Democracy and freedom of speech in this country are on the line because of an autocratic and unhinged newly-elected president, but The Oklahoman editorial board, for now, can only see the issue as a lack of his personal discipline.
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) January 26, 2017
Of course, Oklahoma is Donald Trump country, helped along to be so through the years by the right-wing newspaper and a consistently low college graduation rate. So any real criticism of Trump isn’t to be expected or maybe even sought after from the newspaper’s editorial writers. Still, one wonders at what point does the newspaper on its editorial page tell the truth about Trump? Never? Most likely.
In an Sunday editorial titled “Trump’s stream-of-consciousness approach appears to be here to stay,” the newspaper is somewhat critical of the new president’s “approach” but fails to address just what that approach portends for our country’s democratic structures. The editorial lauded Trump for speaking to CIA employees for some reason and for approving the controversial Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline least week for obvious reasons, but then also mentioned Trump’s fixation with himself and his unsubstantiated statements that 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants voted in the election and that’s why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
The newspaper doesn’t even mention the Trump administration’s order to clamp down on freedom of speech among federal employees or a Trump surrogate’s interview in The New York Times, suggesting the newspaper and other media outlets critical of Trump should just “shut up.” One might reasonably think even The Oklahoman, which purports to be a news organization, would be concerned about this issue in particular. The editorial doesn’t address Trump’s draconian and most likely illegal order to stop people from a handful of Muslim countries from coming to the U.S.
In the end, the editorial succumbs to the alternative facts in which Trump’s narcissistic behavior gets simply dismissed as an issue of style:
He won, fair and square. We’d prefer that he show more discipline and ignore peripheral issues, but how he has acted since moving into the White House is exactly how he acted on his way to getting there. It’s a new day, to be sure.
Fair and square, huh? No mention of how the FBI manipulated the election results by releasing damaging information about Hillary Clinton right before voting day. No mention about the strong evidence the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party officials email accounts to stir controversy and help Trump. No mention of how our country’s flawed electoral college system allows someone to get elected president even though he loses the vote count by nearly 3 million votes.
Will this country have a fair and square presidential election ever again?
I guess in this right-wing place we have to appreciate the newspaper even mentions that it’s a “new day,” as in, perhaps, the idea that maybe something is really different about Trump, but, remember, this is a newspaper that has spent that last eight years demonizing one of the most intelligent and articulate presidents in our country’s history.
Yet the frightening part of what I just quoted is contained in the idea that this is how Trump has “acted on his way getting there.” In other words, a sizable majority of Oklahoma voters, in particular, with their strong support for Trump, are loving the recent actions of the authoritarian and unhinged leader they so adored on the campaign trail. Throw in Gov. Mary Fallin’s support for Trump, and the extremist circle remains unbroken in Oklahoma.
All this is to remind progressives here that no amount of logic or reasoning will convinced Trump supporters that their leader is wrong even if, as the extremely early signs of this presidency are showing, he turns the country into a neofascist state. Perhaps some visceral event in the future could pry away some support from his base, but I believe his base will follow Trump no matter what he does or where he takes the country. It’s a lost cause and a waste of energy to engage the Trump’s base, especially with any type of reason or logic.
Progressives already have a majority vote and could even add to the overall total if we can get more people out to vote. What progressives need is a collective voice of protest right now, and to win House and Senate majorities in the mid-term elections.
Meanwhile, respected New York Times columnist Paul Krugman last week called Trump obviously mentally ill”, a statement which which I agree, and his colleague and fellow columnist Charles Blow summed Trump up like this:
We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left? Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it. And dispense with the terms of art to describe it. A lie by any other name portends the same.
So, I’ll write it, as Blow suggests: U.S. President Donald Trump is a pathological liar. His lies threaten our democracy. The Oklahoman lies through complicity when it won’t state the truth about Trump.
Yes, it’s a new day, as The Oklahoman suggests. Just don’t count on the newspaper and Trump supporters here to do anything about that fact but acquiesce in fawning obsequiousness or vacant language about his “approach” and his focus on “peripheral issues.”