7 June, 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Re: American principles
This is a follow-up on yesterday’s letter, in response to your speech this past weekend to the Southern California Silent Majority in which you are purported to have said, “Finally, we have a president who supports American principles.”
Can we agree on a few of those principles? That “all men are created equal,” for example (women apparently did not count back then)? Can you show me how the president you so much admire supports that principle? It seems to me, from his words and actions, that he regards a vast number of people—immigrants, Muslims, say, and Democrats!—as far from equal. He treats them with disdain. Indeed, he treats even his own senior staff not as equals but as servants. He spurns even Republican Congress members and senators when they fail to worship at his personal altar. Which is probably why they do.
How about the rule of law? An “American principle”? I would have thought so. We boast “a government of laws, not men.” Trump acts as though the law applies to everyone but himself. He runs roughshod over ethics rules where his bottom line is concerned. It’s fine with him, it seems, when his daughter or his son-in-law confuse the roles he has given them (nepotism, anyone?) with their business interests. He treats his high office as a personal fiefdom, issuing decrees like a medieval potentate rather than a servant of the people, caring little, it appears, for their legality.
“E pluribus unum”? A joke. He is the most divisive of presidents. His campaign thrived on the antagonisms he exploited between people, races, classes.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”? He slams America’s door on them. No matter how “extreme” the “vetting,” he rejects those seeking refuge in this country from war, from famine, from internal strife.
Freedom of religion? He seeks to slam America’s door, particularly, on Muslims, whose presence in this country he threatened to ban and whose religion he has freely insulted on too many occasions. Professing piety, he publicly favors one religion at the cost of others.
Good old American self-reliance? Integrity? The man accepts no responsibility for his words or actions. He blames everyone but himself for every outcome that fails or disappoints him.
Equal justice for all? Tell that to the many thousands of Americans languishing in jail for trivial offenses while white collar, corporate criminals go unpunished for the theft of billions. Tell that to people of color, unfairly targeted for no better reason than the color of their skin. But this is not Trump alone, I fear. The Republican credo is justice for those who can afford it or those who, in the judgmental eyes of the more fortunate, are deserving of it.
The right to equal educational opportunity? Is this not an “American principle”? Yet the president* appoints as his Secretary of Education a woman who professes no belief in public education, who wants to hand out public funds to private schools that are often unaccountable and that preach a particular religious doctrine. The best education is not, it seems, a universal right, but is for those who can afford it—or for the lucky few who win the education lottery.
How about simple respect, if not care, for one’s fellow human beings? Trump shows neither respect nor care for anyone but himself and his family. Even those who win his provisional approval for their flattery of him or their obsequious service to him must take care to do or say nothing that might offend His Excellency for fear of being swiftly excluded from his circle.
And finally, how about that American beacon to the world that has been our boast? In four short months, Trump has left the reputation of this country in tatters. Far from the leadership that American presidents have exercised in the past, Trump impetuously insults our friends and further riles our enemies. The respect, where necessary the fear that have defined our relationships with other nations have been eroded. Even the little North Korean dictator thumbs his nose at us. We kow-tow, now, to Russian and China. Where is the American principle, to lead with pride, to offer the example of democracy to the world?
And where, indeed, is democracy itself, perhaps our most basic of American principles? Under Trump, the grip of money on politics has only tightened. Tell me, Congressman, where is “government of the people, by the people, for the people”?
To publicly pronounce that we have a president who supports American principles is delusional. I am appalled to be represented by one who so ingenuously closes eyes and ears to reality, and makes such demonstrably false pronouncements for political advantage.
Not too respectfully, today,
Peter Clothier, Ph.D.