It is curious how old habits stay with you.
When I was a young boy and it snowed I loathed walking into either the front or backyard disturbing the fresh powder. It looked too pristine, too gentle and way too cool.
I wanted to preserve the moment – or the myth of the “perfect snow day”.
I found myself doing that Wednesday morning as I got into the car to come to work and I chuckled at my hard-to-die habit. There is no logic to it. It is just something that I have always done.
Thus the president’s most ardent supporters say we are doing the same thing with Russia. These supporters have come forward to defend the president’s congratulatory telephone call to Vladimir Putin after Putin won a rigged election in Russia.
The Trump administration continues to push the narrative it has been tougher on Russia than any previous administration, but submits much like the Nixon administration went to China, Trump is going to Russia.
All of our “Red Scare” concerns – stirred in the past by the very conservatives who are now pitching a change of tactics – are merely a snowy myth. We must give up the past.
Those very same supporters also are content with Trump speaking well of the Russian leader while at the same time disparaging his own Department of Justice, FBI, several of his own former aides and supporters, the Democrats, women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior, and anyone else in the country with whom he disagrees.
Mark Warner tweeted his answer to the president’s move. “Instead of pressing Putin on Russian election interference, or the UK nerve agent attack, or Russia’s ongoing cyber aggression against the US and our allies, the President called to congratulate a dictator on winning a sham election. This is not leadership.”
Those who love the president will not care what a Virginia Senator says. Their answer is that Trump is far ahead of the curve, an innovator, a man who wants to make the country better by shaking things up and applying a new paradigm to our democracy: drain the swamp.
In this paradigm it is okay to fire a career FBI investigator three days before he retires and threaten his pension – because he is part of the swamp. It’s okay to start a new arms race with Russia and dump our leadership role in nuclear disarmament – because “Drain the Swamp.”
In that mindset, everything done is done for a good reason. Those who do not see it are like the kid who doesn’t want to disturb the snow in the front yard. Hell, we will not even shovel it.
But the reality is far different from what the president is indeed shoveling.
There is nothing more frightening than the leader of Russia threatening the United States with a first strike weapon, unless it is the president of the United States congratulating the Russian leader for winning a rigged election so Russia can continue to threaten world safety.
Former CIA Chief John O. Brennan was more direct, taking to Twitter to denounce Trump: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you.”
In congratulating Putin on winning a rigged election, the President is not attempting to “go to China” as Nixon did, but giving up a vital role in checking Russian aggression.
The Russian Bear in the last year has been responsible for sponsoring aggression in Syria, poisoning ex-spies in Great Britain and threatening world safety by declaring it has a first strike nuclear weapon capable of avoiding detection and thereby making our defensive retaliatory strike capability ineffective.
So, as it turns out, those who do not wish to disturb the snow and the true snowflakes are the president’s loyal supporters who find themselves now in a zugzwang.
The term is most frequently used to describe a strategy in chess whereby one player is forced to make a move they do not wish to make.
But you cannot pass and you cannot leave the snow undisturbed.
The president has chosen a side. Despite being warned by his own aides not to congratulate Putin, our president has chosen to congratulate a despot. He has chosen authoritarianism over democracy and drawn the ire of his own party. Sen. John McCain tweeted, “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”
To all those who still support the president, I doubt I shall ever reach you, but if I can ask you for one favor, I would be happy if you would oblige me. If you truly believe Trump is draining the swamp – or disturbing the deep snow of “business as usual” in Washington, D.C., then ask yourself this: Why does Trump have no problem addressing the corruption of our government but has no stomach for doing so with Putin? When he calls Putin why doesn’t he hold the man’s feet to the fire?”
Disturb the fluffy snow of your own beliefs and ask a few questions. It is okay, no one will think less of you if you change your mind.