Saturday, September 10, 2022

Dan Rather: Toddler In Chief

Mine, mine, mine, mine  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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Dan Rather: Toddler In Chief

Toddler In Chief

Mine, mine, mine, mine

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

"Me, me, me, me..."
"My, my, my, my..."
"Mine, mine, mine..."

You don't have to listen to Donald Trump for very long to discern a worldview that is completely and utterly egocentric. 

He has gallivanted through a life made possible by his daddy's money (nevermind the shadows under which it was accumulated). He has exploited a business and social structure designed to cater to, indulge, and excuse men like him. He is driven only by quenching his basest desires. 

And over and over again, Donald Trump has gotten away with it — like a young child who has been given (and has taken) everything without ever being told "no."

Now he is being indulged by an entire political party. And like a misbehaving toddler, his disruptive antics have spread to others. They mimic his temper tantrums. Chaos escalates.  

Except this is not a preschool classroom, it is a nation. 

Petulance is not measured in hoarded blocks and broken crayons but in the demise of our democratic order. 

"My top secret documents..." 
"My judges..."
"My people..."

Trump sees a simplistic binary world where everyone is either there to serve his needs or they are the enemy. Material possessions are to be accumulated and used however he sees fit — according to the metric of personal benefit. 

The way our system of government aspires to work is that the law applies evenly to all citizens. Sadly, history has shown time and again how far from that reality we often are as a nation. But the principle of "equal justice under the law" is fundamental to the American ideal, and we as a people overwhelmingly believe in striving for it.

Trump and his acolytes do not even pay lip service to it. There is no "my fellow citizens," no commonality. He expects to exist in an alternate universe. By his formulation, the law applies only to "thee" as in us, and never to "me," as in him. 

This mindset was destructive enough when it drove the decision-making in the Oval Office. Since Trump's defeat in the 2020 election, the danger in some ways has escalated. The truth is that the president of the United States is afforded many special privileges and powers. But they reside in the office and not the person. Donald Trump is no longer president. And yet the court ruling from a judge he appointed runs roughshod over this democratic principle. 

Trump's motives for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago are unknown. Recent reporting that they contained some of this nation's most sensitive secrets raises very disturbing ramifications. But regardless of what Trump was doing, one thing we can say for certain is he believes the rules don't apply to him. 

He believes he can lose a free and fair election and meet that fate with lies — the first president in American history to not accept defeat. 

He believes he can foment violence without consequence to himself. 

He believes he can blow up our institutions of governance with impunity.

And if you judge by his legions of apologists and lackeys, he is correct. They are happy to excuse his behavior or just look the other way. It's why people like Senator Marco Rubio are eager to blame federal law enforcement for what he deems the minor infraction of a private citizen keeping highly classified documents in an insecure location for who knows what motive. "I don't think a fight over the storage of documents is worthy of what they've done," he said recently. The storage of documents? Is that really what we're talking about? Of course not. And of course Rubio had a very different take when we were talking about Hillary Clinton for a far less serious infraction. 

We have seen some version of the same excuse each and every time Trump has blown past what had been the limits of accepted behavior. Because it's Trump, they say it's okay. Everything he does is okay. 

We saw it in the run-up to the 2016 election. We've seen it in the lies too numerous to count, the unstable actions, and the pernicious divisiveness. Heck, we saw it with two impeachment trials. It's happened over and over again. It's like a preschool teacher saying, in effect, "Oh that's just Donnie being Donnie." Except every preschool teacher or responsible parent I know understands you can't do that. 

Actions must have consequences if order, rules, and laws are to hold. The Department of Justice and other prosecutors can say, "No, you can't do that." Juries, including grand juries, can, too. And so can voters. Elections, after all, also have consequences.

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© 2022 Dan Rather
548 Market Street PMB 72296, San Francisco, CA 94104

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