Andy Schmookler: What happened to those conservative patriots?

andy schmooklerI wonder how many of those who support Donald Trump as President, and who perhaps get their news from Fox, would be able to present even a few bits of the accumulated evidence that strongly suggests that Trump and his gang committed crimes in conspiracy with Putin’s Russia?

That picture is not yet settled, but anybody paying attention should know things like that

  • many people around Trump committed perjury by lying about their meetings during the campaign with Russians;
  • the top of Trump’s campaign met with the Russians in the hope of getting help that American law forbids;
  • Trump himself dictated a statement that lied about that meeting
  • Trump refused to do what Congress required him to do to impose sanctions on Putin’s gang
  • before all the world, at a news conference with Putin at Helsinki, Trump bolstered Putin and threw American intelligence under the bus, all part of his long record of denying what all our nation’s intelligence agencies have said about Russian meddling in our election to help Trump get elected President
  • Trump has acted in many other ways as if Putin has some hold on him.

All that and much more evidence is already before us.

It would be hard for anyone paying attention not to know a substantial amount of this very suspicious evidence.

But if that’s the case, how are we to understand how the conservative patriots (whom I once knew, when I talked with them on the radio back in the 90s) could have any enthusiasm for a President (of whatever Party) who is reasonably suspected of having conspired — to get help in becoming President — with America’s major adversary in the world?

Even if the likelihood of Trump being guilty of such betrayal of the nation were judged to be only 20% — and I would estimate it at 90% — I’d have thought those conservative patriots I used to know would be adamant about finding out if America’s President had indeed betrayed the nation.

And they’d be agitated by the many signs suggesting that this same President is continuing to act in ways that run contrary to American interests, but look very much like a wish list for the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin. (Like undermining those international relationships and alliances that have been the bulwark of American power.)

They’d wonder why this President seems so entwined with the Russian leader – a dictator whose most fervent desire is to pull America down so that Russia can again challenge America’s power in the world.

Back in the 90s, I felt a good connection with some conservative patriots in my radio audience – connecting with them in our shared love of country, and in our willingness to serve the nation as and when needed.

And now these people are supporting a man who not only seems to be in an alliance with our principal adversary, but also looks suspiciously like he’s selling out American foreign policy interests for his own enrichment with other nations (such as Saudi Arabia and China).

Meanwhile, this same President – enjoying the support of so many self-avowed conservative patriots — has been striking at the basic foundations of American greatness:

  • launching an assault on the free press in ways we’ve never seen, even calling America’s finest news organizations “enemies of the people”;
  • using Justice, law enforcement, and the U.S. military for his own political purposes;
  • tolerating rampant corruption in his administration;
  • lying at a prodigious rate, being so dishonest with the American people that one really cannot take anything he says about any issue as valid or true or even necessarily what he really thinks. (More than 6000 lies or false statements so far in his presidency, with some of the most recent ones being about the Caravan being an “invasion” of dangerous people, as well as false accusations – launched on the basis of no evidence – of election fraud in Florida, thus injuring public truth in the integrity of our elections and fomenting conflict between groups of Americans.)
  • and most dangerously, attacking the rule of law for his own self-protection– not behind closed doors like Nixon did but, again and again, right in front of our eyes, demonstrating his determination to obstruct justice rather than let Robert Mueller find out and tell America the truth about what happened between him and the Russians during the 2016 campaign.

How can it be that American patriots could support this wrecking ball that’s been let loose upon America with the powers of the presidency?

How can this be, with all this happening right out in the open? Do they not see what’s right in front of their eyes?

I expect they still regard themselves as patriots. But have they forgotten what patriotism is?

How does a person change so much? Or see so poorly?

How are they able to make themselves not see what a disaster for America Trump is, by all the values they had back when America was likened to a “city on a hill,” when this nation served as “the leader of the free world”?

Have they forgotten those values?

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