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I wonder who’s losing it now

“To lower our voices would be a simple thing. In these difficult years [the 1960s], America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontent into hatred; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another, until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”

“It is first necessary to understand the antagonism that divides the middle class of this country. On the one hand there are highly educated upper-income whites sure of themselves and swimming with ideas for doing things differently. On the other hand, there is Middle America, the large majority of low-income whites, traditional in their values and on the defensive against innovation.”

community voices

The first quotation is from President Richard Nixon’s 1969 inaugural address; the second is from a 1972 book by Joseph Kraft, a journalist and columnist known for insightful commentary on American politics, foreign policy, and international affairs during the latter half of the 20th century.

We survived the turmoil of 1960s and 70s. Would our democracy survive another Trump presidency?

In his 1989 farewell address, President Ronald Reagan referred to America as a “shining city upon a hill.” He used the phrase to describe America’s role as a beacon of hope and a symbol of freedom and opportunity for the world, a model and an inspiration for other nations striving for liberty and prosperity.

Compare that with Trump’s 2016 inaugural address. He echoed his convention speech, painting a bleak picture of America. He began with the theme that won him the election: a stark contrast between him and the political establishment, an us-against-them frame pitting ordinary American people against the elites. Throughout the speech, he emphasized that his presidency would mark a departure from traditional politics and would focus on empowering the American people and putting their interests first.

Four years later, what had Trump accomplished? He promised he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare on his first day in office; even though Republicans held both the Senate and the House, he never did. “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.” In fact, there was never an attempt to reduce drug prices.

“We used to have the greatest infrastructure anywhere in the world, and today we’re like a third-world country,” he said. He pledged to start a $1 trillion effort to rebuild the United States’ roads and bridges; instead, announcements of “infrastructure week” became a running joke.

Trump said, “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” He imposed tariffs on specific imports. But the tariffs had undesirable consequences, including increased costs for consumers who paid the tariffs, disruptions in global supply chains, and retaliatory measures from other countries. Economic growth fell short of what he promised four years ago. Rather than growing by 3.5 percent annually, the country’s gross domestic product in the first three years of his term rose by an average of just 2.6 percent. His economic policies increased the national debt by $8 trillion, partly due to his tax cut bill that permanently funnels more money to the wealthy and large corporations, but only small amounts temporarily to the working classes.

And let’s not forget his “beautiful” wall that Mexico was going to pay for. American taxpayers paid for the little that was built.

Does Trump have a plan if he’s reelected? There’s no sign of one in his campaign so far.

What Trump is trying to do is convince voters that Biden is losing it. But Trump has made numerous gaffes and misstatements throughout his career, both before and during his presidency. A short list includes incorrectly stating that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer and that boaters may be electrocuted if their electric boat sinks; saying that he had seen thousands of people cheering on the 9/11 attacks from New Jersey even though there is no evidence to support his claim; suggesting that people inject bleach to cure Covid-19; mispronouncing the name of the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and repeatedly calling Viktor Orbán the prime minister of Turkey instead of Hungary; making offensive and insensitive remarks about women, minorities, and people with disabilities; and  claiming that he had won the 2020 election in a landslide when he actually lost by more than 7 million votes.

You want more? About the late John McCain, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump bragged he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters (unfortunately that may be true). He has repeatedly referred to Hamas as hummus. At times he has appeared to struggle to read his own teleprompter.

Trump is only three years younger than Joe Biden. It’s time the media recognizes – and reports – that it’s not Biden who’s losing it, it’s Trump.

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Mark Berg is a community activist in Adams County and a proud Liberal. His email address is

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4 months ago

Well said! I marvel that anyone feels great things were done with Trump as President and want more of the same in the future with an even older Trump.

FWIW, I think Biden has done a better job than I thought he would, but I’m among many who would like to see younger candidates in both major parties.

Terry Castonguay
Terry Castonguay
4 months ago

Tip of the iceberg…sad state of our Union. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address comments ring so true: “… Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure….”.

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