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February 4, 2017

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Stop invoking the “liberal” bogeyman

american-flag

Trumpians are banging the “liberal” drum again: Alleged softy progressives whine because the ’16 election didn’t go their way. Memes pile on memes, like this one:

liberal-meme

Yup. It’s just liberals. Take Eliot Cohen, for instance:

To friends still thinking of serving as political appointees in this administration, beware: When you sell your soul to the Devil, he prefers to collect his purchase on the installment plan. Trump’s disregard for either Secretary of Defense Mattis or Secretary-designate Tillerson in his disastrous policy salvos this week, in favor of his White House advisers, tells you all you need to know about who is really in charge. To be associated with these people is going to be, for all but the strongest characters, an exercise in moral self-destruction.

For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.

Like every other whiny liberal, Cohen …

… Oh …

… Wait …

Cohen served the Bush-43 State Department from 2007 to 2009.  He signed the Statement of Principles for the Project for the New American Century, a now-defunct neoconservative think tank, and manned the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee when it relentlessly pushed for the 2003 Iraqi invasion. Cohen is as hawkish as they come – and he’s rabidly anti-Trump.

Other supposedly crabby lefties braying Trump worries, especially over his anti-immigrant moves:

  • Russel Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • The National Association of Evangelicals
  • World Vision, an evangelical-associated non-governmental relief agency
  • Pope Francis
  • The US Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • The Koch Brothers (filthy-rich oil magnates, climate change deniers, and founders and funders of right-wing think tanks).
  • Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (the pilot who saved all those passengers when he slid his disabled plane into New York’s Hudson River)
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a Republican.
  • Neo-conservative author and columnist David Frum, a Bush-43 speechwriter.
  • Retired US Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus
  • Conservative op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin
  • Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a retired foreign service officer, Republican, and assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
  • Republican Senator John McCain
  • Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian, conservative op-ed writer, and Bush-43 speechwriter.
  • Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker
  • Charles Sykes, conservative radio host
  • Republican Senator Lindsey Graham

The list goes on, but I’ll stop there.

The “liberal” meme is one more bogeyman in our alt-fact universe. Opposing Trump is both reasonable and patriotic in the real world. My guess: all Mount Rushmore’s faces yearn to en-flesh themselves so they can resist.

Stop soiling the American flag by wrapping yourself in it, oh Trumpians. I love this country because it has usually been a force for good through the strength of its ideals, despite its real flaws (genuine patriots face those flaws without a blink; they love their country, they don’t worship it). This nation rescued Europe twice, orchestrated the Marshal Plan, contained and eventually defeated a colossal communist tyranny, and (very imperfectly) fostered democracy throughout the world (Latin Americans would beg to differ). Those lofty ideals usually rear up and (again, imperfectly) begin to heal the country’s historic ills.

Don’t even dare hint that I’m unpatriotic. My patriotism motivates me to resist a Putin-loving narcissist who lost the popular vote, knows nothing of those ideals, and who placed a dictator-friendly extremist on the National Security Council. Donald Trump is, essentially, burning the American flag even as we speak. I resist him precisely because I passionately believe in the creeds behind that flag.

Pull your heads out of the sand. Run away from a fan club chaired by a former KGB agent ruling Russia like a Mafia don. Think: You’re backing Russia’s man. Why doesn’t that give you the creeps? Why aren’t you losing sleep at night? Spare me your but-Hillary deflections. She’s gone. She’s not the issue. Bannon-Trump leers before us. Besides, you would’ve howled “rigged-impeach” if a foreign enemy messed with our election in favor of a Putin-applauding Democrat who then played musical chairs at the NSC. Think again: How will your grandchildren remember you? Will they brag because grandpa and grandma joined the patriotic coalition that shook its fist at potential tyranny?  Or will they whisper words of shame because you hid behind a make-believe universe’s jingoistic memes?

Think one more time. Carefully consider Cohen’s words: “… this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”

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February 2, 2017

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Hundreds of demonstrators flock to … West Hartford (?!?)

I love ribbing West Hartford, Connecticut. Because I can. So I posted this on my Facebook site: “I’m driving today [February 1, 2017] to West Hartford for a protest rally, scheduled to begin at 4:30, which means the Mayans weren’t wrong. They were just a little off. To explain: West Hartford is inhabited by pin-striped actuaries whose median annual income makes them say: ‘Who needs Fort Knox?’ Their most violent temper tantrums consist of the following dreaded words: ‘I’ll get back to you about that.’ To say ‘protest rally in West Hartford’ is to say, ‘Yellowstone just erupted.'”

That was totally unfair to the good people of this fine city of 63,268. Its median household income actually stands at about $80,000, which sounds high brow until we remember Connecticut’s cost of living. It vacuums bank accounts like a monster Hoover. Besides, the town features working class areas and a sizable immigrant population speaking 80 languages. I, of course, wasn’t interested in fairness. I spent my adolescent years in neighboring Bloomfield (median household income: $73,519), which was a stench in the nostrils of the surrounding communities. I haven’t recovered, nor do I want to. Feigning resentment is too fun.

Please don’t inveigh me with verities about love, turning the other cheek, and forgiveness. They’re inconvenient. Besides, the boring truth is that I actually like West Hartford, especially its international flavor. The city’s diversity shone brightly among the hundreds of demonstrators protesting President Trump’s recent moves on refugees.

Some photos, followed by a video of the rally taken during the speech of Rabbi Debra Cantor of B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom. As an ordained, Bible-thumping Baptist, I could only say this: “I’m in church!”

Image may contain: 1 person, crowd, tree, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, crowd, tree and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Now for that video and the Bible-thumping rabbi:

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January 27, 2017

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Albright to Trump: Nuts to your refugee scheme

President Trump’s race to upend American ideals in the name of patriotism is achieving a cheetah’s speed. Remember that phrase, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? Forget it. He’s maneuvering to cut the refugee flow.

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January 22, 2017

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Praying for Trump as we resist

Mea culpa. John Piper John Piper and I sing a different theological song, so I naturally assumed we’re in political disharmony. After all, the chancellor of Minneapolis’s Bethlehem College and Seminary is as Calvinist as they come. Not only does he agree with the 16th-century Reformer’s take on predestination, he relishes it. I’m an Arminian, […]

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January 16, 2017

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Everyday bravery for civil rights

We all know, of course, that Martin Luther King, Jr., did not go it alone. The day named after him really commemorates a host of people of whom we barely hear. Real off some of the famous names: Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis, Bayard Rustin (the March on Washington’s organizer). And then […]

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January 15, 2017

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Let’s slam a hero and an entire city this weekend

Insulting Congressman Lewis stands on par with calling John Glenn a wuss.

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January 12, 2017

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Go for it, Senator Rubio

I’ve shouted a question to the wind: “What would GOP senators say if a Democratic president-elect cozied-up to a former KGB agent and Russian dictator?” Several actually display concern, especially Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. And throw in Marco Rubio. The Florida senator shined bright in a confirmation hearing […]

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January 11, 2017

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A last glimpse of a classy guy

I felt pathos on January 10. Our nation heard eloquence and saw class, dignity, and poise bundled in a farewell speech. I’m already nostalgic in the face of a creepy future filled with belligerent tweet storms from a philandering, dictator-friendly, fact-denying president with microscopically thin skin. Hear the cracks of arctic and Antarctic ice amid […]

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January 9, 2017

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You’ll be missed, Nat Hentoff

Why would a Bible-thumping holy roller like me mourn the loss of left-wing, self-described “Jewish atheist” Nat Hentoff, the Village Voice columnist and author who died recently at 91? Maybe it’s because he loved jazz. Maybe it’s because the Bible favors the poor and “the least of these.” Maybe it’s because he slammed all group […]

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January 6, 2017

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I killed the dinosaurs, and I feel bad about it

“The Journey of the Magi” (1894) by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836-1902), oil on canvas. I’m an artist at self-accusation and remorse. Accuse me of anything – lust, greed, pride, gluttony, laziness, work a-holism, launching the Vietnam War, bombing Pearl Harbor – and I’ll plead sweat-riddled guilt. It seems this day […]

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