Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-5) wants his Missouri constituents to know that he’s taking the high road – he won’t stand in opposition to the Russian-backed President-elect, Donald Trump. The very righteous Rep. Cleaver doesn’t think it would be consistent with the Golden Rule:
… I have concluded that I may not have control over the economy or interest rates or gasoline prices but I have absolute control over me. Therefore, I will regulate my congressional conduct, in compliance with the Golden Rule. I will not attend any meeting in any hotel or elsewhere to plot the failure of the President-elect. I will not join others in congress to purposely cause legislative gridlock because I would not want it done to a democrat in the White House. If the president succeeds, I succeed for I am a citizen of this country. I have children and grandchildren that matter deeply to me. Therefore, it would be an act of political self-mutilation to want any president to fail. If the President-elect fails, it will negatively impact my children and my children’s children.
As fine as all this rhetoric sounds, it strikes me that heedless hight-mindedness leaves folks in danger of falling from their moral heights – and taking others with them.
Has anyone asked Cleaver what he thinks Donald Trump’s success as president might mean for the country and how that fits with a much bigger application of the Golden Rule? Like maybe don’t screw over everyday citizens in ways one wouldn’t want to be screwed over oneself for no reason other than to show deference to a dim-witted, would-be autocrat. It could be that looking at the biblical precept in a wider frame of reference might mean that one does what one has to do to thwart the agenda of a man who voluntarily installs a white supremacist and propagandist with fascist leanings, a.k.a., Steve Bannon, as his chief advisor.
Does Cleaver want Trump to succeed in decimating the environment? His pick for head of the EPA, “top climate skeptic” Myron Ebell, tells us that is where Trump is taking us. Is Cleaver willing to send the rest of us along on that disastrous ride?
Does Cleaver want to deregulate the banking industry to the pre-2008 level that precipitated the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? Trump’s proposed Treasury Secretary, predatory financier and Goldman-Sachs alumnus Steven Mnuchin, signals that Trump aims to do just that.
Does Cleaver want to return to the bad old days of lackadaisical civil rights oversight and wholesale voter suppression? If so, Trump’s selection of the racist Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is the way to go.
The list could go on and on. Trump’s been busy hand-picking a team of helpers who want to transition the U.S. back to the hardcore corruption of the Gilded Age – where the likes of the Rockefellers and the J.P. Morgans got gilded and everyone else got hosed. In view of these transition preparations the presidential success of which Cleaver so facilely speaks may well destroy public education, privatize public infrastructure, sell-off public lands, voucherize Medicare, defenestrate Social Security, and deprive millions of Americans of healthcare. All this while making the U.S. a junior partner to Russia’s depredations.
So if Rep. Cleaver really wants President-elect Trump to succeed, I would suggest that he hasn’t been paying attention.
Cleaver’s self-satisfied blindness, though, does suggest an answer to the question: why do Democrats lose over and over again. Even when they win elections – as in 2008 – they somehow manage to lose the bigger battle. Do you think it could have anything to do with elected Democrats who, at best, are incapable of organizing and standing together to fight for what is right – which, yes, might mean meeting in a “hotel or elsewhere” to figure out how to hold fast against our worst nightmare for our country? At worst, it might have something to do with elected Democrats who are eager to turn the other cheek, piously intoning platitudes about the Golden Rule, while the vultures gather. I’m talking to you, Emanuel Cleaver.