Civic responsibility starts with the truth, no matter how inconvenient
The bottom line
There will be no glory in saying, “I worked in Donald Trump’s administration.” There will be no civic adulation, no honorary degrees awarded, no thanks from a grateful nation, no corner offices earned through the honest labors of one’s work or as a reward for making the world a better place. No. Those gifts of appreciation will not automatically attach to the futures of the majority of men and women who, quite wittingly, continue to enable the 45th president of the United States to flimflam, bamboozle, and hoodwink his way to the top of the greasy pole of his bizarre Faustian ambition.
The worldview of America is sad
To be complicit in Donald Trump’s selfish aims (I am also speaking to you fearful physicians) is to be fully aware that one’s participation in his madness is contributing to the national and global perception that the United States has fallen on exceedingly hard times. Thanks to you who are Trump’s suckups and “yes” bleating sheep, America is the ragged, wine-soaked, stained-pants, misbegotten bum in the gutter of the world.
We would be the laughingstock of our allies if we weren’t so pathetically compliant in being led toward moral oblivion by a reckless, inhumane bully and crook, a ruthless villain for whom the deaths of 210,000 Americans means absolutely nothing. We are beyond the comedy club stage. To the rest of the world, we are approaching the doors of the asylum reserved the certifiably insane for whom there is no redemptive treatment.
All theater on the South Lawn
Last week, when Marine One touched down on the South Lawn in response to the alleged Covid-inspired cri de coeur from Mr. Trump’s staff to the physicians at Walter Reed Medical Center, American’s paused to watch for the rush of personnel hustling the president on board in order that he be whisked away with all possible dispatch.
I didn’t. I took a look at the time, which was approaching the prime news cycle; I noticed that the helicopter’s rotors had slowed to a halt and Marine One simply became an idling set-piece against a Potemkin White House; I noticed that there were no signs of urgency attending the moment. And I turned to my wife and said, “This is a setup.”
Sure enough, as the minutes ticked by, we were eventually rewarded with a video message from the allegedly sick president, assuring us all that he was on his way to Walter Reed out of an abundance of caution.
It’s all about the optics
Then, and only then, did Marine One’s rotors begin churning and we were granted a glimpse of the scoundrel in chief trudging toward the awaiting helicopter, our brave obese hero, saluting the Marine guard, bravely entering the cabin while the evening’s optics proved nearly perfect for a shot of the helicopter lifting off and winging our suffering leader toward Bethesda.
Give. Me. A. Break.
The worst was yet to come
In only got worse from there. One of the greatest examples of medical malpractice I have ever witnessed — and was so angered to watch — were the “briefings” by the phalanx of doctors who were trotted out on the Medical Center’s plaza to attest to Trump’s wonderful health, his upbeat attitude, his desire to keep on working, his treatment of a triple round of medicines so unavailable to the average Covid patient as to be statistical decimal dust when compared to the normal regimen of care for anyone else…anywhere! If “liar, liar pants on fire” were ever to come true, Walter Reed’s presidential suite would be ashes by now.
How dare they? How dare any physician worthy of his or her Hippocratic oath stand in front of the world press and vomit the bile of mistruths and misdirections when they knew all along they were being played right from the start by an insane president? How can any one doctor — much less a team of doctors — be corralled into cowering compliance with the perverted wishes of a man who cares nothing — zero, zip, zed, nada — about anyone else?
What dignity is there in pandering to a patient?
Did not even one of those physicians think for a moment about all the victims of the coronavirus who have no comparable access to the kind of “care” the president was insisting on? Did not one of the physicians consider the immorality, the lack of ethics, the deficit of humanity that Trump was displaying during his “drive by” for his adoring fans arrayed along Rockville Pike with their bullhorns and flags? Did anyone say “No, Mr. President?” Of. Course. Not. Nobody ever says no to Donald Trump.
So it was no surprise to this writer that Monday’s top-of-the-news-cycle homecoming flight and walk up the steps and the flag-flanked waving from the White House balcony (sans mask) signaled the renewed onslaught of Trump as savior of his flock and enemy of the State.
The Washington conundrum: morality dials turned to cowardice
And therein lies one of the greatest mysteries in American politics: How so many people who work in the White House and its many agencies and those who sit in the Congress have had their personal morality dials tuned to the cowardice setting.
Do they really think there is a reward so great awaiting them in the post-Trump years of their lives that they willingly sell their souls for this charlatan? Do they honestly believe that all the damage they are doing domestically and internationally at Trump’s irrational behest, has long-term value to the good of the world? Do they have no sense of decency?
The end game will not go well for some
There is no glory in working to tear down the pillars of humanity; there is no reward offered to those who follow tyrants into the abyss; there is no redemption for those who give up whatever virtue they might have had in order to advance the madness of a strutting 21st Century Il Duce.
On November 3 those of us who believe in rescuing an idea that is greater than our own ambitions will choose to turn away from the madness and those who fuel it. We will turn you out. We will turn you off.