Trump dodged Vietnam. I wouldn’t be as bothered if he dodged the draft but at least had enough courage to protest the war if he didn’t think anyone should kill or die for it. But when someone lies to get out of a war and is happy to have others go in his place, that is cowardice.
We know it took him almost two years to visit troops in combat zones, and when he did so he did with extreme precautions, and took no more risk than his wife did.
Now in recent days we’ve seen him tweeting with outrage as he hid in a bunker after turning off the lights in the White House. Later, in an attempt to show bravery, he had the military violently clear Lafayette Square of protestors so he can safely walk across for a quick photo shoot before scurrying back to the White House.
Why can’t so many of us see that he’s a coward?
Some of us think he’s brave because he talks like a tough guy. It’s the same reason so many thought John Wayne was brave. Trump has cultivated his tough guy image for decades. Back in 1991 he had the New York Daily News publish a story about Trump stopping a mugging. That story quoted an anonymous witness to describe Trump’s heroics, but at least one real person disputes it.
Another reason we think he’s brave is he’s reckless. But Trump isn’t reckless with his own safety. As a born-millionaire entrepreneur, he can afford to be reckless. If you have enough money, you can try one thing after another and you don’t have to win them all – you just have to win more than you lose. It doesn’t hurt Trump when any one of his businesses fail because he has others. It only hurts people who lose their jobs, pensions, or investments.
Trump took that recklessness with him to the White House. Trump was reckless when he taunted Kim Jong Un with childish name-calling. But who would suffer if a nuclear armed madman in Asia were to retaliate? Not Trump. Most likely, just our allies in South Korea and Japan. And what a rallying cry it would be if Kim were to harm innocent people on the other side of the world. We’d nuke North Korea and hail Trump as a hero.
Which brings me to the final reason so many fail to see Trump for what he is. He’s dangerous. We’re not wired to see the difference between danger and bravery. Think about at how many organizations use dangerous animals as their logo. But a cobra doesn’t bite because it’s brave. It bites out of fear. And that’s the same reason Trump had peaceful protestors tear gassed at Lafayette Square.
Thinking about what a coward Trump is and why so many can’t see it, it becomes clear why so many of his fans feel the need to arm themselves for Starbucks.
(edit notes: I fixed some grammatical errors since originally posting)
Did you believe Trump when he said he’d show us his tax returns, but are OK that he still hasn’t done so?
Where you OK that Donald Trump, who avoided service because of “bone spurs” that never stopped him from anything else, waited almost two years before visiting troops overseas, and that when he finally yielded to political pressure and went to Iraq, he lied to our troops about their pay?
Do you remember when Trump promised to sign the 2018 immigration legislation that Democrats and Republicans worked for months to hash out, then changed his mind and decided not to sign it?
Do you care that he promised insurance for everybody?
Do you believe North Korea no longer a threat?
Did 15 cases of coronavirus go down to “close to zero” in “a couple of days”? like Donald Trump said it would?
In the weeks before the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans did everything they could to keep Ebola in the news, and the media complied. The CDC, fully funded and staffed, responded to the outbreak with largest mobilization in their history. Still, Republicans viciously attacked Obama and Democrats for not doing enough while the media sounded the alarms night and day, and Trump criticized Obama for flying home American medical workers in a plane designated and fitted just for them.
After the midterm elections, we hardly heard a word about Ebola.
There were a total of eleven cases of Ebola in the U.S, and no spread beyond those who had traveled to infected areas.
Today, there are over 60 cases of coronavirus, and it’s starting to spread to people who haven’t traveled. The CDC is underfunded and understaffed because of budget cuts and because Trump’s fired the pandemic response team. People with symptoms that might indicate coronavirus are not being tested, and infected people were flown into the country against the advice of the CDC. Infected patients who arrived in America were greeted by untrained medical workers without proper safety gear, and the scientist who reported the incident was punished. Now Trump and Republicans who exaggerated Ebola concerns to make Obama look bad are accusing the media of trying to make Trump look bad just for reporting the truth.
At the top of Hilary Clinton’s page for “Veterans, the armed forces, and their families”
is a paragraph about Clinton’s father who was a Chief Petty Officer during World
War II. Trump’s “Veterans affairs Reform” page, of course, describes no connections to the military, since his entire family has avoided service.
Both pages include three or four paragraphs of general vision statements. Even in these general statements, Clinton’s page provides more detail than Trump’s, but Clinton’s also links to a fact-sheet that details how she plans to meet her goals.
Clinton’s page says she will narrow the focus of the VA so that it concentrates on providing health care for service-related conditions and treatments that Veterans need but have difficulty getting outside the VA. For issues that can be dealt with outside the VA, she’ll have the VA coordinate with other existing programs, and “Strategically purchase private-sector care when it makes sense to do so.” She promises to hold regular meetings with the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense. She will look for ways to streamline the VA by removing redundancies and co-locating operations. She will push to implement the electronic health record system, which has been delayed for years. Her fact sheet is filled with such details.
Trump’s page as no such details. It’s pretty much a short list which he calls a “10 point plan to reform the VA”. There is no link to any fact sheet.
The first of Trump’s ten points is “Appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans.” We already have a VA Secretary whose sole purpose is to serve veterans. Recently the VA Secretary failed to fulfill that purpose, but the position and the purpose both exist, so Trump’s first point is meaningless.
Points 2,3,4, and 5 are all about punishing poor performers at the VA. They’re one point divided into four because a “10 point plan” sounds better than a “7 point list”. So far, it’s really just a 6 point list because point 1 is nonsense.
Half of Point 6 is a good idea. Yay Trump. He will create a 24 hour, live manned, “private White House hotline”. I like the 24 hour part. We already have a VA hotline but it only runs during East Coast business hours. It can be trouble finding time during the workday to deal with government agencies. So that’s great, but I don’t know what Trump means by “private White House hotline”. It would be stupid to put the hotline in the White House, and what does he mean by “Private”? The hotline would be better off in a VA facility were someone might be able to turn the call over to a health care professional.
Point 7 is about punishing non-performers, so it should get rolled in with points 2,3,4, and 5. Now it’s a 5 point plan.
Point 8 is about visas. Even if a crackdown on visas would help veterans (and I’m not saying it wouldn’t), it’s not a point in a plan to reform the VA. Trump really has a four point plan to reform the VA.
Points 9 and 10 sound good to me. He’ll increase the number of mental health care professionals and allow veteran’s to choose between care at the VA or at a private service provider. But since it’s mainly the cost that keeps vets from getting care outside of the VA (there’s no rule that says we can’t), if Trump wants to make sure that vets can get care outside of the VA, he should provide some clue about how he plans to cover the cost.
That’s it. Four ideas: Set up a 24 hour “private hotline”, increase the number of health care professionals, improve access to private health care,and make the VA a scary place to work where great resources are devoted to punishment and employees are rewarded for turning in their coworkers. There is nothing about the economic challenges faced by active duty military members. There is no mention of their families. There is nothing about education.
Most of all, there is no framework for how Trump plans to meet the four goals he spells out in his so-called “ten point plan”. There is almost no accountability.
Clinton’s plan has several specific objectives that later we can review to hold her to her promises.
Trump’s plan reads like a book report done on the morning bus by a student who didn’t read the book. It is an insult that shows no regard for veterans, military members, or their families.
We have to elect Clinton and down-ballot Democrats. They we’ll have to deal with violent ignoramuses who will think Trump’s loss is due to rigging and are dreaming about a civil war.
Reporter tweets from Trump rally:
Jared Yates Sexton @JYSexton
I’ve covered the Trump campaign for over a year now and have seen this worsen. The anger changes, grows. It’s going to boil over.
It started with Muslims and moved to BLM. Then it was Clinton and calling for her death. Now it’s media. It won’t stop spreading.
Trump wasn’t Trump tonight. He was a megaphone spouting off Breitbart copy. It was organized and structured. Nuanced. That’s terrible news.
He kept crowd’s attention, which he’s never been able to do. He crafted a very dangerous narrative and they swallowed it whole.