ENOUGH!!! (Part I)

 

Senators Bob Corker (l) and Jeff Flake (r)

They need to invent a machine … one that I can scream into, and there will be no sound, it will mute and be absorbed by some material within the machine.  The reason I need this is because when I am perusing the news and see something that particularly sets my teeth on edge, my scream has a tendency to scare the family and the Significant Seven half to death.  So, some of you scientific geniuses out there, please hurry before I either get thrown out of my home, or give everybody else in the home heart failure.

pillow-scream-2


On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Flake, a republican from Arizona, announced that he does not intend to seek re-election next November.  He also gave a very moving, thoughtful speech, which I share with you now …

As I contemplate the Trump presidency, I cannot help but think of Joseph Welch.

On June 9, 1954, during the Army-McCarthy hearings, Welch, who was the chief counsel for the Army, famously asked the committee chairman if he might speak on a point of personal privilege. What he said that day was so profound that it has become enshrined as a pivotal moment in defense of American values against those who would lay waste to them. Welch was the son of a small prairie town in northwest Iowa, and the plaintive quality of his flat Midwestern accent is burned into American history. After asking Sen. Joseph McCarthy for his attention and telling him to listen with both ears, Welch spoke:

“Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness.”

And then, in words that today echo from his time to ours, Welch delivered the coup de grace: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

The moral power of Welch’s words ended McCarthy’s rampage on American values, and effectively his career as well.

After Welch said his piece, the hearing room erupted in applause, those in attendance seemingly shocked by such bracing moral clarity in the face of a moral vandal. Someone had finally spoken up and said: Enough.

By doing so, Welch reawakened the conscience of the country. The moment was a shock to the system, a powerful dose of cure for an American democracy that was questioning its values during a time of global tumult and threat. We had temporarily forgotten who we were supposed to be.

We face just such a time now. We have again forgotten who we are supposed to be.

There is a sickness in our system — and it is contagious.

How many more disgraceful public feuds with Gold Star families can we witness in silence before we ourselves are disgraced?

How many more times will we see moral ambiguity in the face of shocking bigotry and shrug it off?

How many more childish insults do we need to see hurled at a hostile foreign power before we acknowledge the senseless danger of it?

How much more damage to our democracy and to the institutions of American liberty do we need to witness in silence before we count ourselves as complicit in that damage?

Nine months of this administration is enough for us to stop pretending that this is somehow normal, and that we are on the verge of some sort of pivot to governing, to stability. Nine months is more than enough for us to say, loudly and clearly: Enough.

The outcome of this is in our hands. We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck, passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something. The longer we wait, the greater the damage, the harsher the judgment of history.

I have been so worried about the state of our disunion that I recently wrote a book called “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.” I meant for the book to be a defense of principle at a time when principle is in a state of collapse. In it, I traced the transformation of my party from a party of ideas to a party in thrall to a charismatic figure peddling empty populist slogans. I tried to make the case for the sometimes excruciating work of arguing and compromise.

This was part of the reason I wanted to go to the Senate — because its institutional strictures require you to cross the aisle and do what is best for the country. Because what is best for the country is for neither party’s base to fully get what it wants but rather for the factions that make up our parties to be compelled to talk until we have a policy solution to our problems. To listen to the rhetoric of the extremes of both parties, one could be forgiven for believing that we are each other’s enemies, that we are at war with ourselves.

But more is now required of us than to put down our thoughts in writing. As our political culture seems every day to plumb new depths of indecency, we must stand up and speak out. Especially those of us who hold elective office.

To that end, and to remove all considerations of what is normally considered to be safe politically, I have decided that my time in the Senate will end when my term ends in early January 2019. For the next 14 months, relieved of the strictures of politics, I will be guided only by the dictates of conscience.

It’s time we all say: Enough.

Senator Bob Corker, who announced in September that he would not seek re-electin in 2018, and Senator Flake, both republicans, are just the latest in an ever-growing list of legislators who are saying Enough of Donald Trump.  And, predictably (ho-hum), Trump had an almost immediate comeback …

“The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!” (precisely 140 characters … how does he do that?)

“The meeting with Republican Senators yesterday, outside of Flake and Corker, was a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!” (again, exactly 140 characters)

“Jeff Flake, with an 18% approval rating in Arizona, said “a lot of my colleagues have spoken out.” Really, they just gave me a standing O!”

I repeat what I have said so many times in the past … such maturity from the ‘man’ in the White House.

Trump’s remarks are not germane to this discussion, but follow his usual (ho-hum) pattern, a pattern that is beyond old and tiresome.  But, that aside, we are just over a year away from the mid-term elections and should be asking some questions.  The first one is obvious … what does it mean, relative to the 2018 elections, that these members of Congress are leaving?  To date, there are a minimum of 14 who will not be seeking re-election or are leaving prior to the elections.

Common sense would lead us to believe that this is a positive, that it will open the door for democratic wins in both Senate and House, given Trump’s continuing low approval rating of under 40% (37% as of yesterday’s FiveThirtyEight aggregate polls).  And, typically members of the president’s party have a harder path to winning in mid-term elections.  But common sense flew out the window sometime prior to 8 November 2016 and has not yet returned.

For the most part, the representatives and senators that are leaving are among the less radical, more moderate branch of the GOP.  Steve Bannon, who is still, I am certain, Trump’s top advisor, just not on the payroll, at least officially, has stated his goal of putting more far-right conservatives in office next November, rather along the lines of his Alabama pick, former judge Roy Moore, who is the least-qualified candidate for Congress I have seen.

I will return later this week with further analysis of what this all means in the grand scheme of things, as well as a look at some of the specific seats that will be up for grabs with no incumbent next year.  Also, question #2: Why have these legislators kept silent for nine full months?  Stay tuned, folks …

 

52 thoughts on “ENOUGH!!! (Part I)

  1. I don’t know about Corker but I don’t think we need to worry about Flake. He’s written a best-selling book which he’s advertising on air and is no doubt very intelligent. He’s also Mormon which means he probably has a lot of faithful for support. Considering politics he’s a fairly young man as politicians go and I don’t see him in retirement just sitting around fishing or working cross puzzles and watching the soaps every day. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I don’t see him getting completely out of politics either, and I’m sure he has some plan, perhaps to run for governor or Arizona state legislature. I just hope to see both him and Corker voting with their consciences for the next 14 months, putting their votes where there mouths are. I will withhold judgment until I see actions follow their words, though. I am a cynic in some ways and in this era of Trump, never believe until I see with my own eyes. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand the skepticism around Corker and Flake, but they have 14 months remaining in the Senate to speak out against and work against Trump. I’ll be very interested to see if they will walk their talk. I’m encouraged that Flake joined the movement. Next???

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,
    I love this post. As usual, great minds think alike.

    I am enamored of Senator Jeff Flake’s speech because he is not willing to compromise his standards for the likes of the “Squatter.” He has had to sacrifice his political future to take this stance of warning his fellow republicans, that remaining silent is equivalent to being complicit with a leader that many know, is unfit for his office.He does place the Office of the Presidency and the well being of the American peoples, at risk

    The republican party has become the Trump party.

    The history books will treat him kindly as the authors portray most of his colleagues for the cowards that they are.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed they do! I want to believe his motives are pure, but … I have concerns. I guess I will wait and see and judge by that old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. One concern is that he voted for the CFPB that took away consumers rights to sue banks. And both voted to repeal ACA with no viable replacement. Where were their consciences then? As I said, I applaud him, but with reservations, for I would like to see their actions match their words. Hugs my friend!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, I think more than a few can sympathize with this feeling. On the positive side, Senators McCain, Corker and Flake have joined US Rep Charlie Dent from PA in the line of Republican patriots. The squatter, as Roger calls him, defines them as he does Senator Susan Collins as losers.

    Former Presidents Bush and Obama said something similar and, Steve Bannon defines them as bad Preaudents. Trump has made similar remarks. This, of course, is how he has denigrated any Conservative pundit who dares criticize him.

    Let me sum up. According to Trump, anything he does is the best ever. He says he knows more about “pick a subject” subject than anyone. Anything he did not touch is horrible or the worst “pick a subject” ever. If you disagree with him, he insults you or defines you as a loser.

    Yet, he lies more than any President, he screws people over, he stiffs people, he is highly litigious and cannot take criticism.

    So, the question is why would people want to support someone who will drop you in a heartbeat if you dare make him look bad? At some point, I hope that their patriotism will surface. I was watching the face of Mitch McConnell as Trump rambled at their kum-ba-ya press conference. To me, McConnell’s face betrayed his contempt for the man. It just needs to get up his mouth. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very intuitive and well-spoken comments, my friend. Yes, McConnell’s face reminded me of a kicked puppy and it was one of the few times I felt rather sorry for him. Trump sees the world in black and white, with no grey areas for compromise … you are either with him, else you are a loser. On that logic, the majority, some 63% of the nation are losers, including you and I. Ah well. Question for you … do you think he will still be in office come 2020? Personally, I cannot imagine it, but I’m not so sure anymore. I always value your opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Trump has a large voting base within the Republican Party. They are uninterested in gentlemen like Corker and Flake, men with polish and vocabulary. Corker and Flake have undoubtedly assessed the low probability of re-election in 2018. Staying in office and continuing to speak out is not an option for them. But their examples are likely to inspire others. Who will be the next thorn in Trump’s side? I can hardly wait until next week to find out. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, his base is the frightening part … I cannot understand them at all. And it IS rather like a soap opera, isn’t it? Sigh … I am almost afraid to even open the computer in the morning, afraid what happened while I slept.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Fear of the base. And that base is effing scary, I have to admit. Still, there’s a cheesy careerism and self-interest factor in all of this, and I’m sure the logic is “we’re gonna get the policies passed that we want, so hold your nose and let Trump be Trump.”

    Yeah, but, you’re destroying democracy? Anybody?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, his base is scary and getting scarier. They should have awakened to the disaster he is causing by now, and I cannot understand why or how they can continue to support this madman. He is every bit as much of a madman as Kim Jong-un, perhaps even more so, as he has no conscience and no real intelligence. Only ego. Sigh. The last best hope seems to be Bob Mueller’s investigation, but that will not likely be concluded until sometime next year. Meanwhile???

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with Kevin. Thank you for another excellent exposition of such pressing issues, Jill.

      We should send the following two quotes to Trump:

      A leader is best
      When people barely know he exists
      Of a good leader, who talks little,
      When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
      They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

      ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

      All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.

      ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

      Liked by 2 people

          • Heh heh … I have been commenting on his Twitter feed and posting links to my more obnoxious posts ever since January, and I haven’t even gotten a single comment back. I cannot even seem to get myself blocked from his Twitter feed, as others have done. So no, I am not in the least bit worried. I doubt he even ever sees my comments, but I have much fun with it all! I even sent him a Dr. Seuss book one time with a note telling him that if he couldn’t read the words, perhaps one of his advisors could read it to him. Gotta find ways to have a little fun out of this whole mess. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi! On a completely unrelated note: I tried to answer your last email (with a really long one!), but when I sent it it bounced back to me! 😦 I tried again, and so far I have received no error-message, so I hope it went through. Let me know, ok? Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did indeed get your email … haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but will be doing so shorty … I am looking forward to a nice long one from you!!!! Thanks … and I promise to answer this one! I have been horrible about answering any email these days, but I am trying to get back on track.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    my thoughts exactly ….. ‘Why have these legislators kept silent for nine full months? Stay tuned, folks … and why are they coming out now?
    In addition, when it’s time to vote some kind or law/regulation, they have voted (after the included statements), along Drumpf’s agenda!
    Baffling to me … is it only words and no action?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I can recommend going outside, to the bottom of the garden, and screaming as loud as you can. Not just an incoherent yell, but something with words such as; Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, or Blooooooody Helllllllllll. Try it. You will feel better. You may scare the neighbours.
    I firmly believe that at the mid term, the Republican Party will become more right wing, crazier, less tolerant… I also firmly believe that the Democrats won’t make as many gains as you hope.
    But still, Jill, you have my Hugs and Good thoughts. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, that would definitely be stress-relieving, but one small problem: I live in a community of attached townhouses and if I step more than 2 feet from my own door, I am standing on somebody else’s stoop, so I would have to walk quite a ways to do that 😉

      The GOP has, indeed, become far more radical right-wing, and I still believe Bannon is calling the shots more than we know. And no, I am not at all confident that the democrats will pick up enough seats for a majority next year. I can hope, but I’m not seeing it as reality. Sigh.

      Hugs, dear Jack!!! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  10. While I applaud Flake and Corker for getting up and saying what they have said, I can’t help but feel that they could do a lot more good by staying in the fray and standing up for what they believe in. They are really just opening the door for things to get worse. That said, they have over a year to try and get something positive done on behalf of the American people, so maybe they should consider NOT voting according to party guidelines for the rest of their time there??? Words are great. Actions are better.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. As for your request for a silencing-screams-machine: wouldn’t it be even better if you had a machine that would teleport your screams to the White House? They would get really fluffy ears really quickly 😉
    But seriously: I love Flake’s speech. It is only worrying that those that are against that temper-throwing-toddler in the White House are all going. Shouldn’t they stay and actively try to prevent worse things happening? If only those giving “standing ovations” are staying… oh my…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I do like your idea of transporting my periodic (frequent) screams to the White House … ‘twould certainly disrupt their thought processes, if they can be said to actually have thought processes.

      As for Flake … there are many nuances here, and even after giving his fine speech, he voted for a horrific piece of legislation, so I have to question … are these just words that will not transfer into action? Yes, it seems as if the more moderate of the lot are leaving, as rats deserting a sinking ship, and I’m still pondering on whether they are leaving on their own, as they are fed up, or if they are being pushed out. I just don’t know, but there is something I’m not able to see yet, which is why I’m working through the process of asking questions and seeking answers, in hopes of being able to connect the dots. Sigh. Life in the rabbit hole.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The GOP can’t like trump so they must tolerate him for what they can get from him.Yet that seems little enough so far. It sounds like there are a lot of moral cowards there who need to speak out clearly and say ” Enough, this isn’t working “.
    xx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are spot on about the moral cowards. But the GOP … not being “in the loop”, I cannot say for sure, but as an outside observer, it seems that the GOP is changing direction. It began a decade or so ago, with the far-right “tea party” movement, and then once Trump won the election, they seem to be moving even farther to the right, if that is possible. Keith probably understands it better than I, for he was a republican until a few years ago. But I also think that the party is becoming quite divided and that may well bring about their downfall, else a complete re-structuring.
      xxx Cwtch Mawr and Gwella xxx

      Liked by 2 people

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