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But, I’ve got another word for you. “Respect.” The respect that the public holds for their Head of State, the respect the military holds for their Commander in Chief, the respect the world holds for her strongest nation, the respect the government holds for its citizenry, and – above all – therespect that our leader holds for his own office.
When you lie to someone, you do more than just deceive them – lead them down a primrose path – manipulate them. You disrespect them. Lying is perhaps the supreme form of disrespect. What is the liar thinking? “What a chump! What a fool! This idiot is actually BUYING this shit!” When Trump and his minions lie to us, they are disrespecting us.
But, they are also disrespecting the office and all those who held it before them. You can improperly salute Lincoln’s statue all fuckin’ day, but every lie you tell is a dagger of disrespect, directly to the heart of Lincoln’s ghost.
Even George W. Bush – even Reagan – even Nixon respected the Presidency. Trump doesn’t. To Trump, the highest office in the land is just a means to an end. And that end is his own self-glorification, self-aggrandizement, and self-enrichment. He thinks he’s a king. He thinks he’s Louis XIV – Nicholas Romanov – Henry VIII.
During the run up to the Election, I told you that Trump would create a state of new American Fascism. The first step to that is not creating a fear based respect for the state. The first step is creating a unified public sense of disrespect. We have to lose all sense of respect for our own values and our own institutions. And he’s doing a bang up job of that.
If you love America, you love our democracy and our system of checks and balances. You love our minority protections. You love our Constitution and its tenets of Press freedom, freedom of assembly, and the separation of Church and State.
Germany and France have become the world’s leading democracies. But it’s not Trump’s buildup of the police state that has tarnished our image of a shining city on a hill. It’s not even his buffoonery on the world stage. It’s not his bully handshake, his shoving other leaders out of the way, so he can get center stage at photo-ops, or his feeling-up Macron’s wife. It’s his disrespect. Disrespect for all the other leaders of the world, disrespect for his people, disrespect for tradition – and OUR disrespect for HIM.
That’s why he’s illegitimate. Yes, he’s our first demonstrably mentally ill President. Yes, he’s our first true criminal president. But the primary delegitimizing quality of Trump’s Presidency is the utter and contemptible lack of respect.
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