When a nation loses itself

Published 10:52 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” — President Trump

So just exactly what would it take for his acolytes to fall out of love with the 45th President of the United States?

That’s a question that arose last week as I rode in a car with three excellent journalists, on the way back home from a meeting of the Mississippi Press Association board in what seemed from time to time might have been in east Georgia, but actually had been just this side of there, in Waynesboro — a town which might have the finest library in America that’s located in an abandoned Walmart.

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“I really wonder sometimes, what it would take,” one on my fellow sojourners asked, a positively pregnant rhetorical question, any answer to which is not readily evident.

After all, we clearly know what’s not enough.

Vulgarity is clearly not enough. The vulgar New York businessman who became the vulgar candidate has become the most vulgar individual to ever occupy the highest office in the land. And if you’ve read much U.S. history, you know that took a little doing.

The sort of cronyism that has done in American politicians with great regularity has no effect on Trump and his band of robber barons. Trump’s “people” (“the best, only the best,” mind you) have more scandals than Hershey has candy bars, a fair number of which have resurrected Howard Baker’s famous question of, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

But to no visible effect to the 40-something percent of Americans who think that Donald J. Trump, the boisterous fellow who’s taken populism to a level of which Huey Long could only dream, can do no wrong.

Cavorting with all manner and number of women and then having his “fixer” write big checks to buy their silences? Why, wink, nod, his loving faithful know that the ever-growing collection of tales of such are nothing more than ones made up by the vast, liberal media conspiracy dedicated to bringing down this paragon of virtue. And besides, boys will be boys, you know.

Isn’t that right, evangelicals? No situational ethics to be seen here. Move along.

I used to think that conspiring with a foreign country to get himself elected, if the Mueller probe actually unearthed real evidence that Trump or his children or his cronies played serious footsie with the Russians who wanted no part of a Hillary Clinton presidency and saw Trump as a “useful fool,” that would be enough to seriously erode his support among those who hold it.

But I am not at all sure of that anymore.

And neither were my car-pooling companions.

After all, evidence isn’t what it used it be, you know. In this Orwellian realm in which we find ourselves where truth is lie and lie is virtue, it is far too easy to concoct but one more conspiracy theory in which the facts are made to fit the desired narrative — it’s the Democrats; it’s the Clintons; it’s the heathen, godless press; it is that and more, all of it funded by George Soros, who is himself but doing the bidding of “the deep state.”

And yes, that is crazy.

But in a very real sense, so are we, as a country that has elected the likes of Trump.

But elect him, we have, and those who would foolishly decry, “he’s not my president,” in so doing but play into his hands.

As are those who clamor for impeachment.

Words can be dangerous things and there are few of them more dangerous than impeachment, which we would all do well to remember is not a legal process, but a political one, and hence, subject to the whims, thereof.

Impeachment, more often than not, is like a boomerang which comes back to smack the one who launches it, while missing its original target, altogether. As it would be in such a political environment as this, absent the unlikely production of the kind of smoking gun evidence as were Nixon’s tapes.

So let us speak no more of impeachment. Let us add no more to the nonsense.

Which brings us back to our original question: what would it take? What would prove too much for the Trumpites to take?

I am not sure that there is anything, for as one of my friends pointed out, that would  require an admission they had been wrong, that the prophet they chose to lead them had proven to be but one more false one.

And that results in a very perilous situation for this “last, best hope of freedom” of ours.

Come to think any president is above question and hence, the law, and you might as well start calling him Il Duce.

Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.