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Watching the State of Trump, the National Prayer Breakfast for Trump, and the White House Celebration for the “perfect” Trump, I recalled a HPR column I wrote about Joe Stalin’s days as Russia’s Trump back on November 11, 2007 titled “An Archipelago of Terror: Don’t Ever Be The First To Stop Applauding!” I am going to repeat some of it in order to make a point about the behavior of Trumplican congressmen and supporters during the impeachment trial and these three events.
I wrote the column then because of the reaction of George W. Bushlicans to waterboarding (slightly edited).
This is a week of discussing waterboarding and torture by Congress, those profiles in courage. I wonder how many of them have read Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago,” a history of Russian prisons during the Stalinist era published in 1973. Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned in several of them for eight years for criticizing Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend. Russians were imprisoned for crimes and political reasons in horrible conditions in prisons that stretched across the eight time zones from the West through icy Siberia.
We learned about life in those labor camps when Solzhenitsyn was allowed to publish “One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, “ a short book about one prisoner and his life in the camps….But when Solzhenitsyn wanted to publish his extensive history of the “gulags,” the prisons, he was no longer welcome in Russia. I read most of his books over 30 years ago, but I have never forgotten his description of terror in this little vignette about a Communist Party district conference during Stalinist times.
A district party conference was under way in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for (Of course, everyone had leaped to his feet at every mention of his name). The small hall echoed with stormy applause, rising to an ovation,’ continued. For three minutes, for four minutes, five minutes the stormy applause, rising to an ovation,’ continued.
But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferable silly even to those who really adored Stalin. The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of the man who was arrested. He was afraid! After all NKVD (secret police) men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who quit first! And in the small, obscure hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked!
They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could, of course, cheat a little bit, clap less frequently, less vigoroursly, not so eagerly—but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them? The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop.
Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go and go on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! Then after eleven minutes, the director of the paper company assumed a businesslike expression and had sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily passed 10 years on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him. “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.” To all persons attending the three Trump political rallies: Was Mitt Romney the first one to stop applauding? When will the Trumplican palms get so sore, the arms so tired, and the brains strong enough they will quit applauding?
The Desecration Of Everything American Continues
It started three years ago when King Donald at his coronation tried to convince the world he had been crowned before the largest inaugural crowd in the history of the United States. That was after he had convinced some of us he was an uncouth, vindictive, unrepentant pathological-lying psycho-sociopath. The desecration of American traditions continues this February. First, he lied constantly while presenting his State of Disunion. Second, he turned the National Prayer Breakfast into an un-Christian Fast of Hate. Third, he turned his “perfect acquittal” of impeachment into a celebration of white power. Look at the audience while they are clapping furiously.
But now King Donald has added a fourth desecration: the awarding of The Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh who I call Trash. The medal was created by President John F. Kennedy for especially meritorious contribution for
(1) security or national interests of the United States,
(2) world peace, and
(3) cultural and other significant public or private endeavors.
This is what Trash has contributed to the three criteria — as King Donald has contributed to the three: NOTHING.
Both have contributed to our disunion, our hate of one another, the rapid growth of white power, and the coarseness, the profanity-laced language, the vulgarity, the sexual harassment of women, the abuse directed at the LBGTQ+ community, and a dark cloud of amorality over our society. On the State of the Union day NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Planet Earth after spending 328 days in space aboard the International Space Station, the longest stay in space by a woman. She orbited Earth 5,248 times, traveled 139 million miles, while conducting 210 experiments and investigations relating to the long-term effects of space on the human body. She was a perfect candidate for the Medal of Freedom.
Instead, King Donald, a coward who had five deferments during Vietnam, clutching a paid-for letter from a doctor proclaiming he had bone spurs, presented a Medal of Freedom to another coward, Trash Limbaugh, clutching a paid-for letter from a doctor claiming he had anal cysts.
What do bone spurs and anal cysts have to do with pulling a trigger in the jungle? Some other famous Republican chickenhawks: John Wayne, a famous patriot and war movie hero, never served a day because he kept pleading he had to support a family. Dick Cheney holds the record for most deferments with five, claiming he “had better things to do.” Rudy Giuliani, that fearless prosecutor and investigator, got a letter from a friendly federal judge to keep him out of the draft. My 2nd Marine Division Commanding General “Chesty” Puller, awarded five Navy Crosses for heroism in five wars, had a favorite name for draft dodgers which I can’t use in public.
Here Are Just A Few Reasons Real Americans Don’t Listen To Trash or King Donald
They both denigrate, use, insult, harass, and attack women. A few quotes from Trash:
• “The sexual harassment crowd, they’re out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them.”
• “We’re male chauvinist pigs, and we’re happy to be because we think that’s what men were destined to be. We think that’s what women want.”
• “Comparing women to cats, my cat comes to me when she wants to be fed. She’s smart enough to know she can’t feed herself. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. And she doesn’t have to do anything for it, which I say this cat’s taught me more about women than anything in my whole life.”
• “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”
• “Female politicians get a pass on every aspect of their appearance. There are plenty of lard-ass women in politics, and they get a total pass on it.”
• “Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?” (Said while holding up a picture of 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton!)
• “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
• “I love the women’s movement—especially when walking behind it.”
• “A FeminNazi is a woman to whom the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed.”
Trash supported King Donald’s “birther” movement and the fake search for Obama’s “real” birth certificate. He also spent time singing “Barack the Magic Negro” to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.” He exhibited his racial bigotry and women-hating daily. He is a perfect partner for King Donald. In his early broadcasting days he often said drug addicts should be automatically sentenced to prison. He repeated: “They ought to be convicted—and they ought to be sent up.” When he later became addicted to the Sackler’s Oxycontin, he did not repeat his earlier claim. He was indicted for “doctor shopping.”
Everyone in the civilized world knew that actor Michael J. Fox was a victim of Parkinson’s disease, but Trash mocked his shaking and stuttering: “He’s either off his medication or acting. He is an actor after all.” Fox was a strong proponent of stem cell research to find a cure for a number of diseases, including Parkinson’s. Naturally Trash was opposed. There is no one more vile than a person who ridicules and taunts a disabled person. Remember King Donald imitating a disable reporter during one of his rallies? The two make a “perfect” pair.
Fintan O’Toole: “Whatever He Wants”
O’Toole contributed this article to the New York Review of Books. He outlines the reasons for the Trumplican attitude toward the impeachment: “When Trump decides something, no one can question what is going on in his mind, or in his gut. A veil of mystery must remain before the workings of the great leader’s inscrutable desires….This is profoundly autocratic. The essence of dictatorship is that the leader’s desires cannot be outside the law because they are the law.”
King Donald believes he has the right to do whatever he wants as president. In other words he now is our dictator—just like Great Leader Kim Un Jong is of North Korea and Permanent President Vladimir Putin is of Russia. O’Toole adds: “At the heart of Trump’s defense is the justification that underlies all authoritarian rule. The leader is special. He is not like us because he has unique instincts. His gut leads him to make the right call.” Will the Trumplican senators ever stop clapping?