Edward Udel: Trump's hurt feelings hurt Americans

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DALTON — So pervasive and frequent are incendiary collisions between fact and fabrication in Trump's America that our airspace has become enveloped by thick smoke. This dense atmosphere is the playground of demagogues who shape and massage our divisive political, philosophical and cultural predilections. They blur the line between fact and belief, demonize those with whom they disagree and transform us into competing factions, producing political paralysis at the expense of our planet and its inhabitants (present and future).

They are led by our president whose convincing impression of Captain Ahab is not only designed to reshape the epidermal surfaces of American life, but to sever foreign bonds and break domestic bones in his singular quest to eradicate all things Obama. The white whale took Ahab's leg but Obama merely pulled Trump's with a joke offered up at an annual White House press dinner. Obama's humor followed Trump's prolonged and meanspirited attempt to convince Americans that President Obama was not one of us. Since then, Trump's unrelenting mission has been to eviscerate all things Obama. To satisfy his obsession, he may take all of us down with the ship of state.

EMPTY PROMISE

Consider his attempt to eradicate Obamacare. His empty promise to provide all Americans with better health care, preserve coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and accomplish both at a reduced cost is a hoax. Had John McCain kept his thumb in an elevated position, 21 million American citizens would have lost insurance according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. In fact, the last proposal offered up by Trump and his Republican allies would have eliminated protection for an additional 52 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and two million older children. Despite his claims, the president and his party have no viable plan to replace Obamacare and no intention of providing better coverage to more Americans.

To sell their deception, they denigrate nations that offer medical care to all of their citizens. Demonized as "socialist" states, the health care they offer is condemned as inferior. We are told of the "long lines" of Canadian citizens who are waiting for surgery but we are not told that their supposedly inferior system results in longer life spans than we enjoy. That is the kind of inferiority with which Canadians can comfortably live. Millions of uninsured Americans would dramatically benefit from that kind of inferiority, especially those who line up by the thousands and wait in long lines for many hours to take advantage of "health fairs" occasionally organized in both urban and rural areas for Americans who have never or rarely seen a dentist or had their blood pressure checked.

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Our Ahab-in-chief has also focused his obsessive-compulsive vengeance on the health of our climate. For two years, cabinet members representing the coal, oil and gas industries have eviscerated regulations designed to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. Trump withdrew our nation from the international Paris agreement designed to reduce our carbon footprint because it was an Obama initiative. Trump vilifies "windmills," claiming that they cause cancer and reduce property values by 75%., but when it comes to the destructive impact of coal, our president and his minions hear and see no evil. Perhaps they should travel to the Adirondacks where many ponds and lakes have been rendered lifeless by the heavy concentration of sulfuric acid produced by coal burning power plants. When it comes to lying about the destructive impact of policies that enable excessive short-term profit at the expense of our climate and health, our president views extremism in the practice of dishonesty as no vice.

FEAR OF THE 'OTHER'

Lies, exaggerations and deceptions swirl around us and provide additional cover for the scapegoating of immigrants, asylum seekers, Muslims and any other target that benefits Trump's political agenda, including the FBI and CIA. He claims that his goal is our safety and that our country is already "full." His singular focus on building a wall on our southern border had its "oranges" (origins) as a political tactic suggested by one of his campaign advisors to help him remember his talking points. His prejudicial language is carefully crafted to stir up fear and hatred against those who trek thousands of miles to escape poverty and certain death.

But his concern about safety is selective and limited. He ignores the gun violence carried out by American citizens that takes 30,000 American lives each year and the drugs flowing through our northern border, especially fentanyl exported by China.

If Trump wins a second term, we should return the Statue of Liberty to France and declare that Emma Lazarus' poem welcoming the huddled masses to our shores no longer applies. Unfortunately, those who profit from Trump's policies rationalize his cruelty and dishonesty by claiming that he is just blowing smoke.

Edward Udel is an occasional Eagle contributor.


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