offensive directives (such as the immigration policy of separating children from their parents) and, inexplicably, walked away from addressing the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected nearly 9 million Americans, more than 235,000 of whom have died since last February.
Under Trump, our partnerships with long-time allies have been trashed, and Trump has established close ties with several authoritarian leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Russia, and North Korea’s Kim Jung-un. Indeed, Trump and Putin held several private meetings without a U.S. interpreter, thus negating the possibility of other U.S. officials and the world to know the nature of their conversations. “What’s disconcerting is the desire to hide information from your own team,” Andrew S. Weiss, a Russia adviser to former President Bill Clinton, told the New York Times last year. “The fact that Trump didn’t want the State Department or members of the White House team to know what he was talking with Putin about suggests it was not about advancing our country’s national interest but something more problematic.”
As we move through the homestretch of the presidential race, Trump once again is brazenly showing a level of treachery that led to his impeachment earlier this year. In tweets posted three weeks ago, he has urged the U.S. Attorney General to arrest his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “He’s got to act, and he’s got to act fast,” Trump said. “He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election.” The president also has suggested that if the race isn’t decided on Nov. 3, the Supreme Court should step in and name the winner.
Why re-elect a man who routinely lies about nearly everything to the press and the American people, insults anyone who disagrees with him and never says he’s sorry about any mistake he’s ever made? Some Trump supporters cite his business acumen, ignoring his six bankruptcies. They know he lies especially when he talks of his fondness for black folk or begrudgingly denounces white supremacy. Having spent my childhood and formative years in a segregated society, it’s troubling to see and feel the same racial hatred and cruelty of that era (1940s-50s) still thriving in 2020. My conclusion: Logic, fairness or common sense doesn’t exist in the minds of those who walk with a heart stained by racism.
More pointedly, Jason Johnson, Morgan State University journalism professor and MSNBC political analyst, said Wednesday that Trump is simply doing what 40% of America want him to do: “Saving white apartheid America. That’s what they want him to (do).”
On the reason many whites continue to harbor ill-will toward blacks, the late author and moral/social philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “The most effective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination. We cannot pity those we have wronged nor can we be indifferent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt.”
Coming soon: The erosion of the U.S. government’s system of checks-and-balance.