I recently told my Beguine editor, Terri Stewart, that, because I regarded the re-election of Trump as quite likely, I considered politics a dead subject for leftists / progressives, at least for the near- and medium-term future, and that I would henceforth write about science, art, philosophy, in other words, anything except politics. I had every intention of abiding by that resolution until I read a column by Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Post of April 27 exulting in his prediction – which, to repeat, is probably accurate – that Trump would not only win the election in 2020, but that the election would not even be “close” (Hewitt’s word, not mine). The reasons Hewitt cites for that prediction, while factually accurate, go straight to the heart of what it means to be a nation – and,
Such is the parlous state of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward constitutional liberties that the knee-jerk reaction is instant alarm to any contact between the Trump Justice Department and, e.g., the First Amendment. Maintaining one’s equanimity is difficult, rather like discovering after lunch that one’s Caesar salad had been sprinkled with Ebola Zaire. In a certain sense, that is as it should be. One does not have to advocate for the sainthood of Barry Goldwater to agree that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”. But especially in just such cases, one needs to exercise some rationality and restraint. One such case is the recent request by the Justice Department for a warrant to obtain the web histories of all visitors to an anti-Trump website. Even granted that
Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!
I owe the Republican Party an apology. I have long believed and said, both verbally and in writing, that the Republican Party, supposedly tainted by its association with conservative-evangelical / -fundamentalist, anti-intellectual Christianity, culminating in essentially unanimous Republican support for Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, has styled itself the anti-education Party, the Party that has become the political home of people like HUD Secretary Ben “Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Big Bang” Carson, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry who, fortified with a C grade-point average earned on the way to an animal husbandry baccalaureate degree from Texas A&M University (football cheer: “Whoop-Haw!”), assumes the custodianship of the Nation