By Virtue of the Fact…

            As the old English expression in the title reveals, we used to have a shared understanding that there is something innately good about a fact. A fact was a piece of the truth– and there was something inherently good about truth.

It is a tragedy that this traditional understanding seems to have been lost—especially since it has been lost to people who think of themselves as “conservative.” The “conservative” label used to signify a certain toughness of mind that was determined to “conserve” (save) all that was valuable in an older way of thinking. It was characterized by honor, integrity, and other traditional values.

            The tragedy of the “Trump World” into which we have been plunged is the loss of that virtue. The fact that so-called conservatives can’t see this essential corruption of their supposed core values indicates an essential misunderstanding.  Conservatives used to be about reducing deficits, strong foreign policy, rule of law, respect for the constitution. All that is gone with Trump.  He has exploded our deficits, undermined our alliances, disrespected our military, and attacked our courts and law enforcement agencies. He is systematically undermining the constitution and fair elections.

            Because they have real virtue, it is worth contemplating some facts in contrast to the smoke put out by Trump supporters. A recent writer to the News Times gave a list of reasons we should “be disappointed in people who bad-mouth the president.” She claims, “When Obama was in office we were heading for another recession.” But the facts are pretty clear here: Republican George Bush Jr. left the US economy in its worst crisis since the great depression. Obama led the country out of that. Every major economic trend line (the stock market, employment, etc.) took on a steady upward trend for the eight years of Obama’s presidency. Obama didn’t “lead us into a depression”: he saved us from one. Her second claim is just as wrong. “He (Trump) brought us out of that when he took office.” Not really: we were already well out of it by then. Trump just presided over the very durable momentum Obama had brought to the economy. The rest of her points are just as silly. They have no virtue because they are not true.

            Conservatives have always stressed their belief in small government. What does that really mean? Our population grows by leaps and bounds. The world grows more complex every day. Thousands of new products, chemicals, and biological agents come on market every year. If we really want safe food, air, water, etc., this naturally requires more inspectors, rules, studies, and bureaucrats. We can deal with that. The real danger of “Big Government” comes with someone like Trump.

            Trump has certainly reduced the size of government. Many agencies are unstaffed and key cabinet positions have not been confirmed but are held by “acting heads.” He has reduced regulations, but we’re not any safer for it. So, government is not really smaller; it is just more and more about Trump. There are no boundaries to the size of “Big Trump Government” except the boundaries of his voracious ego, which haven’t been reached yet. Contrast “No-Drama-Obama” to Trump, who is in your living room, undermining the media, the intel services, law enforcement, the military and the courts every day. That’s dangerous big government!

If Trump really believed his Ukraine actions were “perfect” he would send his administration to congress to testify. They would tell the truth and exonerate him. The end. The fact that he and his people will do anything to avoid this tells you all you need to know.

Ancient doctors spoke about the “virtues” of certain herbs: meaning their factual healing powers. If we want to heal the country, we all need to return to facts.

Donald Trump has uttered close to 14,000 lies since his inauguration. That number has spiraled over time. Keep it simple. In most human relationships, when someone fundamentally breaks trust, the relationship is over. Trump has broken his trust repeatedly. In short, we should impeach Trump simply by virtue of the fact that he is a dangerous compulsive liar. The American people deserve better.

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