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Ghosts Of History: Why America Recoils From Donald Trump

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Ghosts Of History: Why America Recoils From Donald Trump


The revulsion evoked by Donald Trump as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland goes far beyond his speech, which was memorable only for its angry mood, not its vapid content. What repelled so many Americans in that moment was the realization — or simply the intuition — that the candidate of the Grand Old Party in 2016 is a living repudiation of every hope, every principle, and nearly every word that made this country great.

 Imagine for a moment what George Washington might have felt in observing the personage of Trump, whose vanity, prevarication, and rage are so opposed to the modesty and restraint that the first president personified. It is impossible to conceive of Washington proclaiming that only he could solve the country’s problems, or insisting that he had never been wrong, or making any of the audacious boasts emitted by the Republican nominee whenever he opens his braying mouth.

Washington refused to accept a crown, leaving office voluntarily so that the new nation could find its way toward a democratic succession. His country’s future was far more important to him than his own aggrandizement. Of Trump, nobody can honestly say that.

 To Washington, Trump’s vengeful and bloodthirsty attitude toward the nation’s enemies, real or perceived, would be as loathsome as his monumental narcissism. The seasoned general who led the American revolution — against the overwhelming force of the British empire — refused to imitate the brutal practices of the imperial army, rejecting the mass executions, torture, and mutilation that were then so common in warfare. He ordered that any Continental soldier who abused a British or Hessian soldier be punished severely, and commanded that every prisoner be treated humanely. He would have detested Trump’s vow to imitate the most barbaric conduct of the criminal Islamic State as well as his vile promise to murder the families of alleged terrorists.

 Listening to Trump assume the leadership of the Republican Party, a degrading event compared to death by many Republicans, inevitably brought thoughts of that party’s founding president. While Abraham Lincoln remains among this country’s most revered leaders and always will, he is naturally despised by many of Trump’s most ardent supporters, especially those who still lurk in the remnants of the Ku Klux Klan.

 Beyond the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, what Americans remember most about Lincoln was a brief address whose most indelible lines — “With malice toward none, with charity for all” — could never be comprehended, let alone uttered, by someone like Trump. For if there is anyone who literally embodies malice, both personal and political, it is this bullying braggart. He would not “bind up the nation’s wounds,” as Lincoln died trying to do, but delights in inflicting pain on the defenseless, the crippled, and the weak.

The third American titan whose shadow loomed over Trump’s triumph is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose creative government rescued the country from Depression and the world from Nazism. The crude promotion of fear in nearly every line of Trump’s convention speech is precisely the opposite of Roosevelt’s injunction in his famous first inaugural address, when he said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That same message lifted the nation through the searing challenge of the Second World War, when harbingers of evil and their dupes, both at home and abroad, predicted that American democracy lacked the strength to endure. Now only our chronic historical amnesia allows Trump to scream “America First,” the name of a movement that sought to undermine this country’s resistance to fascism, and was secretly subsidized by the Nazis for that purpose. 

Like Washington and Lincoln, FDR would have regarded Trump and all that surrounds him as abhorrent.

 It is not that any of these presidents was perfect, or that America has adhered in every hour to the ideals they tried to uphold. We know that they, and this country, veered too often from those aspirations, to say the least. But we now confront the rise of an authoritarian pretender who admires despotism and abandons fundamental principles, a political figure whose character is so deficient that his candidacy mocks our history. The only way to honor what is best in our heritage, to deliver what we owe to our ancestors and our heirs, is to defeat him in November with resounding force.

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. Stuart July 22, 2016

    Let’s see, after eight years of Hillary, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Bobby’s grandson, will be 43 — about the right age. I’ll be 78, and seeing another Kennedy in office into my mid-80s, I could die happy.

    1. Joyce July 23, 2016

      I figure after eight years of a woman in office, it’s time for gay rights to move forward with the first openly gay president. I say openly gay because there are rumors about President Buchanan.

      1. charleo1 July 23, 2016

        Not to throw water on the possibilities of electing minorities being a good thing, and indicative of a healthy, and advanced society. But I believe we owe it to our Country to elect the best most qualified people available. More for the content of their character, than anything else they might coincidently be.

        1. Joyce July 23, 2016

          I couldn’t agree with you more!

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 22, 2016

    The early leaders in America would be hard-pressed to understand the nature of Trump’s illness.

    It’s as though Trump and his legions of sycophants came from an alternate universe where vice is acceptable, crude behavior is normal while comportment is a sign of weakness, lying is preferable to honesty, shouting is more acceptable than normal measured speech, paranoia is the standard to aspire to rather than equanimity, pretending to be religious is OK, but when no one is looking one is expected to let their dark side have free rein, greed is highly prized whereas poverty is seen as disgusting and a sign of having lost the race to acquire, race-baiting and demeaning others because of skin color/ethnicity is the preferred form of relaxation, insincerity is carefully groomed, narcissism is a virtue, religious bigotry is OK to cultivate rather than seeing that all religions emanate from the same Source, ad nauseam.

    A disturbing alternate universe, indeed!

    1. Charles Winter July 24, 2016

      What you speak of is precisely the sort of mob rule that our founders feared.

      They were far from perfect, but they understood human nature and frailty.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 24, 2016

        Totally agree with your assessment.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 22, 2016

    On another note, we must look at the Trump phenomenon as part of a combination forces that have accelerated ever since the mid-19th Century.

    Shoghi Effendi, one of the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith provided prescient insights of the early stages of the unraveling of affairs in America and elsewhere in the world in a letter while residing in Palestine in 1938.

    The following is an excerpt from that letter:

    ““The vitality of men’s belief in God,” Bahá’u’lláh has testified, “is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?” “The world is in travail,” He has further written, “and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly.”
    This menace of secularism that has attacked Islám and is undermining its remaining institutions, that has invaded Persia, has penetrated into India, and raised its triumphant head in Turkey, has already manifested itself in both Europe and America, and is, in varying degrees, and under various forms and designations, challenging the basis of every established religion, and in particular the institutions and communities identified with the Faith of Jesus Christ. It would be no exaggeration to say that we are moving into a period which the future historian will regard as one of the most critical in the history of Christianity.
    Already a few among the protagonists of the Christian Religion admit the gravity of the situation that confronts them. “A wave of materialism is sweeping round the world”; is the testimony of its missionaries, as witnessed by the text of their official reports, “the drive and pressure of modern industrialism, which are penetrating even the forests of Central Africa and the plains of Central Asia, make men everywhere dependent on, and preoccupied with, material things.”

    It’s up to each individual to consider the above using her or his own rational faculties, and not for me to dictate what you should make of this. Independent investigation is the hall-mark of an educated and mature individual, not dictatorial pronouncements from paid talking-heads.

    1. charleo1 July 23, 2016

      One of the biggest detriments to addressing many of mankind’s most chronic vexations, famine, disease, war, environmental contamination, and ignorance. Has been this idea that this World is not our home. That in the end, we are not writing our own story, and so are not responsible for what happens. And need not look for solutions, because the ultimate answers lie in the supernatural, the stars, or the mystic powers of the netherworld. The idea that we as people need not worry, or question. That, “He,” has a plan. Whoever, or whatever that all knowing, omnipotent being, has been characterized to be. Too often the, “true believers,” are satisfied to wait for answers. As tyrants cloaked in religious garb, spouting religious text, have imposed enormous carnage, and harm on the World.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 23, 2016

        Charles, this has to be one of your finest, most eloquent posts yet. I wish this post could be duplicated on every right wing thread in the country. It would certainly have their brains roiling. Thank you!

        1. charleo1 July 23, 2016

          You’re welcome, Eleanor. And thank you!

      2. The lucky one July 23, 2016

        Amen, well said.

      3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 23, 2016

        That’s an excellent observation and one I would like to elaborate on because it is a crux of what ails all of humanity. Later tonight I hope to present what may expand on your keen insight.

      4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 23, 2016

        OK, I’m back.
        Trump serves a purpose, though he’s completely ignorant of it, to provide a focal point to show how far adrift Americans are from the teachings of both Judaism and Christianity. The support he has garnered serve as metrics of the depths of despair the generality of Americans have sunk to—again, Trump serves as a most appropriate example, followed very closely by the GOP as a whole, of how we all in the US have strayed from a path previously laid out by Jesus, and more importantly by God from whom all the Messengers(Buddha, Krishna, Native American Prophets, Muhammad, and countless other Divine Teachers).
        Each Religion’s Prophets has in various melodies have impressed on Their followers the responsibility each individual has to improve her or his character and aspire through rational thought and faith to ascertain the truth of any matter.

        Unfortunately, members of the Clergy in each Dispensation, became corrupted as a result of being human, just as the rest of us are susceptible to corruption. It’s then that the Religion has to be renewed. One result has been a “corruption” of the Text to the point that the clerics couldn’t be united among themselves as to how to apply the Teachings, which led to diverse schools of thoughts in the way of sects which diverged from one another, each with his own way of applying Religion.
        We see the results of the damage of such diverging opinions in all the Religions prior to the Baha’i Faith because they lacked a “Lesser Covenant” to establish what the standard should be and which would have prevented dissension and divisions.

        God, that unknowable Essence who stands outside of human definitions and comprehension, and who is neither Male, Female, Androgynous, or any similar human limitation, has set in motion a new Pattern—one that has a clearly defined Lesser Covenant written in Arabic by Baha’u’llah entitled “The Kitab-i-Ahd”(Book of the Covenant) which adumbrates an Administrative Order based outlining Who the Standard is, namely Abdu’l Baha, who in turn named in a special document who the Baha’is should turn to after his passing, namely Shoghi Effendi; in the event of Abdu’l Baha’s passing. SInce Shoghi Effendi didn’t have the opportunity to designate one to whom the Baha’is should turn to for guidance and as a standard to look to, Baha’u’llah had anticipated this possibility, by stating in a volume called the Kitab-i-Aqdas, that a body of nine called the Universal House of Justice should be elected democratically by delegates(members of national Baha’i administrative bodies(again composed of 9 people).

        This level of guidance is absent in previous Religions for some unknown reason—maybe because such a level of guidance would have been inappropriate for earlier humans to properly implement.

        This lack of clear uninterrupted guidance is why Islam is falling apart and has opened the way for jihadists and Islamic fundamentalists to flourish; and for groups like the KKK, Nazis, the Spanish Inquisition, led to the creation of a huge split in Christianity resulting in Protestant and Catholic categories, and paved the way for subsequent conflicts between the two, and similar breakdowns.

        This lack of guidance and the attendant confusion by the clergy is why such divisiveness regarding race, skin color, ethnic bigotries, etc. have risen to such ascendancy as to threaten the very fabric and foundation of America.

        Trumpism is a flawed concept full of deception, hate, fear, narcissism, and egoism, and is promoted and accentuated by a very flawed person who clearly lacks a connection with the ideals of Christianity in particular, and with the purpose of God most of all.

        Since there are no clergy in the Baha’i Faith, but administrative bodies of 9 members serving as sources of guidance rather than a single individual, my comments are my own and are not intended to be seen as official. Your independent investigation must ascertain the veracity of what I said, plus fill in missing gaps in my “narrative”.

        Sorry for being long-winded but these themes I’ve presented ihelp explain why America is submerged in chaos, and why Trump is so flawed in character and in his perceptions.

        1. charleo1 July 24, 2016

          Very informative, and demonstrates an extraordinary knowledge of the World’s various religions. You’ve obviously either thought about this at lot, and find it very interesting. Or have studied the subject at length for vocational reasons. Either way, I believe you’re coming to some very astute conclusions that account for the continued decline of organized religion. As well as the rise of secularism as the preferred foundation of the more advanced, and better educated societies. And the more religious minded within those societies responding to that, by attempting to essentially drag their respective societies in both the East, and West, backward into a time of a more general ignorance, In order that the mystic, and hegemonic elements that organized religion relies upon for survival, be more readily and widely accepted by the masses. In fact, the rise of radical Islamic terrorism can be explained in part as a reaction to the rejection of the more fanatical sects of organized Islam that has taken place in the most influential, and modern countries in the Muslim World. Particularly I’m thinking of Saudi Arabia, and Iran. But there are others, Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia, where the elements of both Worlds, the intrusion of the modern, seeking to replace the staid, and stern traditional. have collided most profoundly. Where the concepts of secularism are making huge inroads in what are very youthful societies.

          We also see definite elements of this in our own politics here. The Right’s political alliances with more virulent, and militant Christian factions. That see the twin insurgencies of secularism, and Socialism as scourges to be dealt with harshly. Which they view from their perch, as the State’s malevolent intrusion into their traditional role in society of disbursing charity to the downtrodden. Which they view as proof of the government’s and the liberal Left’s clear intent to undermine Church authority, and thereby replace God as the source of sanctuary. It’s easy to get longwinded, isn’t it? Suffice to say a great post on your part. One I very much enjoyed reading.

          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 24, 2016

            Thanks—I try. The breakdown of Religion has always started with the Clergy, or in the case of Pharoah and Nimrod, with their high priests who were in charge of the idols. Muhammad was confronted by secular idolators who were the leaders in Mecca and Medina, as well as the clerics of Judaism and Christianty in the Hijaz region and by those in Byzantium.

            Later, clerics within Islam, such as Abdu’l Wahhab, repeated the pattern of splitting up Religion along ideological lines, which has corrupted Saudi Arabia to the extent we see today. Not all Muslim clerics there have fallen completely under the spell, but they have to be quiet and observe wisdom so as not to antagonize those higher up.

            There’s a lot of baggage that needs to get thrown out, both over there and here in America, but it’s going to have to take place in a manner that’s smooth, gradual, and seamless.

            If you haven’t seen the latest New Yorker(7/25/16), pg 20 provides wonderful insights into the many demons that plague our good buddy, Trump. Trump’s ghostwriter for “The Art of the Deal” wrote the piece.

    2. Charles Winter July 24, 2016

      Jesus was a prophet of life. Christianity has been a death cult, promising “pie in the sky when you die (that’s a lie).” Joe Hill.

  4. Dominick Vila July 23, 2016

    What came to my mind as I listened to Trump’s nomination speech was the speech delivered by Richard Nixon. Conspicuous by their absence were specific proposals to overcome the challenges we face, and a message of hope and confidence. The entire speech was focused on self adulation, hatred, and a projection of doom and gloom that contrasts with the realities that surround us.
    The fact that millions of Americans agree with him, and think his speech was wonderful, does not surprise me. Differences of opinions and values exist in every country in the world, and we are not an exception to that rule. What remains to be seen is how far they are willing to go, if they are allowed to pursue their goal to take us back to an era that should be confined to the annals of history, and used as a lessons learned.

    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 23, 2016

      Trump’s theme of “America First”, which has derived from American Exceptionalism as conservatives now define it, is indeed troubling and has ominous overtones.
      Any nation in the world today that places so much emphasis on their own status and uniqueness, and who have the means to project power globally and assert themselves over weaker nations and peoples is a tragedy ready to happen.

      1. Dominick Vila July 23, 2016

        I still hope that the incendiary rhetoric, including threats and insults, does not represent the opinion and values that most Americans embrace, and that it is limited to a relatively small, but vociferous and determined minority.

      2. Joyce July 23, 2016

        Yep. Trump would lead us into WWIII! How do we get these people to understand who he really is?

        1. 99rider July 23, 2016

          I don’t believe we can get them to understand anything. These are the people with the famous short term memories who won’t remember any of this clearly two years from now. Republicans know this about their base and openly speak of it whenever something goes wrong for a Republican.

        2. Charles Winter July 24, 2016

          We need to remind people about how Trump has stiffed workers, imported immigrant workers (whom he then stiffed), and imported all his stuff from cheap labor in Asia.

          Check the country of origin on his “Make America Great” caps.

          1. Joyce July 24, 2016

            They don’t listen. These right wingers are drinking the Trump Kool aid and blind to the obvious. As a side note, my husband was the lawyer who pulled the short straw and had to go after Trump to get him to pay his bill on leased equipment. He knows personally that dealing with Trump was not easy or fun. In other words, I know second hand that the guy is a real horse’s ass who will stiff the American people if given the chance. I’ll try to work sense into the those who are not under his strong hold.

        3. Belmondo July 25, 2016

          You can’t until after the fact. He’s just a mirror reflecting back there thoughts and feelings. You think Hitler got to power and did what he did all by himself?

    2. Eleanore Whitaker July 23, 2016

      I didn’t hear his speech. I refuse to waste what remains of my life on pure trash like Trump. It’s enough my state is covering his butt on the bankruptcies he incurred closing those casinos.

      I think the right wing today is far less powerful than they pretend to be. As for Millions following Trump, once you take a good, long look at his supporters, you see it is exactly as Republican Former NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman stated about Trump: “He’s the world’s greatest salesman.”

      1. 99rider July 23, 2016

        Con’s use a tactic made famous by Confederates in the civil war. They march in circles making as much noise as possible in an attempt to intimidate the enemy into believing their numbers are greater than they really are. They have had tremdous luck with this tactic for decades. The problem for them now is that there is nolonger adequate cover for them to hide under and everyone can see them marching in those circles.

        1. CrankyToo July 24, 2016

          I love that post! (And I’m a Georgia boy.)

        2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 24, 2016

          Wonderful post!!

          Also, “Con’s” and “Confederates” is an appropriate comparison.

          The communal cry across the South that “The South shall rise again” appears to have come true, but who would have thought that the hope for that sentiment would be fulfilled by the Conservative Party.

    3. CrankyToo July 23, 2016

      Q: What’s a candidate to do when he has no viable, moral, responsible, beneficial or hopeful policy positions to enunciate?

      A: Demagogue.

  5. Jack Hughes July 23, 2016

    Great essay. A little historical context is useful because the success of an utterly vacuous political scam artist like Trump has no precedent at the national level.

    1. 99rider July 23, 2016

      Huey P. Long comes close, but he died before getting there.

  6. charleo1 July 23, 2016

    It’s appalling how dark one’s perception of the World must be, and the staggering simplemindedness required in believing that Trump alone, of all people, is the only light available. I believe it’s what remains of the critical thought process when one’s center core has been torn away, and obliterated. When a person’s belief in everything tangible, and real, has been cast out. The only thing left to hold onto in that dim shadowy place is a mystical fantasy. A whimsical childhood like vision if you will. Of a noble White Knight riding down from on high out of nowhere, on an enchanted escalator, to magically save the day. Are there any adults left in Conservative America to wake this child and explain it was all only a bad dream? We shall see.

    1. Charles Winter July 24, 2016

      Excellent, thoughtful response.

    2. Belmondo July 25, 2016

      You just basically described what a narcissist is.

      1. charleo1 July 25, 2016

        I liked the article, and it’s very likely close to the mark. The problem is, it only works with those who believe in book learning, and science. What is needed to dishonor Trump in the eyes of his enthralled supporters, is to unearth some kind of example, or situation, where he’s caught red handed being a decent person.

  7. Stephan Alan Sonn July 23, 2016

    The Creatins would be Kings.

  8. Joyce July 23, 2016

    Although I agree with most of the article, I have fault with the inclusion of Roosevelt. He refused to let the St. Louis boat doc on American shores. This was a group of Jews trying to escape concentration camps. Everyone aboard that ship died because FDR would not let them become Americans. Roosevelt was not a different animal than Trump.

    1. CrankyToo July 23, 2016

      Did you really mean to say, “Roosevelt was not a different animal than Trump.”?

      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 23, 2016

        Joyce clearly only sees everything through the prism of Judaism. Sadly, she needs to start having an open mind about the use of white phosphorus bombs in Gaza. If Israelis and Netanyahu do not consider this the same type of chemical warfare they claim Saddam Hussein has used on his own people, I’d love to hear Joyce’s excuse.

        And before she dares to deny it, here is the link on Wikipedia, which I am sure she will find some way to claim is biased: https://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Israeli_military_confirms_the_use_of_white_phosphorus_bombs_in_the_Gaza_Strip

        1. Joyce July 23, 2016

          So let me get this straight. You are saying that because Israel has been at odds with Gaza, the Nazis had the right to murder Jews before Israel even existed?

          You are clearly looking through the eyes of an antisemitic and condemning an entire group of people world wide to death because of anything connected to Israel.

          1. Charles Winter July 24, 2016

            Not everyone who criticizes the actions of israel’s government is an antisemite. The current government is dedicated to total sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza. (Check the charter of the Likud Party.)

          2. Joyce July 24, 2016

            True, but after posting this . . .

            “Although I agree with most of the article, I have fault with the inclusion of Roosevelt. He refused to let the St. Louis boat dock on American shores. This was a group of Jews trying to escape concentration camps. Everyone aboard that ship died because FDR would not let them become Americans. Roosevelt was not a different animal than Trump.”

            [Okay. I admit FDR and Trump are not the same, but Trump’s desire to keep Syrians out of our country–which could lead to their murder–is in line with what FDR did, and the reason for my comment.]

            After posting this, Eleanore immediately attacked me (and defended murdering Jews) due to Israel. The discussion was not about Israel, but rather Jews being murdered due to FDR’s actions (or inactions) and how it relates to what Trump wants to do to the Syrian refuges. The issues of the Holocaust and modern day Israel are unrelated, especially since Israel didn’t even exist at the time of WWII. ONLY an antisemite would defend Jews being murdered by the Nazis with such a comment as the one posted by Eleanore. She is clearly an antisemite, and I suspect you may be one, too, if you’re defending the killing of Jews during the Holocaust because you disagree with Israeli policy in 2016.

            As a side note, I don’t like BB, nor do I agree with everything he does, but that doesn’t matter when we’re talking about murdering people just because they are Jewish, does it?

            Look at the context of my post, will you?

      2. Joyce July 23, 2016

        I guess not. But I am totally disillusioned by Roosevelt’s blatant antisemitism that caused the death of many. Not letting “immigrants fleeing from death” into the country is a definite Trump move.

        1. CrankyToo July 23, 2016

          I think you need to revisit the story of the St Louis. I believe about 75% of those refugees survived the war.

          Moreover, Roosevelt was hard-pressed to offer aid given the isolationist attitudes of most Americans at the time. A mere 20 years after the end of WW I, the country had no appetite for engagement in another European war. He did not want to remain neutral as Europe was devolving into conflagration, but Republicans in Congress insisted on neutrality and tied his hands.

          At bottom, if you don’t believe FDR was one of the best 3 or 4 American Presidents, you’re in the extreme minority.

          1. Joyce July 23, 2016

            I have no doubts that he was a wonderful president, but he was not a friend to the Jews.

          2. 99rider July 23, 2016

            American isolationism was an even stronger force before Pearl Harbor than it is today. I might ad that Isolation was a Conservative cause and big business was making a boat load of money off of Hitlers Germany. Roosevelt had little option because forces were arrayed against him that taking any action to embarrass Hitler would be bad for business. Allowing that boat to land on American soil would have been a direct rebuff of Hitlers Germany, something Roosevelt was aching to do but couldn’t because at that moment in our history Germany was not our enemy, no matter how bad and stupid that thinking was, that rational was a product of Conservate pro-business thinking.

    2. charleo1 July 23, 2016

      Now this was an action Roosevelt himself said in hindsight he deeply regretted. In light of this, do you think it’s fair to define the man, and the President who was so instrumental in destroying those regimes that were responsible for the murders of so many Jews. By a single mistake he made, not in a vacuum, not out of anti-Semitic animus, but for political reasons, before the ultimate fate of those on the ship was known?

    3. Andrew Freeland July 23, 2016

      For that time period, however, he was by far the more progressive. Yes, African-Americans had few rights, there were the Japanese-American interment camps, and this, etc. Remember that there were (and still are) many outright Nazi sympathizers – who wanted nothing to do with attacking Germany. The South was with FDR then; now, they’re the Republican backbone.

  9. Eleanore Whitaker July 23, 2016

    The issue isn’t why Americans recoil from Donald Trump. It is why Americans recoil from demolishing the country for their children.

    The reality is that many American voters know the vote they place today has generational ripple effects. Now really…What American with any sense of honor or integrity would vote for Donald Trump under his current circumstances? Under his past illegalities?

    It is almost as if some Americans were unleased from their mental institutions and are now desperate to prove they and only they own the country.

    When Trump said, “I alone will fix this country,” he proved exactly what his intentions are…First Emperor of the Former United States of America.

    The last time any leader said that was in Nazi Germany. And, as we all know, King George also stated that which was the reason for the American Revolution.

  10. Box July 23, 2016

    Interesting that Washington is dragged into this considering that liberals today are taught that the early people, founders, were terrorists, expounding criminal documents such as the Declaration of Independence. But im glad to see liberals actually enjoying an article that does speak the truth that liberals say is a GOP conspriacy theory, “It is not that any of these presidents was perfect, or that America has adhered in every hour to the ideals they tried to uphold. We know that they, and this country, veered too often from those aspirations, to say the least.” TRUE.

    “Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose creative government rescued the country from Depression…..” Actually, thats debatable. FDRs socialist measures prolonged the Depression. Read the book “New Deal or Raw Deal” and learn things we never knew about that presidency and also how the New Deal continues to this day.

    The article drives home a major point nobody talks about. Half the country believes that huge damage has been done starting with Bush and all the way to today. Its become an overstretched rubber band and the only possible relief in those minds is to swing as far the other direction as possible and thats Trump. Trump the extremist is the only answer to the opposite side of extremes. In any other time, with traditional Democrats and traditional Republicans, there is NO possible way Trump could catch the ear of anyone. After all, look at 2012 and how fast he was bounced. How on earth could he come back and make it this far? Because THATS how far nerves have been stretched since 2012. How far? Trump far. Thats how far.

    The same happened with Nixon which I didnt so well realize until I read this article. Nixon lost in 1960, same as Trump failed in 2012. JFK came as the last true Democrat. He died. LBJ took over and accelerated the war. When the country’s nerves were stretched to the limit, LBJ went on TV and told the nation he was giving up and wouldnt seek reelection. Nixon seized the weak moment and promised to end the war. He won (and though he curtailed the draft he didnt end the war. The war didnt end until after he resigned). The chaos of the 60s beginning with JFKs death, then MLKs death, then RFKs death is being replayed right now in current form. Different times and problems but foundationally the same deal. Trump, like Nixon, shouldnt win but both seized the chaos of, for example, the strong dislike of refugees being answered with “i’ll wipe out them and their families.” One extreme is answered by another extreme and thats what we have. I wont predict a Trump win but if there was ever a time for him, its right now.

    1. CrankyToo July 23, 2016

      “…liberals today are taught that the early people, founders, were
      terrorists, expounding criminal documents such as the Declaration of

      Here’s a piece of advice for you, Dipstick: If you want people to read your dumba$$ diatribes, you should lead with a sentence that is based in reality, not vitriol. Alternatively, you should STFU.

    2. charleo1 July 23, 2016

      Dude! Did you leave any straw men for your rebuttal? Or did you trot them all out at once? Knocking over settled history with the usual RW false equivalencies? Such as the extremely unpopular, and widely debunked Neo-Liberalist theories that FDR’s Keynesian Economics, prolonged the Great Depression, or made it worse. This revisionist history not only ignores the improvements that were most immediate. But also the recession that reappeared in the late 30s, being the direct result of Roosevelt’s agreeing to cutting government supports too soon. Or indeed, that in purely economic terms, the Second World War itself was nothing, if not a giant government spending program. Ending the decades long Worldwide economic contraction, leading to the greatest sustained expansion of economic growth, while creating the American Middle Class. The most populous, and powerful economic engine to ever exist. Doing this while dragging the wealthy industrialist elite, and Plutocratic control freaks kicking, and screaming, still insisting, that even though it was by their commands these economies were driven into insolvency, that they somehow continued to have the better way. And that supposed “better way,” Was none other than the very same way that threw everyone into abject poverty, and hopeless subserviency to themselves in the first place. Now that’s the history, not the propaganda of the 20th century.

    3. Michael Allen July 23, 2016

      Wow. You display some twisted and tortured logic and thinking. Also, when you say something like “Liberals today are taught….” you are painting with very broad strokes.

    4. cpbis July 23, 2016

      You seem like a reasonably intelligent individual. I cannot agree with much of what you state for some of it is entirely false. Example: LBJ who is not a favorite of mine was on the verge of ending the Vietnam war when he called the then presumptive Republican Nixon to inform him of the “deal(s)” he had made with the north Viets and asked that he not say anything to anyone about it until he became president. Nixon failed to adhere to that request and prolonged the war 2 plus years. Today, we are far better off than we were under President Bush the 2nd. Stocks are way up, housing is on better footing by far, the economy is the best in the world and would be far better if the GOP allowed the President to invest in our infrastructure as requested (economists state that we would make nearly $4 for every dollar invested and it would create thousands of jobs (but that is another story), we are once again seen positively across the world compared to the previous administration, a depression was but 4 months away but was stomped dead by Obama who was said by the conservative magazine magnet Forbes to be the most brilliant economic president in modern times. We have to stop creating fear, hate and anger. We are still the very best of countries and doing rather well at this time we do not need to go back to the 1960’s or earlier as some extreme right individuals seem to want. Please, look at all the data and see how dangerous Trump (who did not run in 2012 as you seem to indicate) is! He loves authoritarians like Putin and North Koreas president and speaks highly of Saddam Hussein. He spouts using nuclear weapons and allowing other countries like Japan and China to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. He spouts hatred and fear. That is not the America served and grew up learning about. Hopefully it is not yours either. Thanks for allowing me to go on and on. Believe me I have far more data on the coming presidential elections but this should suffice.

      1. charleo1 July 23, 2016

        I believe you! Thanks for taking the time to leave some of that data here, and explaining it all so nicely!

      2. Doc2222 July 23, 2016

        Very good….well put.

      3. Charles Winter July 23, 2016

        Five stars.

    5. Insinnergy July 23, 2016

      “…considering that liberals today are taught that the early people, founders, were terrorists…”

      LOL. This was all I needed to know about you.
      Anyone who can state that has no idea… and worse.. has no desire to seek out information or attempt to find actual knowledge outside their self-referential echo chamber.

    6. Doc2222 July 23, 2016

      That’s one of the biggest crocks of horse hockie I’ve read in a long time. “…considering that liberals today are taught that the early people, founders, were terrorists…” blah, blah, blah. I don’t know a single liberal who has ever uttered such nonsense. That you have to make up such blarney speaks volumes about the credibility of Republicanism in general.

    7. I of John July 25, 2016


  11. Paul Anthony July 24, 2016

    Now, to be fair and unbiased, compare Washington to Hillary Clinton.

    1. I of John July 25, 2016

      It would be easier to compare her to Eleanor Roosevelt. First of her kind.

  12. I of John July 25, 2016

    so be it

  13. Budjob July 31, 2016

    I,and my family recoil from Donnie boy for one reason,and one reason only,he is a Fascist!


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