By Ruth Gadebusch
He surely says a lot to himself. I refer to the president of this nation as he so often peppers his pronouncements to the world: “I said to myself…” Alas, I wish he kept most of it to himself.
This man so unacquainted with the truth can’t even remember what he has said leaving his stories to vary into exact opposite positions in simple yes and no statements. Nuance providing some shades of gray complicates matters more.
On occasion, he is smart enough to not commit himself to a direct answer diametrically opposed to previous statements by ignoring the subject at hand going off on a completely different tangent. His speech goes from expressing absolute certainty to no memory. I suppose this latter is better than absolute lies.
This condition must be contagious because dodging has become an all-too-often reply from Republican spokespersons wanting to avoid getting on his wrong side, but not as accomplished in lies as he is. For example, the vice president, when asked about the slapping of hands on the table and walking out on a White House session with Democratic leadership, replied that he did not recollect such behavior. This, only a few minutes from having left the session where the behavior occurred.
With such short memory, does he qualify for his high office? That is giving him the benefit of the doubt that it is his memory lacking rather than his integrity. I did not say alleged behavior because those who say it occurred have a much better record for veracity than anyone in the administration denying it.
A word of caution here: For those who would impeach the president think of who would follow. Arguably, the vice president could be more dangerous because he can portray a modicum of dignity and not lie with the same impunity as the president. Liars sooner or later usually hang themselves.
Granted, this president has lied at least as often as he has spoken truthfully and still he has a following. That following can be classified as those who have little understanding of politics, how our government was meant to serve all, but it has all too often been men and women elected to run this government who have been the transgressors. People who should know better. People who supposedly know that loyalty to the country comes before party power. Is the electorate that gullible?
At this writing, the latest nominee for the Department of Justice has diverted from his history and said that he believes that the Mueller investigation should be completed and released to the Congress and to the people. It remains to be seen if he really believes it or is just saying such for confirmation purposes. Talk is cheap with action much more difficult.
In the matter of various investigations, both under way and proposed, an innocent person should be begging for public revelation. Fear comes in guilt exposed. In this case, it does seem to me that the investigators have a much better record for integrity than the investigated. My fear is that integrity is in short supply in this nation these days.
Is there anything really more valuable than integrity? Many campaign promises have often been seen as pipe dreams fraught with embellishment that once settled into high office the elected will see a broader vision and rise to the responsibility of the office. Unfortunately, this has not happened with the current president who has targeted a wall!
To the detriment of so many he has shut down the government over a wall, a wall that was not nearly so important when his party controlled the government. Likewise, many of his party have succumbed to the perceived glory of power rather than responsibility, loyalty to the citizens and the nation. A disclaimer: Democrats are not immune to the disease, but currently the Republicans have developed the art of abusing power to a much higher degree.
After two years in office, the man is still incredible, incredible as in crude, immoral, dishonest, ignorant of the constitution and just plain incompetent to serve with the fate of the world in his hands. I am not an expert in history, but I have had a few years to observe the society and the function of our government and I cry. I cry for the state of affairs with so little ability of so many, most especially our so-called leader, to put themselves in the place of ordinary citizens.
Greed, disdain for others, self focus and similar traits prevail making it impossible for me to stick to my tenet of question judgment, not integrity, and increasingly difficult to stick to my military training of saluting the office, not the officer.
Adding insult to injury, the Republican Party loudly proclaims support for our great document, known as the Constitution, meant to protect a wide range of people and ideals, while performing far differently.
Few would dispute that we are better at technology than human relations. However, it is this latter that is called for if we are to save the nation, save the planet. It may sound Pollyanna-like, but it is time to use that technology to reverse our direction and grasp the values envisioned by our founders. United we stand, divided we fall, is still true.
Former Naval Officer Ruth Gadebusch, an emeritus member of the Center for Civic Education, has served as a Fresno Unified School Board Trustee, vice chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and on various other community organizations.