We used to be
President Trump promised to stop endless wars. Then he ripped up our nuclear agreement with Iran. Now he has, overnight, increased the chance of war with Iran a thousand-fold.
Afghanistan should have been enough. Iraq should have been enough. I truly thought Trump understood that. I thought this was the one thing he got right.
War kills people. War with Iran would kill Americans.
Trump said if Iran retaliated, he would target sites that include cultural sites, clearly an attack on the Iranian people rather than the Iranian government.
On Sunday evening, Trump told reporters: “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”
This is nuts. Who allows them to torture, maim and kill our people? Seriously, who allows that? Who says it’s OK? Iran? He thinks we should be like Iran?
The way “this works,” or the way it used to, was that America rose above the evil committed by other countries. Our standards were higher. We were a city on a hill. But Trump wants us to be a city in a dumpster fire, outdoing every other country in our ability to commit atrocities.
Someone tell me how that makes America great again.
President Trump’s speech Wednesday reminded me that he is not overburdened with modesty, succinctness or accuracy.
The news is not fake. The press is not our enemy.
Constantly maligned, rarely appreciated, best describes how the press is treated in America. The free press’ status as “protected” was, and still is, the genius stroke penned into the Constitution. No democratic government can survive without constantly monitoring its leaders’ handling of the truth.
The founders could not have predicted how unhinged, untruthful and tribal electronic media would become. Whatever one professes as “the truth” now has a forum, website or post. OK, guilty. This is the lament of an old man. I still read old school, “hard-copy” forums: The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Smithsonian, The Atlantic, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the Winston-Salem Journal. Sure, I check my I-phone for stories, but invariably depend on all the above-mentioned sources, which now are online.
Why? All of these sources are vetted, demand verification and multiple sources. Rooting out the truth, a.k.a. journalism, is hard and demanding. Sure, I may be an old man standing in his front yard ranting about the new kid tearing up his carefully manicured lawn. Still, it seems that something is very wrong in America when the facts of a news story are in a constant state of flux.
Tribalism festers, breeds and flourishes when the facts of an event become a mirror of a personal or political motive. When everyone is telling the truth, then no one is wrong. Tribalism quickly turns into chaos, or worse: tyranny.
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