keeping up

Over the last few weeks, President Donald Trump has said and done a lot of things. Many of these ideas are ones that my students and members of the community have been discussing, and people have asked me about. Some are good ideas. Others are bad ideas.

Good Idea: Military Parades. This might shock you that I would think this was a good idea. The Military Times reports that 89% oppose such an idea. And there is a chance that this could look like the showy spectacles that Soviet Union used to put on in Red Square, or that North Korea does on a regular basis. A conservative student of mine, who served in the armed forces, thinks that while some vehicles could be used, having heavy tanks and treads would ruin the urban roads, costing lots of money that could be spent on veterans and VA hospitals.

But I think it would be a good idea to honor our servicemen and women. Other democratic countries like France have such parades. But it should include the veterans who served our country, showing our support for them as well. And it definitely should not be hijacked by politicians for political reasons.

Bad Idea: Saying The Opposition Party Engaged In Treason By Not Clapping During The State Of The Union. Here’s what President Trump said to a crowd in Cincinnati after his State of the Union Address. “They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘treasonous.’ I mean, Yeah, I guess why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much.” Trump later said that he was “joking.” But Trump clearly leveled a charge against Democrats that carries the penalty of death in this country, for merely doing what Republicans did during Obama’s State of the Union Addresses, minus the “You lie!” yell.

It’s not only a political wrong, but a moral wrong as well to call for another’s death. At some point, people have to stop making excuses for Trump. “He didn’t know any better.” “He didn’t mean it.” “Can’t you take a joke?” Allowing such incendiary comments is grooming the United States for authoritarianism, and assassination attempts like the one that severely wounded U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and left several people dead in Tucson, Arizona.

Good Idea: Supporting The Syrian Kurds. Trump is backing the Syrian Kurds, doing more than Obama did for them in his terms. And the Kurds responded by helping beat ISIS on the ground, teaming up with some U.S. military advisers. Now this same group is under attack by Turkish dictator Erdogan. The Trump Administration has called upon Turkey to stop attacking our best allies against ISIS. He should do a little more for Kurdish allies in the war on terrorism, defending against such attacks (our generals on the ground agree) and maybe relent on that “Muslim ban” to let in some Kurdish refugees fleeing these assaults.

Bad Idea: Saying You’d Love To See A Government Shut Down. “Let’s have a shutdown,” Trump said while discussing immigration laws. “We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.” Knowing that such remarks could well cost the GOP their Congressional majority, Republicans caved to the Democrats on a number of budget matters. Individual GOP congressmen and congresswomen called out the president for such remarks, remembering how Newt Gingrich lost on government shutdowns by calling for them. The best news was announced by GOP Senator David Perdue about a bipartisan commission to draft legislation to stop all of these fiscal cliffs and budget shutdowns for political gain. If the reform is truly bipartisan, it will be a major achievement.

###
Image: Donald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey (CC/Flickr).
John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.