Dear America,

I don't understand why the media don't confront what are the obvious paradoxes in the things Trump says and does.  The most recent, and perhaps the most flagrant embodiment of his deviousness is the citizenship census question.  The Trump administration, meaning Trump, wants to put a question on the once-a-decade, constitutionally mandated census survey of the population querying whether the person completing the questionnaire is a citizen of the United States, and the purported justification for the question was enforcement of the voting rights of minority citizens.  But the Supreme Court saw right through that contrivance and repudiated the citizenship question, sending the justice department back to the office to come up with something that wasn't just a sham intended to enable Republican gerrymandering and keeping minority citizens from voting rather than enhancing their rights.  They had until just a few days ago to come up with something, and they didn't, so that was that.  The forms went to the printers to be printed without the question and the issue was resolved...we all thought.

But since the deadline, Trump has ordered the justice department to come up with a different excuse for its intended malfeasance, and now Attorney General Barr--Barr is the Trump sycophant who claimed that the Mueller report exonerated Trump when in fact all it said was, we are not empowered to indict the president, so we won't, but that doesn't mean he is innocent--claims to have found another way to get the question on the census form, though he has kept it to himself so far.  In the interim between the deadline and the Barr innovation, the attorneys who's names were on the briefs in favor of the question until now, were all taken off the case.  In fact, there have been statements from insiders at the department of justice to members of the press that the portion of the department's staff that defends government policy positions has balked at taking the matter further, and in fact, some members of that division of the justice department have resigned rather than compromise their principles and ethics by contriving and reversing positions already taken.

So what we have here in this example of Trump whimsicality is his belief that he can help the Republican Party make congress more conservative by driving certain people away from answering census questions, and thus being counted as constituents who's votes count.  And if that devious attempt weren't enough, he has blatantly abandoned his sham rationale and ostentatiously vowed to find another, essentially proving that his motives are political advantage, not voter protection, and that is indubitably so.  For if Trump had had any truly virtuous motivation, he would have used it as an argument to begin with, or at least he would know what it is now, and neither is the case.  And the most distressing aspect of all this is that his amorality, now manifested politically, doesn't seem to daunt his supporters.

Recently, I saw the former head of the Heritage Foundation, a "conservative think tank," being interviewed about his new book.  In it he exhorts us all to eschew mutual vilification and vituperation in favor of civil discourse and acceptance of one another's views as legitimately held, and I think that he is right.  Our civil discourse has become a battle of moral rather than political principles, and that shouldn't be the case.  The fact that we disagree politically should be nothing more significant than differences of attitude or philosophy; we should be able to argue the politics but still sit at the same table for a meal.  But the reality is that we no longer can, and this most recent episode in the continuing erosion of American democracy by our president explains it.

Trump's amorality and lack of belief in anything of significance other than enriching himself and forcing himself on women, and his political and personal adversaries, is what is called in popular parlance an existential threat...and existential threat to the notion that we elect our leaders and that they serve at the pleasure of The People.  But if Trump, having already gone around congress to purloin money for his personal wall, goes around the Supreme Court, even after abetting in stacking it toward the conservative inclination that it shows today, how far are we from having Vladimir Putin for president.  I, for one, don't want that.  Do you, America? 

Your friend,

Mike

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