DIGGING OUT OF A HOLE

1. It’s Friday, January 12, 2018.

2. It’s the eighth anniversary of an earthquake that killed at least 100,000 and possibly as many as 300,000 Haitians.

The American people rallied behind their neighbors in the Caribbean. They were led by President Barack Obama, who told Haitians they wouldn’t be “forsaken” and “forgotten.”

They were also led by two former Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who established a relief fund that raised $54 million over a three-year period.

3. Trump is denying that he called Haiti a shithole.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, in a Tweet thread this morning, says his reporting indicates Trump was referring to African nations with his slur, but also said that he didn’t want Haitians coming into this country.

And, as Tapper also tweeted, that doesn’t make anything better.

One of the meeting participants, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, said Trump said what everybody said he said. And he said that a Republican, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, called Trump out on it.

4. There were a lot of angry words on TV and social media last night. There were tears and yelling and a sense of shock that our country could have come to this.

OK.

But I’m willing to wager money that this whole flap, all the mishegas on the morning shows and cable networks, fades into memory by, say, Tuesday of next week.

Because there’s going to be something else. Some other obscenity or embarrassment. Some stupid choice of words or some member of Trump’s archvillain league, also known as his cabinet, doing something unethical or possibly criminal.

This administration – that seems too organized a word to describe it – is about staying in motion. It’s about trying to get everything on its wish list by going all out for all of it and seeing what sticks.

It’s about changing the subject every few hours so that when Trump does or says something that really bothers people, it gets buried under an avalanche of other things that might or might not really bother people.

Do you remember back when he tweeted out how the button on his desk was bigger than Kim Jong Un’s? That, to anyone with a brain, it looked like Trump was eager for a nuclear war with North Korea.

Seems like a long time ago.

It was last week.

Trump and his minions are about irritating the people who didn’t vote for him – that’s the same number that voted for him plus about 2.9 million more. They’re about getting cheers from the cowards – and, yes, they’re cowards, afraid of anything that isn’t them – who are his true believers.

And if he keeps doing stuff for the benefit of him and others of his ilk; if he keeps making stupid statements and insulting his opposition and fighting anything that makes government succeed, he thinks he can tire out the sane and the sober. He can wear down the people he hurts and the people he offends, while keeping his sycophants satisfied.

5. Trump hasn’t made America great. He has made Americans ashamed.

He has embarrassed us, and he’s betting that we’re going to be so demoralized and tired that we’ll let him get away with it.

After a year, everybody’s tired of the racism, the ignorance, the short-sightedness, the open-palmed greed.

But we can’t let it go. We can’t make Trumpism the new normal. He and those who acceded to him need to pay a price for what they’ve done.

Today is a sad day in this country. Another one. Bet big there’ll be more before this shitshow of a presidency is over.

6. One final thought:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer took a lot of ribbing yesterday because, when the news broke of Trump’s comments, he could not bring himself to use the word “shithole.”

Others, on CNN and other networks, had no qualms about it. Blitzer did. So did some other TV voices.

It’s because they were raised well. They were told that shithole is not a word used by ladies and gentlemen. By people for whom decorum matters.

Blitzer is one of those people who cling to something – the idea that the functioning of government and society is noble. It should be – like medicine and tech research and other fields that better humanity – revered.

Hearing Trump’s language is disheartening to those folks. And sometimes, like Blitzer, they resist out of respect.

Let Blitzer off the hook. Civility is something we should admire, especially now.

And I apologize for not adhering to it in this post. I’ll try to do better.

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