FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump on the Stump

If the rumors are true, Donald Trump will be coming to Montana this week to stump for Matt Rosendale, the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. Given his past behavior, we can expect the usual insults, name-calling and chest-thumping that are the trademark of a president who has no experience in government and sees public policy not as a give-and-take of differences of opinion between reasonable people, but as a stage upon which he can strut while sowing division among the citizens of our state, nation, and world.

But in Montana, which is a long way from Washington, D.C., trying to make Montanans hate each other over public policy differences should never be tolerated nor rewarded.

There’s a lot Trump doesn’t understand about the Constitution, the court system and Montana. Given that he has admitted he rarely reads and gets most of his information from Fox News and other televised media outlets, his blundering like a bull in the china shop of public policy is somewhat understandable, if incredibly embarrassing.

The reality, whether Trump likes it or not, is that there’s nothing even remotely simple about making law and governing — not drafting the language, debating it, somehow passing it through legislative chambers divided by political party, funding it and implementing the policies mandated by those laws. Furthermore, Trump doesn’t understand that laws are subservient to the Constitution, whose guarantees of various freedoms and rights he regularly disparages.

Freedom of the press would be a good place to start. In Trump world, that means freedom to praise him. But if that same freedom is used to criticize him, it’s dubbed “fake news” from “failing” sources. He displays the same misunderstanding of freedom of speech. Praise Trump and it’s great; criticize him or his administration and you’re “an extraordinarily low IQ person” or worse. And if you do it at a Trump rally, there’s a good chance he’ll incite violence against you, maybe even claim he personally wants to “punch you in the face.”

When it comes to the court system, Trump’s lack of understanding is equally abhorrent. He doesn’t get it that we have three separate but equal branches of government by design to ensure checks and balances should any one branch of government abuse its powers. Having already disparaged any number of judges who disagreed with him or upheld the Constitution, he sees the judicial branch as there to defend him and even attacked his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for failing to simply dispose of any legal challenges or investigations into Trump’s own lies, dubious deals and abuses.

Closer to home, Trump doesn’t understand that in Montana we don’t ask what political party you belong to before helping fellow citizens who are stuck in a snowbank or on a muddy road, or rendering assistance in any number of instances. Here, the reality is that we live in an often harsh environment that may entail floods, snow, ice and wildfire. We live close to Nature and understand that misfortune may befall any of us at almost any time. So we help, not hate, each other for mutual benefit.

Despite his long and ugly record of threats and insults as divider-in-chief, it would be good for the nation if Trump could at least try to understand the wisdom of Chief Tecumseh, who said, “a single twig breaks, but the bundle of sticks is strong.” And regardless of his overwhelming narcissism, perhaps he might come to finally realize the reality that as a state and nation “united we stand, divided we fall.”

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail