Donald Trump campaigned under the slogan "make America great again." The slogan was a lie because what he really meant was that he would bring back right wing white privilege and put "those people" - i.e., blacks, gays, Hispanics, non-Christians - back in their place and as in the imaginary good old days. Sadly, many Republicans who should have know better, understood Trump's real meaning and voted for him anyway, shedding any claim to moral decency in the process. Now, two years into the Trump nightmare, America finds itself the most isolated perhaps since the 1920's or perhaps even prior to WWI. Europeans still like American tourists,. but view our leadership with justified contempt. Meanwhile, the nation's social fabric is being torn apart and the nation's institutions are under daily attack by the demagogue in the White House and his Republican enablers and sycophants. A column by a Washington Post columnist provides a review of Trump's damage to the nation. It's an indictment of Trump, but also of those who continue to support him. Although not specifically mentioned, perhaps the most morally bankrupt are the evangelicals whose support of Trump has stripped them of moral authority on any topic. Here are column excerpts:
There will be no Mount Rushmore for Donald Trump. But, if there's a presidential library, it should contain a Hall of Tweets, a Hall of Lies, a Hall of Insults and, with the "Marines' Hymn" softly playing, a Hall of Montezuma, with a section of his border wall. Finally, there should be a Hall of Consequences, the grandest in the place. No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has mattered as much.Trump has remade the Republican Party. It is no longer the party of Lincoln or Reagan, but increasingly a snarling, sneering collection of score-settlers, white nationalists, immigrant bashers, homophobes, science-deniers and religious reactionaries who praise a president who has lived a squalid personal life but who promised them a Supreme Court in their own image. Trump's GOP may not endure, but for the foreseeable future it reigns supreme.
Trump's dominance of his party is personified by Mitch McConnell. . . . . Trump has personally berated McConnell, but -- unburdened by either pride or principle -- McConnell does what the president wants. He faces re-election next year in a state, Kentucky, whose heart throbs for Trump. Understandably, McConnell fears vilification as a moderate.
In foreign affairs, the Trump presidency has had a huge impact. By fiat, by insult and by a dazzling display of historical ignorance, Trump has diminished the Atlantic alliance which every president since Roosevelt has supported and nourished. The lessons of World War II and of the implosion of the Soviet communist empire -- signal achievements of American involvement and leadership in the affairs of Europe -- are being discarded. . . . . . America may not yet be isolationist, but it is isolated.
Under Trump, the judiciary is being transformed. His judges not only are bitterly conservative but have been deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association at an unprecedented rate. He has vitiated Cabinet and other offices dealing with the environment and natural resources, turning over the grandeur of America to despoilers. Only his appointees' ineptness or sense of grandiosity -- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's $25,000 phone booth, for instance -- has slowed the onslaught. Pruitt did manage to get Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement before he resigned.
But maybe the most damaging is how he has soiled the presidency itself. His incessant lying -- The Washington Post counted 8,459 false or misleading statements as of Feb 3 -- has turned the presidency into a gong show. He sits at the desk of presidents who took the truth seriously, who may have lied on occasion but never routinely. Trump, though, spouts lies like a drunken parrot, with, approximately, similar plumage. He has diminished the importance of truth, making it indistinguishable from lies -- just more noise.
Trump's attacks on the press are vividly demagogic. He has weakened its ability to be believed, to uncover scandal, to hold accountable the otherwise unaccountable. He applies the prefix "fake" to any news he does not like.
He has weakened the FBI, denigrated the CIA, praised Russia's Vladimir Putin and shrugged at the murder of a Post columnist by the Saudis. He is a president out of Orwell, a creature out of Kafka, a nightmare out of the Electoral College.
Will America recover from the Trump era? Not soon, maybe never. The wounds to the environment may never heal. Inept judges serve for life. Our erstwhile European allies will move on, finding their own way, which, we must pray, will not be the old way. The planet will cook and despots will thrive. Bad days are coming.
But maybe the most terrible consequence of all is the growing realization that Trump mined a vein of meanness in the American electorate. We are not the country we once were. . . . . He has not made America greater. Instead, he may have put greatness out of reach.