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Monday, October 26, 2020

Voters Must Reject the Trump Experiment and Send Them All Packing

 By Peter Toll

Okay, campers, enough is enough. No more playing Donald Trump like the “honorable opponent” we’re used to dealing with (until he came along). This is a whole new ball game, and we’d better wake up and smell the coffee.


This pathologically narcissistic fraud lies so smoothly and boldly and unapologetically that before long a lot of people actually believe all that b.s. He contradicts himself, calls his staff “best there is” and then berates and ridicules them publicly by name. He is an embarrassment.  But what does he stand for? Isn’t that what elections are about?


We all know Republicans, per se, embrace a philosophy that less government is better government. So when Trump’s crew is in charge, they push the envelope--roll back all of the environmental, economic, labor and health care safeguards put in place over decades. Why?  Because they’re contrary to the success which business needs to keep our country thriving. Right?


These are the 2020 Republicans—my way or the highway. These aren’t the Eisenhower Republicans of the 1950’s. Ike’s Republicans kept a 90% income tax rate in place for the richest Americans. Ike himself, at the end of his term, warned of the threat of the military-industrial complex. That’s exactly what we have right now, thanks to Trump and those marching to his tune.


These aren’t the Nixon Republicans who went to China and opened it up to American trade and commerce. Nor those same Republicans who passed the first Clean Water Act after Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River literally caught fire. Then passed the Clean Air Act when the smog in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh got so bad you couldn’t see three miles, much less breathe easily.


While all this was going on, for the past 50 years there was a growing group in the GOP who firmly held that government was downright bad. That the best government was one that provided the most freedom for everyone, regardless of whose rights got trampled and whose individual liberties were easily disregarded as meaningless because so few of “them” were impacted.


And Donald Trump is precisely the poster boy of the arch-foes of government service. Yes, service, that forgotten model. They work for government to enrich  themselves beyond belief and destroy a government that they’ve hated and despised for years.  


Trump goes further by encouraging the Proud Boys or the Patriot Puppets or whatever they want to call themselves; not directly, but with all the subtlety of sledgehammer. Who would think a band of armed men would literally stalk the halls of state capitols brandishing loaded firearms with impunity, much less with a wink and nod of approval from the President of the United States? What would Eisenhower have said to these self-appointed militias? What would Reagan or Nixon or George Bush (either one) have done knowing these self-absorbed bozos were intimidating the very government which they, our leaders, are sworn to serve?


No, Trump is the arch-enemy of democracy of, by and for the people. He is the leader of a government that chooses to enrich the already rich at the expense of the workers, to reduce taxes on the rich while increasing them on the working stiffs and to myopically eliminate as many services as possible while calling it streamlining bureaucracy, reducing the size of government.  


None of this is by accident. It is clearly by design with the self-serving Republican members of Congress and the US Senate carrying out this evil charge under Trump’s banner. Only in the closing weeks of the election are any of them—and mostly those up for re-election—starting to back-off by inference but not, we note, by direction or action.


That’s why this election is different. We have a true choice between those who would make our lives better, the Democrats, or those who would enrich themselves and hurt us both directly and indirectly, the Republicans. Not “Trump Republicans,” but all of them, as the Grand Old Party is now beyond disarray. Beyond polite description.


And it creeps down to the state level and local levels. Republicans simply walk away, shirk their sworn duties, when the going gets tough and they don’t get their way. They refuse to impose taxes on people because they cannot relate taxes to services. By constantly attacking government they create their own self-fulfilling prophecy: It doesn’t work, because we don’t let it.  Indeed, they’re proudly undermining it.


This absurdity must end with this election. We must turn our backs on these selfish whiners and remember what Democrats do so much better in office—they serve the people by increasing their education, their health care, their safe workplaces, bettering the environment and generally being responsible holders of the public trust.


Democrats brought us Social Security, Medicare, a wide-ranging health care program, support for unions and working people creating a safe workplace, the ability for a woman to choose what to do with her own body, the minimum wage, the Voting Rights Act...the list goes on and on. It is profound and must not be forgotten.


Time is up for this pitiful Republican experiment. Vote them out. All of them. And then hold the Democrats’ feet to the fire to provide services, and, yes, fair taxes, to improve our lives. That, after all, is what our form of government is all about.


Peter Toll is a Lake Oswego resident and lifelong Democrat.