Mario Cuomo for President

In the fifty two years I spent in Washington as a political reporter, I encountered several people in both major parties I thought might make a good president but who never ran for the office.

Two in particular.

One was Colin Powell. To the end of my life I shall continue to believe he would have brought to the presidency mature and informed  judgement, personal characteristics of morality, ethics and temperament and the leadership skills that would have served our Country well.

The other was Mario Cuomo, not as well known as Powell, perhaps not as admired as Powell, but a man of like personal characteristics  whose views  of what leadership in our country ought to be about lifted him above the field.

Here is the link to a profile we did of Cuomo in 1990, when many Democrats were pushing him to run for the presidential nomination of his party.

Watch it and see if you could have voted for Mario Cuomo for President.

https://vimeo.com/116914127

“”It might have been” for Cuomo in 1992, and Powell in 1996, and  why didn’t they make the try?

I think both had for their generation  achieved more than any African- American or son of Italian Immigrants before them and were happy with what they had achieved and not comfortable with aiming higher.

But by the time Barack Obama came along he had no qualms about shooting for the moon.

I trust that the present desperate swing led by Donald J Trump and his band of merry thugs to exclude people by characteristics other than “…by the content of their character (MLK)” will pass  so that someday a person of Italian heritage will sit in the Oval office.

She might make a great president.

 

 

 

 

 

The Damn is Breaking – Run for the Hills

Movements start slow.

Water behind a dam finds a tiny crevice in the concrete. The trickle begins.

A little Dutch boy sticks his finger in the leak to hold back the sea but soon another and another leak appears. And finally nothing can contain the Ziedeer Zee and the dam gives way.

So it is in the final days of Trumpism.

The dam holding back the  outrage  and good sense of  the Republican party is crumbling and the flood that will sweep away Donald J Trump and his merry band of thugs will soon be upon us.

Senators Corker, Flake, McCain, Collns, Murkowsk ( Republican all)  have stood up to Trump and do you doubt that soon others, emboldened by the action of their colleagues and the rising opposition in the Country, will soon add to the flood?

Victor Hugo coined the thought that “nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

The time has come for Donald J Trump to go.

May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

 

Wille & Joe are Laughing

When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admonished us that “If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate” I immediately thought of Willie and Joe.

Willie and Joe were two fictional American soldiers in the European Theater of World War II, the creation of my friend and fellow New Mexican, the late Bill Mauldin.

Bill was in the army and a cartoonist who worked for the old Stars and Stripes newspaper which was distributed to the troops. He drew Willie and Joe as two scruffy looking “grunts” who were always pointing out the differences between the way the “grunts” and the officers were treated.

Here’s an example.

 

Donald J Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, a retired four star general, has been under heavy fire for the contemptuous way he “dissed” the congresswoman who described his boss as having been “disrespectful” in a telephone call to the bereaved widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in Niger.

So, when Ms. Sanders sought to turn aside the criticism by sniffing that it  would be highly inappropriate to argue with a Four Star General I wondered what Willie and Joe might say.

Perhaps this:

“Hey Willie, did you hear about the woman who said it would be ina, uh, ina, oh, heck, wrong to talk back to a four star general?”

“Joe, if we can’t do that who does get to do that, just the Germans?”

The G. I. s (common enlisted soldiers in the American forces of World War II) and their folks at home loved it but not all the officers did, particularly a general named George Patton.

Patton called Mauldin in and chewed him out good for disrespect to his superiors! But that’s one fight Patton lost.  Willie and Joe kept right on grousing about the officers and there was nothing more old “blood and guts” chose to do to try to stop them.

In late 1991, my producer and I on the ABC magazine program Prime Time Live took Mauldin to Saudi Arabia for the U S  buildup to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Bill drew Willie and Joe in the desert.

When our troops there discovered who this guy with a sketch pad was they mobbed him for autographs. Our young men and women may not have known a lot about Bill Mauldin but they knew that to their dads who had fought in World War II he was a hero!

The point of this story ought not to be lost on Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To tell Americans it would be “inappropriate” to call out someone because he is a Four Star General is not to understand what this country has always been about, is not to understand why although they debated the proposition our forefathers decided not to have a King here, only another common man who would be called “president” and who served only at the pleasure of the other common people who elected him. And, of course Generals serve at the pleasure of their civilian bosses.

General Kelly has served honorably and well but was way off base in his attack on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. First, he had his facts wrong and Second, his defense of the indefensible actions of his boss reflect the kind of servile obeisance which is “inappropriate”and certainly unbecoming of a Four Star General.

Willie, Joe, what do you have to say about General Kelly?

“Ah, Joe, he’s not really a bad guy just kinda lost it for a moment…could’a happened to anyone.”

“Right, Willie, but maybe he needs a rest from the office. Come on down in the mud with us for a few days. Do him a lot of good.”

”Har de har har”

That’s right, the last time I saw Willie and Joe talking about all this they were laughing.

PS – On November 23, 1963, with the nation in shock and grief at the assassination of John F Kennedy, Bill Mauldin drew Abraham Lincoln sitting in his Marble Chair in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington holding his head in his hands. In my estimation, that “cartoon” has never been topped.

Trump vs. Trump: A Puzzling Contradition

What is going on in the mind of Donald J Trump? I’m not talking about the question of true mental illness – I’ll leave that to medical professionals. But no matter what the cause, why does he say things that contradict himself?

Lying is one thing. And switching positions for political advantage is another thing. Both, perhaps, to one degree or another reprehensible but understandable.

But simply contradicting oneself is strange. Trump fights many demons  but battling himself is difficult to understand

An example.

At the weekend event which saw five former presidents band together to raise funds for hurricane relief, Trump in a video tape called them   “some of America’s finest public servants.”

What? Trump says Barack Obama is one of Americans finest public servants?

Are you laughing or crying?

Why, Trump has attacked each one of them. He  has taken major swipes at Bill Clinton and George W Bush but particularly at Barack Obama – Obama in extreme language that continues to this day.

Well, you say, this hurricane relief event was no place to surface criticism but to praise his predecessors efforts on behalf of hurricane victims.  True enough.

But before I show you the way it  can be done without looking like a fool or cause someone to ask what is going on in your mind, let’s examine the most egregious example of Trump contradicting Trump.

It occurred on election night, 2016.

The 2016, Presidential  campaign was the dirtiest, slimiest campaign in modern times thanks to the tactics and language delivered by Donald J trump and his merry band of thugs and enablers. He said his opponent was not only unqualified to be president, but was a criminal who should be locked up. In fact, he told Hillary Clinton in their second televised debate that if he were in charge of the law, “You’d be in jail.”

Yet, on election night Trump said this:

“I just received a call from Secretary Clinton.
She congratulated us — it’s about us — on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she — she fought very hard.”

So far, so good, a gracious response to his opponent’s concession call.

But there was more. I’m sure you recall what he said next.

Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

I mean that very sincerely.”

I jumped up from my chair and yelled in my most sarcastic tone of voice “What, you mean you don’t want to lock her up? You fraud, you despicable man, ( I went on for another few words but as I promised, I am not going to call people vulgar names in my blogs so I dare not repeat what I said further).”

In Trump’s mind, which is she – a criminal who should be locked up or someone owed a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country?

The mind reels: To the stockade for you, George Washington! But go there with our profound thanks for beating the British and making it possible for us to have our own country.

Guard, twenty lashes for “crooked George.”

Now, is all this Trump vs. Trump something we can just put down to being “gracious?”

I’ll show you how that can be done but without a contradiction.

The presidential campaign of 1980, was hard fought between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, each saying in many ways that the other was unqualified to lead the nation (although never with the gutter tactics and language of 2016).

And we reporters who covered that campaign can tell you they truly did not “like” each other (I traveled with Carter as the White House correspondent for ABC News).

But when Jimmy Carter’s presidential library was dedicated, Reagan in the tradition of president’s attending their predecessor’s library dedication came and spoke.

He praised Carter for his humanitarian efforts, concluding his speech by telling Carter: “For myself, I can pay you no higher honor than to say simply this: You gave of yourself to your country, gracing the White House with your passionate intellect and commitment.”

Reagan took back none of his former criticism but found ways to sincerely honor Carter.

But Carter “stole the show” when in thanking Reagan, he said “As I listened to you talk, I understood more clearly than I ever did in my life why you won in 1980 and I lost.”

Two gentlemen, gracious as the occasion  demanded, but true to themselves.

Of course, Trump is no gentleman and is true to himself only in that he thinks only of himself. But that brings me around to the question I asked in the beginning – What is going on in  the mind of Donald J Trump?

When he lies, he lies and certainly knows it (barring mental illness).

He believes as he has said that he could shoot someone and never lose a single vote. His voters don’t know or don’t care that he lies.

They love it when he sticks his finger in the eyes of the “elites,” when he talks tough, threatens  to destroy another Country and its twenty five million inhabitants and particularly when he denounces the main stream media as dispensing ‘fake news”.

After all, the hard core who stomped and yelled when he cried “lock her up” and pulled the lever on election day do not yet know or cannot yet admit they were chumps, taken by a reality-star con man. They’ll learn but not yet

My answer to the question posed is that when he contradicts himself he doesn’t realize it. He doesn’t think things through (surprise, surprise) but says whatever comes to his mind at the moment, often driven by an outburst of emotion. That he contradicts himself causes him no embarrassment because he doesn’t realize he’s done it.

Trump may not care that if he shoots someone else he won’t lose a single vote.

But when you shoot yourself, Donald, do you care about what you lose then?

It Wont Be Pretty? No Kidding!

Once again, Donald J Trump has attacked John McCain. A sure way to push my buttons.

Here are the lead paragraphs of the Washington Post story this morning on the attack.

“President Trump promised retribution against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for his opposition to several GOP health-care plans and his comments implicitly criticizing Trump’s views and leadership on Monday night.
“People have to be careful because at some point, I fight back,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with WMAL, a D.C. radio station.
“I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point, I fight back, and it won’t be pretty,” Trump said.”

You, Donald J Trump, a man who never faced Soviet Surface to Air Missiles, who never spent a day in an enemy prison, who never served a day in the military , you dare threaten John McCain with a fight???

No, it wouldn’t be pretty. It won’t be close.

In History’s eyes, this fight of  Trump vrs McCain, the coward whose every action portrays a person interested only in himself as against the hero whose public career shows a deep concern for others will be judged a “no contest! Why Trump would pick a fight he  can not possibly win is just another example of his stupidity.

Let me tell you why I am so strongly in McCain’s corner. It is not just because of his wartime heroism, or his public service (I disagree with some of his views and his congressional votes) but as a reporter who talked to him over the years I came to respect the way he treated people, including me. Mind you, we are not social friends, have never been to each other’s house for dinner, but in my work I have had the chance to take his measure and liked what I found.

In 1989, five Senators banded together to talk to Federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan Company, an Arizona based Company, was under investigation. McCain was one of the five.

After an initial meeting, two of the Senators, McCain and another American hero John Glenn backed away from any effort to intervene on behalf of Keating (whose Company ended up causing the biggest  individual loss to taxpayers in the Savings and Loan scandal).

McCain consented to an on-camera interview with me during which he made no excuses, offered no “fishy” explanations for his initial participation in the so-dubbed “Keating Five,” simply said he showed up at the request for help from an Arizona constituent but when it became apparent the meeting was not called for the purpose of getting information but for putting pressure on the regulators he withdrew. He said he realized his mistake for attending and could blame no one but himself for making it.

Four years later I was back looking at McClain. A Whistle Blower had put us onto  the fact that the U S Navy’s long time base on Bermuda (so important during World War II and even during the early  days of the cold war with the Soviet Union) no longer had any functions except to service the civilian airport for the British and maintain VIP cottages located on the U S Naval Base. It was costing U S taxpayers about thirty three million dollars a year to keep  the base open for those two purposes. We, of our ABC magazine program Prime Time Live, were delighted to investigate.

Part of the story was the fact that U S VIPS could visit the Island and stay in the luxurious Naval Guest Houses for “pennies” what it would cost them in regular civilian spas. One such VIP who had done this was Senator John McCain. On his trip, he had taken eleven family members including the children’s nanny. Wow, did I want to get McCain on camera and roast him over this!

So, one afternoon at Washington’s National airport (now Reagan National) I was lurking in the parking lot with a camera crew when McCain headed for his car after a trip back from Phoenix, pulling his roller bag.  When I jumped him, he stopped pulling his roller bag and dodged as best he could my questions and my roasting. No complaints to me. Big boys and girls in Harry Truman’s political kitchen “take the heat.”

When I got back to the office I got a call from McCain’s press  secretary wanting me to explain my “ambush” interview. I told him I thought McCain wouldn’t agree to an interview and that was the only way I would get to talk to him about this subject that was clearly embarrassing to him.

The press secretary said if I had asked McCain would have seen me in circumstances that didn’t make it look to viewers he was trying to avoid talking (when you “ambush” someone that is often the impression left) and would I come up right now for a more formal interview. I agreed that was the fair thing to do and did it, McCain answered all  my questions saying when informed the Guest House was available to him as it was to any other member of Congress he hadn’t thought about the ramifications of privilege that other American vacationers  would see.

And guess what? later as a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee McCain helped shut down that U S Naval Base and its Guest Houses as a wasteful spending of taxpayer’s money.

Again, in 1999, as he prepared  an unsuccessful campaign to secure the GOP presidential nomination, he admitted in an interview with me that in the Vietnamese prison under torture he had signed a paper denouncing U S involvement in the war. Easy enough not to bring it up since I didn’t know about it.

He said when he and the other prisoners were freed he was worried that his father, the Admiral who was in charge of all U S forces in the Pacific ,would want nothing to do with him because of that. Instead, his father embraced him when he got off the plane and called him the hero he is.

Tip O’Neal, the great Speaker of the House, used to say that “all politics is local and personal” and perhaps that is also true of relationships. I got to know John McCain in my professional dealings with him as an honest,  “straight shooter,” a man flawed as are we all but a man to be admired.

Consequently, when it comes to a fight with Donald J Trump, I’ll he in McCain’s corner.

And I’ll cover all bets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By God, That’s Enough!

There is this great scene in the movie “Patton,” when the allied generals in North Africa are discussing the battle and two German planes come over and begin strafing and bombing.  The generals duck for cover under tables as the planes keep sweeping back and forth over the town to bomb and strafe some more

Suddenly Patton (George C Scott) exclaims “By God, that’s enough!” as he jumps down into the street, pulls out his two pistols, and begins firing at the planes on their next pass.

Well, when one tries to absorb the daily bombing and staffing emanating from Donald J Trump and his merry band of thugs, the lies, the cruelty, the ignorance, the government-by-twitter, don’t you just feel like saying “By God, that’s enough!”

In the past couple of days, Donald J Trump has laid down conditions for making a deal with the Democrats on giving the DACA children a life in this Country where they have grown up and where they contribute that makes it clear there can be no deal on his preposterous terms – build the wall indeed!

Then, to say that Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, didn’t have the guts to run for re-election after Corker let it be known publicly that he doesn’t believe Donald J Trump has the capacity to be president, well Corker is right to reply  that the White House has become “an adult day care center.”

The continued “gutting” of the EPA in pursuit of profits over planet is a horrible thing to watch.

The teaching the Puerto Ricans they should be grateful for any attention, no matter how small and how late is a monstrosity.

And how about telling us that his meeting with the brass was “the calm before the storm,” telling his Secretary of State he’s wasting his time trying to talk to the North Koreans, and saying that won’t work, only one thing will work!

All that is pretty scary until you remember that Secretary of Defense  Mattas has instructed the military that any “strike” twitter order from the White House will have to go through the chain of command (and that means him)  before it can be executed and believe me, Mattas is not going to approve “destroying” twenty five million people in one thermonuclear attack!

There’s a lot more but the head reels, the mind falters, the energy flags in trying to absorb it all. In the end, it  boils down to this: We are in the hands of a child, a foolish child at that, a child with no capacity to think straight or act decently but a child who is dangerous!

As I’ve said before, we are in the hands of an EVI (Egomaniacal Vulgarian Ignoramus).

And its time to say:

By God, that’s enough!

We must keep the pressure on Congress to remove this child. Make our voices heard. Take to street corners and public squares. Write letters to the editor. Never become complacent or accepting of this truly horrible situation. Give of our time and money to the cause. Those of you who are able, run for public office. And at every opportunity on the local and higher levels, vote!

Oh, one last thing. We expect our president to be a person of manners, someone the kids can look up to and learn from when it comes to deportment and civil behavior.

HA! Not the EVI as the New York Times Editorial Board has put it so well in listing just some of the coarse and crass behavior exhibited by him.

Here’s the link:   https://nyti.ms/2ySgZKi

And now, a smile. When driving to downtown Albuquerque this morning I found a balloon from the Albuquerque Balloon Festival threatening to land on top of my vehicle. A stiff ground breeze had sprung up and Balloons were going every which way. This one was coming for me having just managed to clear the light and US 25 freeway. I threw the cell phone camera to the floor  and gunned it to escape. The Balloon landed safely on the dirt patch to the right in the picture.

Do you think the EVI was guiding the Balloon to get me? That’s absurd but I probably should check with Alex Jones just to make certain.

 

 

 

Guns Don’t Kill People!

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association insists that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” (1)

Every time there is a new mass killing in the United States, LaPierre and the NRA go into overtime defending the right of almost anyone to own almost any type of weapon and to preach their gospel that the gun is never responsible and curtailment of anyone’s right to acquire that gun is almost never permissible.

He says the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution supports his view without reservation.

In the wake of the Las Vegas mass killings (as I write  a record number), let’s talk about that.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Yes, human beings kill other human beings. We strangle each other, we use a hammer, a knife, poison, a gun and you name it. Our ability to think up  deadly ways to kill another human appears to be unlimited. But mostly we use guns.

It was a gun that killed all those people in Las Vegas. Bullets from a gun.

True, except in rare circumstances, it does require a human to pull the trigger.  Otherwise, the gun just sits there as benign as a tooth brush.

But wait, let’s consider the tooth brush.

I mean, let’s say I get so angry with you that I want to kill you or something snaps in my brain and I want to kill you . If all I have in my hand is a tooth brush and I point it at you and pull backward on the bristle, you will walk away without a scratch.

But if  I have a loaded gun and pull the trigger, you may drop dead instantly.  I was the “agent” that put the gun in play but it was the gun that killed you.

LaPierre and I agree that to the extent we can identify potential human “killers” (those mentally ill for instance)  steps should be taken to prevent them from pulling a trigger.

But what about others who can’t readily be so identified?

Shouldn’t we take reasonable steps to control use of the second half of the deadly equation – the gun itself?

For instance, let’s toughen the requirements for background checks on gun buyers.

Polling released by the liberal Center for American Progress found that 83 percent of gun owners nationally support criminal background checks on all sales of firearms, while only 14 percent of gun owners oppose them. There is strong bipartisan agreement on the issue, with 90 percent of Democrat and 81 percent of Republican gun owners in support of background checks. Additionally, 72 percent of NRA members support them.

But LaPierre who has given only grudgingly support for background checks said two years ago that it is an “absolute fallacy” that tougher “checks” are needed.

And as far as any restrictions on the type of gun itself, why LaPierre is unequivocally opposed to any meaningful restriction on their sale. Not on so-called “cop killer” bullets, not on a tougher restriction on the sale of “silencers,” not on reinstatement of the lapsed ban on the sale of assault rifles (the kind used in the Vegas and other recent mass killings).

Hunters do  not need such military assault rifles to kill dear or elk or, for that matter, African Lions. Such weapons are made to kill human beings but LaPierre argues that to ban them is a slippery slope toward the banning and confiscation of all firearms.

Nonsense.

But he seems convinced that any move to keep them out of the hands of private citizens is an impermissible infringement on the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

Let’s look at that Amendment and what motivated the Founders who wrote the Constitution to believe it important.

The Founders had just come through a bloody, bitter war with the British. They won that war not with a standing army – the Colonists had none to begin with – but with citizen-soldiers who brought their own muskets, augmented with canon and some other types of weapons to form an army.

The Founders thought that repelling future attack from abroad as well as the need to turn back a domestic insurrection might well also require the mobilization of citizen-soldiers who would have to bring their own, personal weapons once again. How, do we know this was the Founder’s motive?

Read the beginning of the 2nd Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

The founders did not say something like “Citizen needs for hunting or personal security in their houses or on the streets or for recreational or any other purpose…..”

No, they wrote “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State (Itals added) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

And what did they think was “Arms?”  Muskets, muzzle loaders, percussion cap pistols, in short the weapons with which they were familiar. But today, the word “Arms” applies to machine guns, assault rifles of every kind, hand grenades, rockets, and by extension weapon systems like the “Stinger Missile” system, designed to bring down aircraft. The Atomic Cannon?

Does anyone in their right mind think that the Founders had they known about those weapons  would have written words that would allow any private citizen to buy and possess a Stinger Missile system?

Yes, my friends, people pull the trigger and to the extent in a free society we can find and curtail them from doing so in a harmful way, well and good. But the triggers are on guns and without them, fare fewer people would die.

Last year, 15,079 Americans died from gun violence. We could just accept the deaths.

Or we can take additional steps to curtail the indiscriminate and wanton use of firearms by people who evidence suggests shouldn’t have them and with weapons that are more powerful than necessary for ordinary, peaceful use.

(1) In order to weigh my own motive for writing this article, readers should know that Wayne LaPierre twice urged the management of ABC News to fire me.

He said I was not “unbiased” as a reporter should be when it came to publicly taking sides in the fight over “gun control.” He cited the fact that on two occasions I had acted as Master of Ceremonies for a dinner of the Brady Foundation, an organization which supports gun control.

I was standing five and a half feet away from John Hinckley, Jr., when he shot Ronald Reagan and three other people, one of whom was James Brady, Reagan’s press secretary.

And LaPierre is right. Although I tried to keep by views out of my work as a straight reporter,  I was happy as an individual to show my support for Brady and his Foundation’s objective.

And I make no apology for doing that.

 

 

Leadership 101

Once in awhile if we are lucky, we run across someone who exemplifies the standards of Leadership we all seek.

Someone who says “follow me” and the path taken is forward into the light, into a world of decency, respect for others, freedom from base and cruel conduct.  A leader worth following.

Such a person is Lt. General Jay Silveria, a 1985 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, now the Academy’s Superintendent.

Recently, racial slurs were found written on the doors of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School.

Gneral Silveria stepped forward to deliver a message to the Academy’s student body. It was simple, understandable and powerful.

The message was, if you can’t treat others with decency and respect “you need to get out.”

Here is the link from the Washington Post of the video of General Silveria’s speech. I urge you to watch it.

http:/wapo.st/2xC0gya

I do not know General Silveria. I’ve never met him except through the brief speech he delivered. Watching and listening to him, I feel I know him and would willingly and gladly follow him as a Leader.

Don’t you wish that Donald J Trump was such a leader. Don’t you wish he had delivered such a speech against racism and intolerance rather than tell us there are “good people on both sides?”

And if the President of the United Statwes can’t, won’t deliver such a speech I beseech him to follow General Silveria’s advice and Get Out!

The New Civil War: Part One – Judge Moore vs. James Madison

I’ve contended for years that our Country is engaged in a new Civil War. Not over slavery; for most Americans the issue of slavery is settled and settled correctly.

But other disagreements of who we are as a peoples, as a nation, what we stand for  and what rights of the individual are  paramount over the rights of the State and so forth have divided is into new Blue and Gray camps.

From time to time I want to talk about such issues. Today, the issue is one of Religion in America.

Religion has always played a big part in the lives of most Americans. But, until recently, religious and secular matters have been kept separate.

One  has gone to one’s House of Worship for guidance in matters of  faith in God and a religious code of morals and spiritual life and gone to a civil court in matters of secular law and  matters of agreed on peaceful co-existence hammered out through human trial and error over time, not Religious Gospel..

Today, however, many people are contending that Religion -their Religion – should override, even supplant, civil law and everyone should live according to its commandments.

Enter Judge Roy Moore, once Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Judge, now Alabama’s Republican party nominee for a seat in the United States Senate.

He is most controversial. Why, is summed up in a Washington Post op-ed piece by Stephan Stromberg:

“As the chief of the Supreme Court of Alabama, he rejected federal court orders based on his apparent view that his personal religious convictions superseded the nation’s civil law. Moore’s refusal to distinguish the public interest from his private agenda was a brazen assault on the country’s core institutions, the likes of which even Trump has not matched. Civilized people do not get to decide which court rulings they follow. Moore’s empowerment will encourage zealotry and lawlessness.

Clearly Moore wants his religion – Christianity – not only to guide his personal life but your personal life. Moore believes this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote and ratified the Constitution, the guiding framework of principles under which we are all supposed to live.

Well, if the Founers intention was to make this a “Christian” nation, why didn’t they say so? They wrote the document.

Instead, what they wrote is plain to those who understand and speak the English language. They wrote in the First Amendment to the Constitution as one of the five freedoms guaranteed to us in that Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

James Madison who wrote the 1st  Amendment was a Christian and he could have written “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion except for the Christian religion.  But he didn’t.

Clearly, the intent is to ensure that you can practice your religion and I can practice my religion (and those who choose to practice no religion) can do so free from Government interference or preference (unless, of course, my religion commands me to do something such as cutting off your head in which case the civil law will call it illegal murder and step in to stop me).

Judge Moore doesn’t care about what the 1st Amendment says . He says his God is supreme and he says his God’s teachings must govern us all.

Okay, Judge Moore. Let’s suppose I say my God teaches that firearms are instruments of human misery and destruction and the 2nd Amendment should be disregarded. Okay? You get to decide which parts of the Constitution you’ll live by and I and everyone else gets to decide which parts we’ll live by?

Is that what they taught you in law school Judge Moore?

We can not and must not tell Roy Moore what God he should believe in and whose teachings he should follow. But the rest of us must not allow Roy Moore to force us to follow his God’s teachings.

That’s what the 1st Amendment is all about; that’s what America has been all about and has stood this Country is good stead since our Founding.

We must continue to welcome people who follow any religion of peace and tolerance but anyone who tries to make us all governed by their personal,particular religious creed must be fiercely resisted.

If this is part of our new Civil War – and it is -bring it on!

 

The Coward vs. The Hero

Donald J Trump rages (once again) against John S McCain III as Republican Senator Susan Collins joins Republican Senators McCain and  Rand Paul in announcing she will vote against the latest proposal to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Her vote, a third “No” vote when Republicans can afford to lose only two,  would  seal the doom of the Repeal effort, thus saving millions of financially struggling Americans from being stripped of their Health Insurance.

Is it chivalry that causes Trump to attack McCain rather than Collins, a woman? Oh, no, we know how Trump feels about women, treats them, speaks about them. demeans them and disrespects them.

No, it is because in his heart of hearts, Donald J Trump knows that he was a coward during Vietnam, obtaining the necessary deferments from serving in the military and risking personal danger while John S McCain III, a naval aviator, was a hero being tortured in an enemy prison.

In our heart of hearts we all know who we are. And we strike out at those who, by being better than we, shame us.

But now that it appears the stake has finally been driven through the heart of the heartless effort to deprive millions of health insurance, Trump must rage against someone.

After all, he promised his voters that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act (promised that at least 66 times) and replace it with one that covered all Americans at cheaper cost. A fantasy akin to the promise that in eight years he would totally eliminate the national debt (by increasing spending on the military while reducing taxes?).

Trump had his staff put together some of McCain’s past video statements in support of “Obamacare” repeal and yesterday morning he tweeted:

@realDonaldTrump

A few of the many clips of John McCain talking about Repealing & Replacing O’Care. My oh my has he changed-complete turn from years of talk!

True, McCain has been for Repeal. But he says only  after careful study of a Replacement that does not, like the present “quickie” proposal, throw millions of Americans off their Health Insurance.

Certainly, anyone can change their mind and explain their change. Trump, himself, has changed his past view about Health Care. And he was asked to explain that change during a GOP debate in 2015 by reporter Bret Bair.

 Brier: “Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on health care. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren’t you for it now?

Trump: “First of all, I’d like to just go back to one (a previous question). In July of 2004, I came out strongly against the war with Iraq, because it was going to destabilize the Middle East. And I’m the only one on this stage that knew that and had the vision to say it. And that’s exactly what happened.”

WHAT? That’s the answer to why the change on Health Care?

Oh, well, who knows how Trump might have explained his shift on “single payer” if he had actually answered the question asked?

But then, unlike MCCain, Trump is not a man of fixed principles except one: His own self glorification, his need to “win,” his need to belittle and “beat” anyone who gets in his way.

And so now he lashes out at a man the overwhelming majority of the public calls a hero. A hero dying of brain cancer.

 You would think that if anyone might be upset, even angry about McCain’s decision to vote against the latest GOP Repeal Bill of “Obamacare” it would be the co-authors of the bill, particularly  one of them , Senator Lindsay Graham, who considers McCain his best friend.

But, no, upon hearing that Trump had attacked McCain for his decision to vote against the latest bill,  Graham had this to say last night on CNN:

“John if you’re listening … nobody respects you more than I do. So to any American who’s got a problem with John McCain’s vote, all I can tell you is that John McCain was willing to die for this country, and he can vote any way he wants to, and it doesn’t matter to me in terms of friendship.”

So, we’re back to that.

Donald J Trump vs. John S McCain III.

In this match, Shakespeare  got it right: “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.”

Go in peace John McCain.

As for Trump, please just go.