Connect with us

World News

Opinion | Shame on Us for Getting Used to Trump



So it’s true: The Trumpian treachery revealed at the hearing on Wednesday will not move immovable Republicans. Last month Graham told Axios that there were circumstances in which he might support impeachment. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,” he said. Now that there is abundant evidence of just such a quid pro quo, Graham has moved the goal posts, saying that the inquiry is “invalid” unless the whistle-blower who revealed Trump’s Ukraine scheme is outed.

But it is a monumental mistake to allow people who will accept anything from Trump to set our standards for acceptable public behavior. By any normal metric, this week’s news — the impeachment hearing, the Stone trial, the mortifying Erdogan meeting, not to mention new revelations of the senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s white nationalism — was sensational and historic. The fact that Republicans are insisting otherwise is a sign of the depths of our political crisis. Each one of us must choose whether to treat their mulish disloyalty to their fellow citizens as a given, worthy only of shrugs, or as a shocking affront that demands redoubled political action.

Faced with evidence of Trump’s crimes, a significant part of the right is trying to convince Americans that the president has been set up by the Jewish philanthropist George Soros. The lurid McCarthyite fantasy that Soros controls American diplomats has been a theme in this scandal from the beginning — Rudy Giuliani has pushed the idea repeatedly.

Now the claims are getting louder. On Wednesday night Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, two attorneys who’ve served as conduits between Giuliani and corrupt Ukrainian interests, appeared on Lou Dobbs’s Fox Business show, where diGenova said, “There’s no doubt that George Soros controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department.” On Thursday, the white nationalist Representative Steve King tweeted out a picture of Soros’s son, claiming, absurdly, that he was the whistle-blower. (King later deleted it.)

These are the sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that deform public life in squalid second-rate oligarchies like Russia and Hungary. In three short years, Republicans have allowed our country to sink to that level — indeed, to sink below it, since foreign authoritarians find it easy to manipulate our president, and scarcely seem to regard him as their equal.

There is nothing Democrats can do to make their Republican colleagues side with upstanding patriots like Taylor and Kent — who embody the virtues conservatives once venerated — over their dear leader and the mad rantings of his worshipers. All they can do is make plain the choice America faces between hewing to ideals that everyone in public life once at least pretended to revere, or consenting to their defilement. Either Americans will reclaim their birthright and become a liberal democracy again, or not. It’s up to all of us to decide how much we care about being entertained in the process.

Source link