While I agree wholeheartedly with Scott Sexton’s March 21 column (“Burr shows Washington’s hypocrisy”) that Sen. Richard Burr’s actions of late were indeed horrible, Sexton has to be called out for his populist, Jimmy Breslin-like journalism. Rather than speaking to the actual facts of abuses of power like Burr’s, he calls out all politicians with phrases like, “Talking, sometimes out of both sides of their mouths while actually saying very little, is part of the job description.”
Sexton did similar things when he wrote about Trump’s rise to power back in 2016, equating Trump’s incredibly dangerous behavior as really no different than any other politician’s. Look what that kind of reporting and commentary got us.
Sexton’s story here just helps perpetuate misconceptions and ridiculous conspiracy theories about government in general, all in an effort to appeal to readers hungry for such nonsense.
President Trump is the president who cried “wolf.”
Maybe not the most accurate analogy, but I can’t help but make this comparison. We have a president who for three years has chipped away at public trust of news sources and science, and despite belatedly acknowledging the seriousness of this situation, he is still throwing out cheap jabs at reputable media outlets and stating opinions that contradict medical facts. At a time when our reporters and scientists are a crucial source of information, parts of society have been conditioned for suspicion and skepticism, and thus are still convinced that the pandemic is all overblown.
I’ve heard many either voice frustration caused by the “overreaction” to a “media-created hype,” or ignore social-distancing pleas because they don’t take the science seriously. It’s all fake news, right? It’s all the Democrats trying to take down Trump, right? At a time when it’s crucial that we rely on solid reporting and fact to instruct our behavior and our understanding, we are paying the price of our president’s efforts to erode basic facets of a successful democracy.
The wolf is here, but the president’s behavior has left many unprepared to take this seriously.
And as I finish this letter, I see another newly posted and true-to-form immature tweet by the president, criticizing the media and defending his own ego. He. Is. Unfit.
Pay the donors
“Six Weeks’ Paid Leave Opposed by People with Thirty-Three Weeks’ Paid Leave,” satirist Andy Borowitz wrote for The New Yorker in 2015. Funny, but not that funny, because, as we’re seeing again, it’s true.
Even before the recent revelation about Sen. Richard Burr and his fellow Republican investors (and yes, there was a Democrat, but it looks like her finances are held in a blind trust), we should all know by now that the Republican Party is the party of rich fat cats. Of course the Republican Senate tried to shovel the relief money to corporate heads. And, of course, it tried to mischaracterize the Democrats’ attempts to give the money to working people.
Seriously: Shouldn’t we all know better by now? When Republicans scream, “money for abortions!” shouldn’t we know better than to take the bait? How many more corporate tax cuts do we need to experience before we stop giving these guys the benefit of the doubt?
The Democrats want relief money to go to working people. They want it to alleviate other financial pressures, like college debt. They want the money that goes to corporations to have limitations: no executive bonuses and no stock buy-back. That’s not out of line.
But whatever the final deal is, it’s going to contain some largess for corporate heads because that’s just the way Republicans roll. They’ve got to reward their donors before they give money to the workers who need it.
God bless the Democrats for trying.
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