My birthday (July 17) has been clouded over the past decades by various calamities and tragedies.
- 1981. The Hyatt skywalks fell in Kansas City. 114 people died.
- 1996. TWA flight 800 explodes over Long Island Sound. 230 people died.
- 1998. Papua New Guinea tsunami killed more than 2200 people.
- 1999. The world woke on July 17 to news of the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
- 2014. Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine. 298 people died.
I don’t think this day is particularly cursed, any more than any other day. But my own natal day perhaps distills may attention a little bit!
This morning, as I lounge in my flat in Vienna, I’ve been watching the world’s reaction to our American president. His unconscionable bloviations in Helsinki yesterday are being reported with utter amazement on BBC, Sky News, CNN, and the French English-language news feed.
And one must wonder: is his treason the beginning of something even more tragic than the one-off events that I associate with my birthday?
Dear Senator Blunt,
Hi. It’s me again.
Do you even care about the damage that this so-called President of the United States is doing to the world order, to progressive democracy, to social institutions, to diplomacy, to the party that you claim to represent?
You are now so complicit in the damage that you must have a hard time sleeping at night.
Let me quote and paraphrase The Atlantic (which I’m betting is not your favorite magazine) —
I am old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon telling lies on TV, about Vietnam in both cases, and Watergate for Nixon. I remember the travails and deceptions of Bill Clinton, and of George W. Bush in the buildup to the disastrous Iraq War.
But never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people.
Trump manifestly cannot help himself. This is who he is.
Those who could do something are the 51 Republican senators and 236 Republican representatives who have the power to hold hearings, issue subpoenas, pass resolutions of censure, guarantee the integrity of Robert Mueller’s investigation, condemn the past Russian election interference, shore up protections against the next assault, and in general defend their country rather than the damaged and defective man who is now its president.
For 18 months, members of this party have averted their eyes from Trump, rather than disturb the Trump elements among their constituency or disrupt the party’s agenda on tax cuts and the Supreme Court. You already bear responsibility for what Trump has done to his office.
But with every hour that elapses after this shocking performance in Helsinki without Republicans doing anything, the more deeply you are stained by this dark moment in American leadership.
When are you going to step up?
Dr. Jeffrey Carter