We Need To Heed Words From Edward R. Murrow

Today as I sat outside I thought of the words Edward R. Murrow said many decades ago.  Tonight I post them as they are relevant to the Trump mess which we, again, find ourselves in as a nation.  As a former broadcaster I have great respect for Murrow,  and as reader of history I have deep regard for his words.

In his famous commentary from March 9, 1954, he said Joseph McCarthy’s primary achievement “has been in confusing the public mind” about communism. Then he said: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

“This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve,” Murrow said. “We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

Do you remember how Murrow’s commentary ended? This way: He said McCarthy’s actions “have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it – and rather successfully. Cassius was right. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ Good night and good luck.”

But do we learn the lesson?

And so it goes.


Media And Trump’s Racist Remarks

Sunday most of the country’s most popular news outlets were refraining from calling Trump’s tweets “racist” with CNN being the biggest exception. But on Monday this changed in a big way.  Outlets like AP and CBS stopped attributing the word “racist” to “critics” and stated it as a fact, in an institutional voice.

This evolution was evident throughout the day and most important. The morning show on CBS leaned on “critics,” but the network’s evening newscast said “racist tweets.” Notably, it was on Norah O’Donnell’s debut as the new “Evening News” anchor. Over on NBC, correspondent Hallie Jackson said Trump was “deploying a racist trope meant to marginalize people of color.”

“Tiptoeing around Trump’s racism is a betrayal of journalistic truth-telling.” That was the headline on Margaret Sullivan’s latest piece for the Washington Post.  Sullivan conceded that it “makes good sense for media organizations to be careful and noninflammatory in their news coverage.” But she also noted that “a crucial part of being careful is being accurate, clear and direct.” Sullivan concluded, “When confronted with racism and lying, we can’t run and hide in the name of neutrality and impartiality. To do that is a dereliction of duty.”

To that I say AMEN!

Majority In Nation Know Immigrants Strengthen Society

Under Donald Trump, the Republican coalition has become overwhelmingly centered on the voters, and the parts of the country, that are most uneasy with demographic change. The coddling of the angry white male voters who hug their resentments, and want to have the rest of us think them worthy of relevancy, are a joke.

The proof is how the majority of the nation feels, vs. the angry base of Trump Land.

There was polling from PRRI last year — 2/3s of Republicans now say that the growing number of immigrants threaten traditional American values and traditions. As opposed to 60% of the country, overall, saying that immigrants strengthen our society.

History since 1776 shows the truth of the majority viewpoint as our national narrative proves. That the once ‘Party of Lincoln’ can not stand up and counter the hate and verbal racist sewage from Trump shows how broken and spineless the GOP now is in this land.

What is very unsettling to ponder at the CP desk is the fact that Sunday’s racist tweets from Trump, which is clearly the most fundamentally un-American outburst of modern presidential rhetoric, did not come remotely as a surprise.  This is what we have come to expect.

Thank an evangelical voter for that outcome as a result of the 2016 election.  You know, the ones concerned about ‘family values’.

And so it goes.

GOP Crosses Rubicon With Trump’s Racism

This weekend we, again, saw unacceptable behavior from Donald Trump.   In a tweet he said that four liberal women of color in Congress, all citizens and three of whom were born in the United States, should “go back” to their home countries.

It was appalling, disgusting, and beneath the dignity of his office, let alone showing a most grotesque lack of understanding about the history of America.

Today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi correctly said in a letter to colleagues that the House cannot allow his characterization of immigrants to our country to stand.   Action needs to be taken.  A resolution will be submitted for a vote to rebuke his words.

What is troubling about the hours which followed Trump’s outburst was the lack of sound judgment from his fellow Republicans.  Their lack of spine and ability to stand up for the nation, and what it represents, has been demonstrated before when Trump has used racism and ignorance to spew his hate.  But what was unleashed Sunday in Trump’s diarrhea of words was, in the estimation of your blogger, the most vile tweets to date.  But the sound of crickets from the conservatives in this land told the rest of the story.

What the GOP does not understand is that white males who harbor their odd assortment of  resentments, like an old beer can collection, are on the demographic down slope of American politics.   Demographics are not on their side, and younger Americans (particularly younger Americans who are members of minority groups) will not forget the Trump Era. There will be a price to pay.  The Republican Party is going to become a regional party even more so than it already is in the years to come.  When reading Trump’s tirade this weekend one could almost hear the nails being pounded into the political party’s coffin.

What is so concerning to this blogger is the act of bullying has become more and more a part of the behavior of Trump.  And it has an impact on his bigoted and racist base of supporters.  After Trump was elected I posted about the local taxi driver in Madison who picked up a Latino school girl to take her home.  She was crying in the back seat as some of her classmates had told her to go back to Mexico.  Why Trump is so dangerous is that he has  enabled and encouraged racist bullies to act out their worst impulses; and his only response when people point it out is to say, “I’m not a racist bully; you are.”

The Republican Party crossed the Rubicon with their silence this weekend.  (Trump would need to google that term so to understand. Hell, so would a fair amount of his supporters. But the rest of us get the point.)  What we are now witnessing is most dreadful and beyond the worst fears we had imagined on Inauguration Day in 2017.

If Trump were the head of a corporation his board members would fire him by the time the evening news was aired.  The nation must do the same in 2020.

As to the ones who have remained silent over this weekend we can only wonder how and why.  The darkness which must surround such silence surely is most painful.  It is painful to our nation, too.

It is as if the Republican Party threw out their civics education for the one they adore and stupidly fear.