With All Due Disrespect
January 16, 2017
New York Times
Now Mr. Lewis says that he wont attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, whom he regards as an illegitimate president.
As you might expect, this statement provoked a hysterical, slanderous reaction from the president-elect who, of course, got his start in national politics by repeatedly, falsely questioning President Obamas right to hold office. But Mr. Trump who has never sacrificed anything or taken a risk to help others seems to have a special animus toward genuine heroes. Maybe he prefers demonstrators who dont get beaten?
But lets not talk about Mr. Trumps ravings. Instead, lets ask whether Mr. Lewis was right to say what he said. Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?
Yes, it is. In fact, its an act of patriotism.
By any reasonable standard, the 2016 election was deeply tainted. It wasnt just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trumps behalf; Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadnt conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote. This was grotesque, delegitimizing malfeasance, especially in contrast with the agencys refusal to discuss the Russia connection.
Was there even more to it? Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true? We dont know, although Mr. Trumps creepy obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin makes it hard to dismiss these allegations. Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title. So why shouldnt we question his legitimacy?
It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility, of realizing that his duty to the nation requires showing some respect for the strong majority of Americans who voted against him despite Russian meddling and the F.B.I.s disinformation dump. But he hasnt and wont.
But Congress will be much more likely to stand up to a rogue, would-be authoritarian executive if its members realize that they will face a political price if they act as his enablers.
What this means is that Mr. Trump must not be treated with personal deference simply because of the position he has managed to seize. He must not be granted the use of the White House as a bully pulpit. He must not be allowed to cloak himself in the majesty of office. Given what we know about this guys character, its all too clear that granting him unearned respect will just empower him to behave badly.
And reminding people how he got where he is will be an important tool in preventing him from gaining respect he doesnt deserve. Remember, saying that the election was tainted isnt a smear or a wild conspiracy theory; its simply the truth.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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