The Long Presidential Journey from the Profound to the Petty

It’s November 19 and the man has spoken. The crowd is unimpressed.

That is all there is? Really?

Let’s face it. Our President is not what anyone would call widely admired. A few lawmakers in the Republican party, his party, are speaking out. More are said to be criticizing him bitterly in private. Even supporters see him as the most divisive leader the country has ever had.

George Templeton Strong of New York calls it for many.

A barbarian, a Scythian, a yahoo, a gorilla.

At this one event, you would think the President of the United States would have risen to the occasion.

It is not until his little two minute talk is published around the country that reaction begins to turn in his favor. On November 19, 1863, a two minute presentation has changed how we see our nation.

On the 150th anniversary, November 19, 2013, high school music teacher James Getty reenacts the address in Gettysburg.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The idea that a country could be dedicated to a proposition was not new to Lincoln. The famous debates against Stephen Douglas a few years before provided a studied contrast.

Douglas acknowledged the Declaration of Independence, but focused on the Constitution as the defining national document. What was legal must be accepted as moral necessity.

Lincoln acknowledged fidelity to the Constitution as the supreme instrument of law, but focused on the Declaration as the defining national document. What was clear moral necessity must be enshrined into law.

Fifteen decades later these very issues confront us still and the promise of America has yet to be delivered to too many of her children. So I ask myself, exactly what part of “all men are created equal” do we continue to fail to grasp?

That was LaVar Burton taking his turn, speaking in Gettysburg on November 19, 2016.

As Lincoln’s words have been elevated by time into a founding document, and Lincoln himself is seen as a national founder, a tradition of celebration has also evolved.

It seems remarkable, so many years later, that Lincoln’s words, and Lincoln himself, were held to such ridicule during his own life. Even more striking is that so much contempt came from his own side of the Civil War.

Lincoln defended his vision of a country as defined by an ideal. But I do not recall ever reading a response by Abraham Lincoln to the personal derision that was directed at him. It was as if it never occurred to him that his honor or reputation, or even his manhood ever needed defending. And so he never defended himself.

This year, this November 19, the 45th leader of our country maintained what has become a national tradition, this time illustrating by contrast the greatness of our 16th President, with these memorable words:

To be sure, LaVar Ball is a more deserving victim than many past targets of our President’s vitriol.

A tearful widow of a slain soldier feels the cold breeze of what she takes to be Presidential indifference.

The president said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways and I was — it made me cry … He couldn’t remember my husband’s name.

She earns an angry rebuke.

An American combat hero is killed saving fellow Americans. His Muslim father objects to Donald Trump’s blanket attacks on Muslims. Because the mother grieves in silence, Mr. Trump attacks her as a weakling.

If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, struggles through deep water to save as many American lives as she can. She pauses, in desperate anger, pleading for the President to do what he can to help.

His response?

It is as if every slight is a challenge to a fragile facade of the weakest side of humanity.

From November 19, 1863 to November 19, 2017 we have gone from a great national cause, a defining vision and new birth of freedom to a minuscule view of petty self-regard.

Each hair-trigger response of fire and fury is a reminder that we have seen greater days, a melancholy whisper of how far we have fallen.

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Trump’s Russia Collusion; We’re Just Filling In The Details

found online by Raymond

From Shaun Mullen at The Moderate Voice:

There is a glimmer of hope even as Donald Trump destroys the government, undermines our core values, tries to divide us with hate and fear mongering, further isolates America from the world community and becomes increasingly unhinged.

This is because we are at the point in the movie known as the Russia scandal where the plot, star and supporting actors are well known even if the ending is not. Beyond the Right Wing Noise Machine, an increasing number of policy makers and mere mortals like you and I now not only believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election for the purpose of electing Trump, but his campaign — and the Global Village Idiot himself — eagerly participated in that effort.

Does this bring us any closer to impeachment or forced resignation? Not necessarily, but the path to those outcomes is clearer and the possibility that Trump will not serve out his usurped-by-cybersabotage four-year term improves with each new gut-wrenching revelation.

The case against Trump has been made; we’re just filling in the details and waiting for the next round of indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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found online by Raymond

From Green Eagle:

So, Charlie Manson finally kicked the bucket.

Charlie had sort of loomed over us for most of our lives, an infamous, creepy, horrible and yet somehow attractive figure who etched himself permanently into American culture by acts he incited over two days in the sixties.

What has occurred to me in thinking about it is how Charlie, in a strange way, was a symbol of a much more innocent time.

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The Case for Superdelegates Is Stronger Than Ever

found online by Raymond

From Jonathan Bernstein:

Leading Democrats from Tim Kaine to Bernie Sanders are waging a war against superdelegates as part of the Democratic presidential nomination process. But ditching them would be a gigantic self-inflicted error.

The case for the supers is stronger than ever in the era of celebrity candidates and foreign interference in elections, regardless of what the populists and good government folks believe. In fact, the supers are part of a solution to all kinds of potential breakdowns in the modern nomination system. Democrats would be foolish to throw them away.

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Cult 45: Trump Voter Would Ask Trump To Verify What Jesus Said

found online by Raymond

From Frances Langum:

CNN had another Trump supporter (no, CNN, they are Republicans. Republican Trump supporters. Don’t you dare call it Trumpism) panel and one of the participants let loose this doozy:

“If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, ‘Hold on a second. I need to check with the President if it’s true.'”

One woman on the panel rolled her eyes, and the other two women made that big smile deer-in-the-headlights face rather than disagree.

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Trump Job Approval Went Down After His Asian Trip

found online by Raymond

From Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger:

Trump and his supporters welcomed the trip to Asia, because they thought it would make him look presidential and would improve his job approval numbers. But the trip, regardless of Trump’s bragging about it, was far from a success — and the public knows it.

His job approval numbers actually went down after the Asian trip.

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Dear Donald Trump, We’re Not Afraid of You

found online by Raymond

From North Carolina pastor John Pavlovitz:

Yes, in countless ways I deeply fear the near irreparable damage you’re doing to the country I call home and love dearly, and to the people who live and raise families and do work and dream dreams here.

I am incredibly fearful, but make no mistake, Donald Trump—I am not afraid of you.

I am not afraid of you, because even with the greatest seat of power, you are a spectacularly small man.

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‘Rich Corporations’ Benefit Middle Class

found online by Raymond

From Principled Perspectives:

I can see debating the merits of the GOP tax plan. By why the railing about the rich? This mindset is particularly bizarre in regard to corporations. How do “rich corporations” grow? By catering to the middle and lower classes (statistically speaking). They grow through mass market products.

We have successful business corporations to thank for the fact that we have the rich assortment of choices relating to home mortgages, college tuition, groceries, medical care, and all the other myriad choices corporations give us, including job opportunities. Historically, people couldn’t even dream about having all these opportunities to “balance”. We have successful business corporations operating in a relatively free market to thank for that. The simplistic political demagoguery that pits “us against them” ignores the fact that the corporation is an alignment of individual interests that benefits all. What we call “the economy” is an integrated entity, not a disintegrated zero-sum. People grow wealthy in America primarily by starting, building, running, and investing in great entrepreneurial businesses. Investors, employees, and consumers grow along with the corporations. The “very richest, largest, and most profitable corporations” are truly middle class institutions.

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You Thought There Was Anything New Under The Sun?

found online by Raymond

From driftglass:

Many of my old comrades from The News Blog days have long since departed for Purity Angel Elysium. Over the years (shit, I mean decades) I have heard from a few of them, them every now and again, mostly during the administration of Barack “Worse Than Boosh!” Obama, and almost exclusively to chastise me for being a bad and unworthy Libtard.

Ah well. I’ve been thrown out of better places. I’ve been called worse things. They seem happy up there in paradise, secure in their own self-regard, surrounded by the like-minded and removed from this grimy, elbows-deep-in-the-imperfect world. And what more should one want for old friends than they find a little happiness in this old universe?

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