Columnist Karen Gardner: In gut we trust? Hopefully not

  • President Donald Trump waves as he departs after speaking on the South Lawn of the White House as he walks to Marine One, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Washington. AP PHOTO/Alex Brandon

Published: 1/9/2019 8:36:20 AM

The president is a gut-level genius. No really, he’s pretty much said so himself. In an interview with “Fake News” CNN in November, he said “I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain…,” including his own, I presume. 

Who needs experts when your gut is more intelligent than they are? Really, his gut is so smart that it knows, for example, that climate change is a great big hoax, despite the enormous and credible volume of research saying otherwise.

But what I’d like to know is what the president’s gut will tell him if he’s ever hit with a nasty bout of norovirus as I just experienced while in Florida escaping the cold back home. I admit I’ve had no official diagnosis of norovirus, but my gut told me that’s what it was.

I can assure you that his gut won’t be telling him anything, just vociferously expelling anything and everything he’s ever had to eat or drink and doing it repeatedly over a day or so. And what will the country do then? It will be a national emergency; the president will have no functioning brain, and there’s no telling what catastrophe might ensue. On the other hand, without the gut-in-chief running things, we might see a glimmer of sanity restored, and our government might start functioning again. Or maybe not.

But so far, and unfortunately for us, the president’s gut appears to be in good working order. It is a shame, though, that guts don’t read, because if his gut did, it might have read what the president’s own government has said about climate change in a massive study, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, released a few months ago.

Let me quote just a bit of its warnings: “Human health and safety, our quality of life, and the rate of economic growth in communities across the U.S. are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Without substantial and sustained global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and regional initiatives to prepare for anticipated changes, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.”

Maybe if the president actually read this kind of report, or at least listened to an expert explain it, his gut would absorb the information like it does his Big Macs and Diet Cokes. And then his gut might think differently on the subject and steer him in a more useful direction.

But guts don’t think, now do they? Not even the president’s. And if this man is truly relying on his gastrointestinal tract to tell him how to run this country, then we truly are doomed, aren’t we?

On the other hand, things are looking up elsewhere in our nation’s capital. There’s a new crop in the House of Representatives, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s party is now in a position to push back on that gut. As the majority party in the House, Democrats now have the power to stop many of the president’s most egregious policy efforts, the power to investigate his questionable personal dealings, the power to subpoena his financial records and more.

Considering his refusal to disclose his tax returns or to separate himself from his businesses, he is ripe for corruption. And the only way to be sure that he is not gaining financially at the expense of the American people is to follow the money, his money.

They’re even throwing around the “I” word, and I don’t mean iPhone. And why not? This man took an oath to uphold our Constitution and he’s spent nearly every day of his presidency doing just the opposite.

And let’s not forget that last week, the most diverse freshman class in our country’s history was sworn in to the House of Representatives, including 102 women, many quite young, mostly all Democrats, and mostly all progressives with terrific ideas and incredible energy.

Getting the most attention right now is 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated a 10-term incumbent to represent the 14th district of New York. One of the big policy changes she wants to see passed into law is a 70 percent marginal income tax rate, up from the current 37 percent, on wealthy taxpayers with the increased revenue to be used for a Green New Deal, a plan to fight and prepare for the effects of climate change, among other things.

I’m sure the presidential gut will be screaming for him to stop such a radical thing in its tracks, and he certainly has the power to do that. But it’s not as radical as the gut might think. This country had a rate at least that high for 35 years after World War II. In fact, it was 90 percent in the 1950s under the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, and the economy boomed.

Just to be clear, the wealthy of America will not have to pay that 70 percent rate on all of their earnings. No, it will only apply to a person’s income above, say, $10 million. Yes, I did just say $10 million. Shocking, isn’t it?

So where are we headed in this new year of 2019? I hope to a future where guts are left to digest, and brains are encouraged to learn and think things through.

In the meantime, remember to wash your hands.

Karen Gardner, of Haydenville, a retired computer programmer, is a bird watcher, nature photographer and ukulele player. She can be reached at

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