LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Respect for the president must be earned

I’ve read the DSN Op-Ed page for years and can’t ever remember seeing in print a larger volume of self-delusion and greater ignorance lacking even the sense of the beasts of the field. Add in an extra measure of vitriol and the experience of sitting at the keyboard can sometimes morph into an exercise of the absurd [I’m looking at you George Roof].

So in the interest of a more civil discourse while staying firmly in touch with reality, I’m going to answer a brief letter reasonably written by Eck Erb last month. [“Presidential appreciation” June 4]

First Eck, Trump would be the last guy I would call to drain the swamp — Donald J. being the poster boy for cronyism in addition to shattering the American record for nepotism as well as being a world-class pathological liar.

I’m only 72, but I remember clearly the last president we had was relentlessly attacked from the start of his run in 2007 through today. All presidents take flack. It’s part of the job. But the scope of Obama’s vilification was widespread and personal. It went way past “dislike and lack of loyalty” into a willfully deceitful and morally corrupt crusade of ruination.

Even before he took office, Republican leadership in both houses vowed to obstruct (and distort) everything Obama. From the beginning many went public about making him a “failed president.” In 2010 Mitch McConnell finally codified the GOP mission statement, bellowing that “the single most important thing we (as Republicans) want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Lies were thrown at him like confetti. He was accused of being African, Muslim, a militant, socialist, communist, attending Islamic schools, even hating America or combinations of the above. Death threats and conspiracy theories abounded. A “birther” apocalypse fueled by current president Donald Trump raged on for years. Trump later tried to tie him to militant black nationalism and eventually even to ISIS. (People actually believe this crap).

Obama took a truckload of abuse for doing what most presidents try to do — keep the peace while protecting the nation, stay true to reasonable goals and follow a clear moral compass to defend the Constitution and the rights of the American people. None of this can be traced to the present president.

Respect and loyalty have to be earned, Eck. Donald Trump has done nothing to deserve either. He has no peers in devaluing the presidency while doing little he promised to do and much of what he said he would not do.

He often denigrates women, minorities, Muslims, our military, intelligence resources, court systems, administrative agencies; plotted the annulment of the environment; scrapped regulation of big banks and Wall Street, and tried to kill health care for millions in order to provide billionaires with tax breaks. Sadly these are just a few of his major accomplishments.

This president’s global liabilities include an unsurpassed talent for inspiring loathing and contempt from large numbers of Americans and most of the world, losing our economic preeminence; declining security, erosion of global trust, decreased leadership role in the world, sabotaged cooperation and support of time-tested partnerships with allies. And the damage to the country on so many levels just keeps growing.

In his spare time, when not schmoozing with oligarchs and hitting his tee time, Trump has repeatedly assaulted the core values of this country, the Constitution, even the concept of democracy, and lying all along the way. Not surprisingly, as he shreds the truth about any issue, at any time, he consistently does Russia’s bidding for Putin’s plans to weaken the United States.

Left unchecked, Trump will likely continue to make the country accessible to those who would destroy us. He and his cronies knew of and almost certainly abetted Putin’s attacks on the U.S. and the theft of our democracy. Incredibly, he has still done nothing to combat ongoing and future assaults on our country — consistently denying the Russian threat and even that their cyber invasion ever happened. He has to know Putin’s thugs won’t stop without being stopped. Does he even care? So far, no.

Many years ago when I was fighting America’s enemies, supported by the then-Soviet Union, this kind of behavior was called treason. In times of war, the perpetrator traditionally could have been shot but more likely given a lengthy visit to Leavenworth. We are at war, Eck.

What is even more disturbing to me in the long run is Trump’s systematic and relentless undermining of the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion from within. Free speech and a free press are the life-giving oxygen of a democracy. His chronic disdain of democracy while championing the “strong leadership” of our blood enemy [Russia] and other vicious dictatorships while criticizing elements of the American way of life. All this should be all you need to know about him, Eck.

Respect and loyalty are not what I owe Trump. Respect and loyalty are what I owe this country.

Against all enemies, foreign and domestic, always.

Will Gillespie
Schwenksville, Pa.

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