Will we stop the madness?
PLUS: Why Donald Trump wants Jim Jordan to be speaker of the House
October is settling in. The leaves are exploding in color along the Wasatch Back in Utah, the mornings are dark and cold before yielding to a warm, crisp autumn day. There is only one tumultuous year standing between today and the end stage of the presidential campaign. It will pass quickly.
I was speaking today with a man who has been one of America’s leading political commentators for the last 30 years. He said something, and then caught himself before addressing the absurdity of what had just come out of his mouth. His point contemplated a Trump victory, and he pondered if he would be safe in the United States of America should that happen.
It is absurd, right?
That could never happen here? Correct?
Well, the truth is that I didn’t react to his comments with either derision or laughter. They resonated with me. I told him that I think about it all the time.
This was the undelivered letter of resignation written by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Pay attention to the words that were put to paper by America’s highest ranking military officer:
I regret to inform you that I intend to resign as your Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thank you for the honor of appointing me as senior ranking officer. The events of the last couple weeks have caused me to do deep soul-searching, and I can no longer faithfully support and execute your orders as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is my belief that you were doing great and irreparable harm to my country. I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military. I thought that I could change that. I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, and I need to step aside and let someone else try to do that.
Second, you are using the military to create fear in the minds of the people—and we are trying to protect the American people. I cannot stand idly by and participate in that attack, verbally or otherwise, on the American people. The American people trust their military and they trust us to protect them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and our military will do just that. We will not turn our back on the American people.
Third, I swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States and embodied within that Constitution is the idea that says that all men and women are created equal. All men and women are created equal, no matter who you are, whether you are white or Black, Asian, Indian, no matter the color of your skin, no matter if you’re gay, straight or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew, or choose not to believe. None of that matters. It doesn’t matter what country you came from, what your last name is—what matters is we’re Americans. We’re all Americans. That under these colors of red, white, and blue—the colors that my parents fought for in World War II—means something around the world. It’s obvious to me that you don’t think of those colors the same way I do. It’s obvious to me that you don’t hold those values dear and the cause that I serve.
And lastly it is my deeply held belief that you’re ruining the international order, and causing significant damage to our country overseas, that was fought for so hard by the Greatest Generation that they instituted in 1945. Between 1914 and 1945, 150 million people were slaughtered in the conduct of war. They were slaughtered because of tyrannies and dictatorships. That generation, like every generation, has fought against that, has fought against fascism, has fought against Nazism, has fought against extremism. It’s now obvious to me that you don’t understand that world order. You don’t understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that. It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my letter of resignation.
Here are six questions for you:
Do you believe Donald Trump would lock up his political opponents?
Do you believe Donald Trump would kill a political opponent?
Do you believe Donald Trump would welcome an effort to suspend elections and declare martial law to remain in power and exercise power?
Do you believe Donald Trump would stoke violence to take power?
Do you take Donald Trump seriously when he says he is running for retribution?
Do you believe the American system will survive another Trump presidency?
My answers, in chronological order, are 5 yes’s, and one no.
Here are just two pieces of evidence for my answers:
There is something terrible gathering. It is coming.
So it was the case in 1938 when these words were delivered on the floor of the House of Commons by Winston Churchill after the appeasement in Munich.
Our loyal, brave people... should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defenses; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies:
Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.
Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.
What a turn of phrase. What a judgement, and now it has come to pass that we are found in a new moment, tested again. The signs are very ominous.
Support for arming the Ukrainian forces bravely resisting Russian aggression, war crimes and the abduction of tens of thousands of children is collapsing in the United States. America’s authoritarian movement has rooted itself within the Republican Party, and the party has sided with the authoritarian dictator of Russia against NATO, the EU, and Ukraine. It is stunning, frightening and dangerous. It will be stopped now, or the world will careen towards catastrophe. The question of whether we will be found wanting is at hand.
Are we, or are we not going to stop this madness at the doorstep of our children’s futures?
This is the choice at hand for America and the American people.
And here’s my reaction to Donald Trump’s endorsement of Jim Jordan for speaker of the House:
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