TrumPutin & democracy's demise

To the editor,

As a child of the Cold War, it is stunning to me, even as a peace and justice person critical of my own government, that Donald Trump is a) president and b) a traitor to the U.S. and c) loved by his nationalist base.

Seriously. While the Putin-ordered Russian interference with the U.S. election is far more complex than most media describe, it is real, and Trump was “elected” due to Russian meddling at several levels.

And now, having met face-to-face with the foreign adversary who put him into the highest office in the land, Trump is once again doubling down on treason, saying he wants to “move forward.”

Great line for a crook. Caught robbing the bank? “I just want to move forward.” Exposed as a perpetrator of illegal financial crimes taking millions from retirees? “Can we just move forward?” Confronted as he stands holding a smoking pistol over the bleeding-out body of the Goddess of Democracy? “Let’s just move forward.”

No. Unless by “move forward” you mean impeach.

There was much about Winston Churchill I loathed –he was an avowed racist and self-described terrorist – but his gift for the turn of phrase was significant and never more profound than when he said, “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

TrumPutin “democracy” is what we are sliding into. Writing this column in Russia might be the last thing I ever did, as the slaughter of Russian journalists by Putin shows. Fake news, fake elections, fake democracy – that is what Putin has produced in Russia and he now brings it to the U.S.

In the McCarthy Era, the hysteria whipped up by the Wisconsin senator was fake news, and it harmed our democracy then. Now, however, the Russian agent is the tool in the White House. Trump and the Republicans are the greatest threat to our democracy we have faced since World War II – rot from the inside instead of bombs from elsewhere. Trump is just low-hanging fruit to Putin, and Trump’s voters were badly, sadly duped.

Without an impeachment, without a serious overhaul of enforced voting rights and a return to safeguarded paper ballots, we will continue to watch the erosion and destruction of this 241-year experiment in freedom. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is stable right now. Civil society will engage or it will lose what liberty is left.

– Tom H. Hastings, director, Oregon Peace Institute