Columnist Jim Cahillane: To err is Trump

  • President Donald Trump gestures as he walks to Marine One after speaking to media at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base en route to Palm Beach International Airport, in West Palm Beach, Fla., and on to and onto Mar-a-Lago. AP PHOTO/Carolyn Kaster

Published: 11/28/2018 8:28:05 AM

Babies, borders and bombs — oh my! Sorry, Toto, we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. Trump Land, where we live now, is officially La La Land.

La La as in nutty! Up is down, and down is somewhere below low. Millions of people, in their “What the Hell” mood of 2016, misled with fake stories multiplied by Russian hackers, shafted America. Millions of us woke up that November morning asking, what happened?

Now we know that voters were taken in by disinformation. Lies.

Instead of a national poll that reflected the will of the people, we ended up in a funhouse mirror. A 3-million-vote majority for Hillary Clinton became bent and twisted, except only the far right was laughing. Following that mistake by the voting public, America, as we knew it, was put out to pasture. The inmates would be sworn in to take over and rule autocratically. I hope that you’re taking notes.

Here’s the MAGA bomber’s thought process: “I’ve got an idea, let’s send pipe bombs to former President Barack Obama and his V.P. Joe Biden? Wait, don’t forget Hillary!” The list goes on when one thinks like the DJ and former stripper who lived in a Dodge van. Stephen Colbert joked that for a disc jockey he was doing quite well. However, the joke was on democracy when IEDs arrive on the national scene. Our DJ bomber was filmed at Trump’s blame-the-liberals rallies that utilize Hitler’s big-lie tactics. 

I hope that you noticed. 

My generation has lived nearly 100 years of impossible-to-forget history. For my younger readers, that line you hear about history repeating itself is as obvious as the nose on your face. 

Take our Middle East ally Saudi Arabia. American policy has in one administration after another kowtowed to sheiks sitting on their oil wells.  It’s not getting any better under Trump, who has put a price tag on America’s reputation. The Saudis’ offer of petrodollars for military hardware to kill civilians in Yemen trumps the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

A video of Khashoggi entering the Saudi Embassy in Turkey followed by his disappearance from sight was seen around the world. Trump’s initial reaction was to posit “rogue killers,” which was, no surprise, among a dozen explanations from Saudi spin doctors. Maybe because of a gut feeling that they’re expendable, men and women journalists everywhere condemned the Saudi regime. In a dangerous world, murder and long prison sentences often become the fate of those striving to reveal the truth.

Our great deal maker folded like a cheap tent when the Saudis came calling. Trump’s readiness to put a price on American honor reminds me of a story about the playwright George Bernard Shaw.

At best a crisp dinner companion, Shaw’s Irish wit could become a weapon. At a party he began to debate with a woman. Shaw claimed that everyone would agree to do anything for money, if the price was high enough. “Surely not,” she said. “Oh yes,” he said. “Well, I wouldn’t,” she said. “Oh yes you would,” he said. “For instance,” he said, “would you sleep with me for ... for a million pounds?” “Well,” she said, “maybe for a million I would, yes.” “Would you do it for ten shillings?” said Bernard Shaw. “Certainly not!” said the woman. “What do you take me for? A prostitute?” “We’ve established that already,” said Bernard Shaw. “We’re just trying to fix your price now!”

Trump’s price is 110 billion to fix America in a prince’s harem. A married Don’s moral-free 130K for a tryst with Stormy Daniels and 150K for a year with Playmate Karen McDougal may be ruled illegal campaign contributions. Likely a crime, says The Wall Street Journal. 

In a stormy post-midterm election press conference, CNN reporter Jim Acosta upset Trump by questioning his assertion that America was being invaded by Mexico. Trump called Acosta “an enemy of the people.” Hours later, Acosta’s White House press pass was revoked. CNN sued to get it back for now, but threats remain in the air.

You need not be a conspiracy theorist to connect the dots between reporters murdered in Russia, jailed in Turkey or beheaded by Saudi Arabia in view of the world. Each autocrat’s rationale: Enemy of the people.

Trump shows zero respect for the First Amendment!

In a trip to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, I learned the difference between just renewing my driving license and upgrading to the new REAL ID license, which requires three forms of identification. In the year 2020, a REAL ID or your passport will be needed to board an airplane for a domestic flight, enter a federal building or maybe vote in restrictive states.

Like Jim Acosta trying to get back into the White House to do his job, I envision a near future when “show me your papers” from chilling Cold War spy movies will remind us that we’re living with fewer freedoms.

Hooray! The Democrats took back the House of Representatives, a step to restoring normal order. 

Adios to our misleading egoist’s rubber stamp.

Jim Cahillane writes his monthly column in Williamsburg. He served on that town’s Flag Committee, which delivered its historic flag to the Massachusetts State House Hall of Flags on Nov. 7. Home-sized copies of the colorful 1771 flags can be pre-ordered in Town Hall.

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