Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently reiterated the refrain that she used in past election campaigns for Democrats: “When they go low, we go high!” But now, during this disgusting time as the POTUS and the Republican administration that controls both chambers of Congress spew their deceits and hate, it is extremely difficult to “go high” in remarks or writings. The federal government today and for the past two years has been throwing so much garbage at us that I wonder how we can “go high”—that is, stay calm and civil when counteracting trash talk and lies. So I ask:
What do you say when on October 11, 2018 you see celebrity rapper Kayne West (I’ve never heard of him before) behaving like a silly teenager during his live monologue to the press in the oval office with Trump? West, wearing his MAGA hat, talked to reporters before clambering over Trump’s desk, hugging him, telling Trump he is a father figure and that he loved Trump because the POTUS made Kayne feel like a man. The bizarre scene aired on TV and sparked wide criticism on social media and cable news shows.
The carnival with West and Trump was going on while people in Florida were being devastated by a major hurricane, which killed at least eighteen people and destroyed an entire town. What kind of calm, civil comment can anyone make about the Kayne-Trump reality show taking precedence over dead Americans and a town flattened?
Then came Trump rallies such as a recent one in Cincinnati, Ohio where Trump talked about a native son and astronaut, the late Neil Armstrong, telling the crowd that Armstrong was “the man that planted the flag on the face of the moon. . . . There was no kneeling, there was no nothing, there was no games, boom.” Trump was obviously referring to NFL players who have “taken a knee” during playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. Trump just had to get another—one of many—jabs at protests by primarily black athletes. How does one “go high” and ignore Trump’s constant denigration of legitimate protests? Besides, why is the anthem played at sports events? These are commercial occurrences, not political or government occasions.
At his rallies, Trump also works up crowds with false accusations by declaring that if elected in the upcoming midterms, Democrat Senators would initiate “mob rule.” Yet in reality it is Trump who has urged his followers at rallies to go after opponents with rough and dangerous tactics. When criticizing an opponent Trump has told crowds to “knock the crap out of him, would you? I’ll pay your legal fees;” “I’d like to punch him in the face;” “maybe he should have been roughed up;” “part of the problem is no one wants to hurt each other anymore.” And at one Kentucky rally Trump told his followers to get opponents “out of here” and “members of the crowd attacked and forcibly removed the protesters,” according to reliable fact-checker Snope.
So do we overlook the trumpian call for violence? In my opinion, in order to “go high” Democrats should be calling attention to and denouncing Trump’s mob-like commands in clear and loud terms. Maybe even a few Republicans would follow their lead.