[Vision2020] Well worth reading editorials

Rose Huskey rosejhuskey at gmail.com
Wed Nov 15 07:32:47 PST 2017

The Washington Post is my favorite national newspaper.  The editorial section is chock full of extraordinarily well written examples of compelling journalism.  Generally, Eugene Robinson and Jennifer Rubin are my favorite contributors but this morning I was delighted to find and wanted to share the following.  I have removed the photographs and video links from both articles.  

Rose Huskey


Donald Trump Jr.’s incredible history of dumb decisions

 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/dana-milbank/> https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2014/04/dana-milbank.jpg&w=80&h=80&t=20170517a

By Dana Milbank <https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/dana-milbank/>  Opinion writer, Washington Post,  November 14 

With all the documentation of Russian collusion piling up, President Trump’s best excuse may be that his people were too incompetent to organize a conspiracy. Luckily for him, an innocent-by-reason-of-stupidity defense has the virtue of being plausible. 

For example, there is clear and compelling evidence that Donald Trump Jr. is dumb as a post. 

This week brings word that the Trump campaign was in direct contact with WikiLeaks, described by Trump’s own CIA director <https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-jr-communicated-with-wikileaks-during-2016-campaign/2017/11/13/947e64d4-c8bb-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?utm_term=.e8c11cc027bd>  as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” And who was the point of contact? D’oh! Donald Junior <https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-secret-correspondence-between-donald-trump-jr-and-wikileaks/545738/>  — asking privately for information from WikiLeaks, which at one point suggested an action that the candidate took, in part, just minutes later. 

This follows the discovery in July that Junior met with Russians during the campaign. He first claimed the meeting concerned adoption <https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/11/15954012/trump-jr-emails-russia> , then admitted it was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, then said nothing was untoward because the information provided by the Russians “wasn’t helpful.” This, as Jimmy Kimmel <http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russia-jimmy-kimmel-grills-kellyanne-conway-about-donald-jrs-meeting-634780>  pointed out, was like saying “I tried to rob the bank but I forgot they weren’t open on Sundays.” 

A tweet pinned <https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor>  to the top of Junior’s Twitter page says, “Life is hard; it’s even harder when you’re stupid.” And Junior should know. Some of his colleagues on the Trump campaign mocked him as “Fredo <https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-aides-russia-flap-proves-don-jr-is-the-fredo-of-the-first-family> ,” the weak son in “The Godfather.” Trump surrogate Chris Christie euphemistically described <http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/07/trump_jr_colluding_with_russia_no_just_part_of_the.html>  Junior as “by no means a sophisticated political actor.”

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the Republican National Convention. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images) 

On Election Day in Virginia last week, Junior issued two tweets <http://thehill.com/homenews/359124-trump-jr-twice-urges-virginians-to-vote-on-wrong-day> , hours apart, urging people to vote — “tomorrow,” the day after the election. The previous week, Junior tweeted  <https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/trick-or-treat> that he would take away half his daughter’s Halloween candy because “it’s never to [sic] early to teach her about socialism.” (He seemed not to grasp that trick-or-treating involves handouts.) This was Junior’s second candy-related mishap; he previously shared a tweet likening Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles <http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-junior-terrorism-refugees-skittles-tweet-cruel-useless-at-risk-a7328806.html> , asking if “I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?”

This week, as CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski <https://twitter.com/i/web/status/929841759475167238>  noticed, irony eluded Junior when he “liked” a tweet discrediting one of Roy Moore’s accusers — because she “has had three divorces” and “filed for bankruptcy three times.” Junior also posted on Instagram a video of himself lifting weights; the website Lifehacker <https://lifehacker.com/how-to-deadlift-better-than-donald-trump-jr-1820373991>  said he made “five out of the seven common beginner deadlift mistakes” and had “a solid chance of herniating a disc.”

The 39-year-old Trump once tried to make it on his own, but after a couple of his ventures fizzled, he signed on with Dad, whom Junior has been “helping” ever since. Such as in September 2016, when he posted an image featuring Pepe the Frog, a white-supremacist emblem. Junior pleaded ignorance <https://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-jr-pepe-the-frog-228268> : “I thought it was a frog in a wig.”

A number of Junior’s tweets over the years call people “morons” and “idiots” for their “unintelligible grammar” and poor spelling. Unfortunately, he routinely makes the same errors himself, sometimes in the tweets labeling others morons. When called on this, he explains, “I just let spelling and grammar go <https://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/67423862672998400> ” or “spelling has never been a strong point <https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/89411254472556546?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Fandrewkaczynski%2Fbest-tweets-from-donald-trump-jr> .”

What has been his strong point? Tweeting a series of photos of artery-clogging foods with the label “this is why I’m fat <https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/331165555853762560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Fandrewkaczynski%2Fbest-tweets-from-donald-trump-jr> .” Speaking up for the “moral teaching of the Bible <https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/06/donald-trump-jr-says-college-campuses-teach-americans-to-hate-their-country-and-religion> ” even though he previously boasted that he had some sexual “hookups I don’t remember <https://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/134010137215107072?lang=en> .” Telling the public <https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/best-tweets-from-donald-trump-jr>  that “if ur a boob guy this whole lactation thing is amazing the sports bra the wife is wearing is losing the containment battle!!!”

His Twitter feed skews Low Playground, with vulgar words, jokes about bestiality <https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/158341867564564482?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Fandrewkaczynski%2Fbest-tweets-from-donald-trump-jr>  and sexual assault and a quip <https://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/176504107337662465>  about pretending to be gay so he can put his hands up women’s skirts. When he ventures into big-boy topics, he gets in big trouble. On Twitter <https://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/872828608464773120?refsrc=email&s=11>  and in an interview at the time of former FBI director James B. Comey’s testimony, he inadvertently confirmed <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-jr-appears-contradict-fathers-account-private/story?id=47966439>  one of Comey’s main points. In a campaign interview, Junior spoke of <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/15/donald-trump-jr-says-media-would-be-warming-up-the-gas-chamber-if-trump-lied-like-clinton/?utm_term=.e4f17b325f7d>  reporters “warming up the gas chamber” for Republicans. 

In 2011, he tweeted about Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) wearing a cowboy hat but confused her for <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/23/in-trumps-response-to-myeshia-johnson-many-black-women-see-a-pattern/?utm_term=.bb52451195ae>  another black woman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), which he spelled “Watters.” He wrote: “Easier 2 take u seriously when u dont [sic] look like a stripper.”

Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to offer a Halloween candy-related metaphor to socialism on Oct. 31. Here is how the Internet reacted. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post) 

And sometimes the misfires are literal. After <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114122/Donald-Eric-Trump-pictured-posing-trophy-carcasses-big-African-hunt.html>  safari photos emerged of him in 2012 holding a knife and the tail of a dead elephant, Junior explained, “I HUNT & EAT game.” This year, he observed Earth Day by shooting prairie dogs <http://nypost.com/2017/04/25/trump-jr-celebrated-earth-day-by-hunting-prairie-dogs/> , which are not widely consumed.

In September, Junior raised a ruckus when he said he didn’t want Secret Service protection <https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-jr-wants-to-give-up-secret-service-protection/2017/09/18/2a0e7e72-9cd3-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html?utm_term=.1f4935485b05> . Security experts warned against this, and his protection has since been restored <http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/25/politics/trump-jr-secret-service/index.html> , but maybe Junior was safe all along. Those who want to harm America might conclude that they would do more damage leaving Junior right where he is.

Secondarily, this jewel is from the same Post edition (Nov. 14, 2017) by David Von Drehle .  It reads as though he must somehow be aware of our own local example of puerile pastoral ineptitude, Doug Wilson.

Christians: Our silence on Roy Moore isn’t enough

 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/david-von-drehle> https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/4aaefd46-726e-4d03-a31e-8fc3327095c4.png&w=80&h=80&t=20170517a

By David Von Drehle <https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/david-von-drehle> , Washington Post columnist, November 14 

Any nitwit can call himself or herself a pastor in America and hang a sign outside a so-called church. That’s a price we pay for religious freedom. And if the Rev. Wingnut or Pastor Loosescrew combines a flair for self-promotion with immunity to shame, a certain brand of fame can follow. I cringe to remember the hours of television and acres of newsprint given to the late and appalling Fred Phelps, of the self-styled Westboro Baptist Church, who loaded his congregation of brainwashed and intimidated family members into vans and hauled them around the country, tormenting grief-stricken families. 

But religious freedom does not require thoughtful Christians of goodwill to sit silently while charlatans, hustlers and theological bumpkins try to press the imprimatur of our faith on the sacrilege of accused child molester Roy Moore <https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.02e9dc92d1ad> .

This self-righteous popinjay, running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate, has inspired mostly silence from the respectable pulpits of Alabama. It seems we Christians are well practiced at averting our eyes from the lurid sideshows beneath our big tent: the willfully ignorant Young Earth creationists, the cartoonish faith healers, the tearful televangelists caught with a hand in the till or a prostitute on the side.

We tell ourselves this has nothing to do with us, that it’s bad manners to speak too loudly about religion, that it is more than enough each imperfect day simply to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.But we have reached a point where silence is no longer enough. A growing number <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/14/the-factors-driving-the-growth-of-religious-nones-in-the-u-s/>  of Americans have no religious affiliation and only a passing interest at best. Unless they hear otherwise, they may draw the conclusion that flamboyant radicals such as Moore are the essence of our faith.

Despite our imperfections — “our manifold sins and wickedness,” to borrow from <https://books.google.com/books?id=tsxMAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA380&lpg=PA380&dq=%E2%80%9Cour+manifold+sins+and+wickedness,%E2%80%9D+to+borrow+from+the+Book+of+Common+Prayer&source=bl&ots=fMaA4cmivJ&sig=3RO9Oey1M6Vu2r3VXuF9CnLJvsE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiy_cCT877XAhVHLSYKHSUTADgQ6AEIKzAB#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cour%20manifold%20sins%20and%20wickedness%2C%E2%80%9D%20to%20borrow%20from%20the%20Book%20of%20Common%20Prayer&f=false>  the Book of Common Prayer — we are better than that. We are a church for the likes of William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr. A church for Michelangelo and J.S. Bach. A church for Anne Bradstreet, Flannery O’Connor and Annie Dillard. We are a church that builds great colleges and universities and hospitals. A church that ministers to gang members in East L.A., Ebola victims in West Africa and dying neighbors in places large and small around the world.

Mainstream Muslims have been hearing for years that they must repudiate the hateful fringe perverting their religion; surely the same applies to us Christians. Stirring up hatred for gays, liberals, Muslims and other supposed infidels, Moore bears a familial resemblance — the nonviolent side of the family — to the jihadists of the Islamic State. He brandishes <https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/09/26/alabama-runoff-candidate-roy-moore-pulls-gun-out-campaign-rally/703313001/>  a revolver instead of a broadsword, but he shares their delight in condemnation, division and (evidently) fantasies of virgins.

It’s a travesty that Moore and his sanctimonious ilk have been allowed to hijack “conservative Christianity.” I imagine William F. Buckley Jr. — that grinning apostle of joy — spinning in his grave. Buckley was an evangelist for an authentic Christian conservatism, a rich intellectual tradition traced by Russell Kirk in his 1953 masterpiece, “The Conservative Mind <https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0895261715/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thewaspos09-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0895261715&linkId=368d372371bbc615535e651bc95d4d23> .”

This tradition — which today finds such able defenders as Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson — prizes humility over utopianism, natural law over social engineering, prudence over urgency, individual freedom over collective designs. It’s not the only lens through which Christians can read the Gospel, but it is a thoroughly respectable one.

Compare that with the nitwittery of Jim Zeigler, state auditor of Alabama, who offered a scandalous exegesis in defense of Moore. According to <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/11/09/alabama-state-official-defends-roy-moore-citing-joseph-and-mary-they-became-parents-of-jesus/?utm_term=.70a82db03bb1>  Zeigler, the mall-skulking Moore, chatting up teens and signing their high school yearbooks well into his 30s, resembles Joseph at the manger in Bethlehem. The history of sinners frantically thumbing their Bibles for a friendly passage out of context is as old as sinners and Bibles — but that is about as low as it gets.

Moore’s campaign has bragged of <http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/53_pastors_sign_letter_of_supp.html>  50 pastors signing a letter of support. In Bible-Belt Alabama, that’s not a large number. Still, until voices are heard from the thousands of pulpits so far silent, that rump faction can claim to speak authoritatively. Surely Alabama Christians care more for Scripture than to let it be a fig leaf for Roy Moore’s naked power trip.

I think of the Apostle Paul, the very model of evangelical Christianity, who was saved from his own Moore-like pharisaical hatreds by an encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. He taught <https://www.bible.com/bible/111/1CO.13.4-8>  the young church in Corinth that the greatest Christian virtue is love, which “does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

What would Paul make of Moore’s vanity and the rages of his aggrieved supporters? Millions of Christians, the silent majority you might say, have the answer in hearts moved by tenderness and mercy. Now we’re called to bear witness.


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