I sincerely lament what Donald Trump has done to people who used to be respectable Republicans. I used to enjoy listening to them and usually disagreeing with them. They were people with ideas and passions. Now they're empty vessels, unable to take a stand and unwilling to think for themselves. The Emperor has no clothes, but he puts women in their place and he stands up to the dark-skinned people, so maybe naked and stupid is the place to be.
Donald Trump started out as a buffoon in the early debates, then he added in some sexual harassment and then he went full-on bully. The Once-Respectables, eschewing their principles and traditions, figured that maybe he could be their Useful Idiot. He moved on, piling lies on vulgarities, abuses on top of admissions of felonious criminal assault.
As he gathered momentum, the OR's began to shut down parts of their identities, setting their morality aside for the election season (and, eventually, beyond) and suspending disbelief until further notice as visions of tax breaks and environmental rape danced in their heads. People on the other side of the divide couldn't believe what they were seeing. How could they possibly support this guy? He's the most prolific liar ever. He's sexist and racist, a crappy businessman and an admitted felon. Most importantly, how could they reject their long-held principles and suddenly adopt a credo of the ends justify the means, no matter how ugly or even occasionally un-American those means might be?
But support him they did and support him even more, they now do. These once-proud protectors of the doctrine of smaller government and family values will now line up to lick the sweat off The Scoundrel's perineum if he tells them that doing so might give them the Midas touch and help keep brown people at bay.
We have reached a point where, after two years of vehemently denying that he ever took help from a foreign government, he now says that he will happily do so in the next election...and nobody on his side finds anything wrong with that.
Most importantly, we have reached a point where every single one of us knows who and what Donald Trump is and three out of every seven Americans just don't care. We know that Trump will be Trump because why wouldn't he? He's been pampered, lied for, bailed out and sucked up to his entire life. What possible reason could he have for manning up at this late stage of his life? So it falls to his enablers, the radio and TV talk-show hosts who giddily lie for him and the "religious leaders" who rush to forgive him of his sins. And it is the rank-and-file used-to-be-Republicans who keep quiet when they should speak out or shout a co-signing "Yeah!" when they should be shocked into silence. It is they who have the ability to bring America back to decency, but are currently showing absolutely no desire to do so.
It is someone from among their ranks who recently committed an act so egregious and so vulgar that it challenges one's ability to imagine how someone could even think of such a thing, let alone put it into action. And, like most atrocities committed in Trump's name, no one has taken credit nor blame for it.
As you know, when Trump was in Japan recently, someone ordered that the name of the USS John S. McCain (a destroyer named for the late Arizona Senator AND his father and grandfather, both Navy admirals) be covered with a tarp and its sailors were un-invited to an event because they would have worn USS John S. McCain hats. It was an act of indescribable pettiness.
The story first appeared in the Trump-supporting Wall Street Journal (and there was supporting photographic evidence) so the White House couldn't deny it. Let's assume that Trump didn't know about it. (Yeah, right!) That means that the Secretary of the Defense and/or somebody in the Navy covered the names of not one, but three, American heroes so that a draft dodger wouldn't pee his pants. This is what America has sunk to.
Fortunately, just as there is no USS Richard Nixon (never has been and probably never will be), there will never, EVER, be a USS Donald Trump, so future sailors don't have to worry about that. (There are several other presidents who have never had Navy vessels named for them. The list includes Taft, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.)
Jimmy Carter, who is still alive, has a Seawolf class submarine named for him. (He was a nuclear engineer in the Navy as a young man.)
Still, what if there were such a monstrosity? Can you imagine having to be on such a boat? The feds could catch you spying for ISIS, Iran AND North Korea and they'd say, "We can either throw you in a cell at Guantanamo forever or you can serve on the USS Donald Trump. Your choice."
And what kind of ship would that be? It would probably be a garbage scow, but it would tell everybody it was a battleship. It would have big, gaudy guns, but it would only be able to take potshots. And if it were ever in actual combat, it could only go in reverse. ■