17 January 2017

Of Icons and Ironies

Representative John Lewis recently generated some controversy when in an interview for Meet the Press, he said that he does not consider Donald Trump a legitimate president. Moreover, he asserted that he would not attend the inauguration. The reason, he explained, is that the Russians interfered with the election and destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

Ironies abound, however, as one might suspect in the world of politics.

Lewis basically puts himself in the same position of the "birthers" who denied the legitimacy of President Barack Obama. (The irony of this situation is also probably lost on Donald Trump himself--the most well-known of the "birthers.")

Lewis talked vaguely about the nature of the threat. This serves to reinforce the Democratic meme that the Russians some how "hacked the election"--conjuring up images of the Tartar techs flipping votes as they were cast in electronic voting machines.

Republicans themselves have warned about the threats posed by a resurgent Russia. Putin is attempting to make Russia great again. This no doubt will result in conflicts of interest with the United States. Mitt Romney alluded to this in one of his presidential debates with Obama back in 2012. Romney became not the new president but a conservative Cassandra as he was roundly mocked by the Democrats.

In fact, the Russians simply embraced an American political tradition--leaking documents and private communications for publication in the media. Usually when the press publishes such information, they preface their accounts with remarks such as "documents acquire by the Times . . . " Acquired? Well, how did the Times acquire these documents  They were stolen leaked by an inside source. In this case Wikileaks got the scoop instead of the Times. When anonymous sources steal documents or share with the media the content of private conversations during a political campaign,  does this not also constitute interfering in an election? Is this not interfering with democracy?

Some might argue that  the DNC documents and the John Podesta emails  were acquired by a foreign entity--one hostile to US interests. Ironically, the prospect of Russian interference in elections is nothing new. Democrats considered Ronald Reagan such an existential threat to America the Democratic Party's domination of politics that they actually sought Russian interference. Jimmy Carter sought the help of  Leonid Brezhnev against Ronald Reagan in 1980. Again in 1984, Ted Kennedy sought the help of former KGB director Yuri Andropov in thwarting Reagan's reelection.

And readers must not forget President Obama's own attempts to influence public opinion in Israel with the ultimate aim of displacing Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lewis's remarks provoked the usual ill-considered Tweet from Trump.

Trump's remarks generated another controversy. He was not guilty of an irrelevant retort; Trump committed the mortal sin of attacking a civil rights icon. An icon is a sacred religious symbol worthy of reverence because of the person for which it stands. Lewis is an icon of that holy civil rights movement. And being an icon means anything you say will go unchallenged.

Unless, that is, the icon is known as Donald Trump. You see, until he began campaign for the presidency, he was a pop culture icon. If you do not believe some unknown blogger like me, take the word of the Washington Post

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