I’m with Cokie: It’s (Past) Time to Call Out Donald Trump

Why am I doing this? Sharing political posts on a parenting blog?

Well, I’ll tell you. Because parenting is political.

It’s about whether the leaders we elect care about the same things parents care about: family-supporting jobs that enable one parent to stay at home and raise the kids; clean air to breathe and water to drink and bathe in; affordable college tuition. The list is long.

These are all things I am for as a parent and grandparent. Things I can wrap my head around.

What I can’t wrap my head around is what Donald Trump is for. Like punching people in the face. Lying about nearly everything (I can’t account for his self-aggrandizement). And acting as though a fair percentage of the world’s population should be exterminated – or at least deported.

How is it that someone so oblivious to the rules of civil discourse, and obviously unqualified to fight for anyone other than himself, is able to run for president – the highest office in the land?

Journalism has always played an important role in my life, ever since high school, when I went after stories for my high school newspaper. If I was lucky, I had them published in the city paper for forty-cents a column inch.

Over the years I’ve kept looking for good stories. Which is why I’m writing this one. I just can’t believe the real meat of this story is being ignored by the media, as though Trump is just another stumping politician, stopping off to shake hands and kiss babies. Because he is not.

America is reeling from his abuse, and like a child with no one to turn to, we are left to cry alone in our rooms. To borrow a term from Swiss psychoanalyst Alice Miller, it’s as though we are waiting for an” empathetic witness” to acknowledge our abuse: Our fears that this man-child could possibly be in charge of this country, and our emotional scars from hearing such punitive rhetoric spewing from his angry mouth.

But as far as empathetic witnesses go, there have been too few. David Brooks is one. (No, Not Trump, Not Ever, NY Times 3/18/16.)

Cokie Roberts is another. The former NPR reporter, now a commentator, writes a syndicated column with husband Steven Roberts.  In their piece titled, “GOP Must Stop Trump Now, “(2/26/16), the Roberts make a plea for common sense: “The stakes are far too high for the rationalists to stay on the sidelines, and their first motive should be political self-interest.”

However on March 14, 2016, in what appeared to be a case of NPR strong-arming, reporter David Folkenflik called Cokie Roberts on the carpet for taking a position on Donald Trump. The interview brings into question the role of the media in allowing someone like Trump, who blatantly promotes divisiveness and violence, to get away with it. And without a word of judgment.

In my view, the role of journalists is to put the world and its inhabitants under glass. To report on their condition. And to share in their reality, if only for a moment. Sometimes conditions are so bad, and reality so unjust, that passing judgment becomes a moral obligation.

If not for TV anchors who passed judgment, the war in Vietnam might have continued much longer. If not for Edward R. Murrow, the McCarthy Era would have taken many more victims. If not for outspoken journalists, the Civil Rights Movement would be at least 50 years behind.

Which is why I admire Cokie Roberts’ courage.

Here’s a bit of her March 14 NPR interview with David Folkenflik: Folkenflik says, “Can you blame people like me for being a little disappointed? Because you come out and sort of take a personal position on something like this in a campaign.”

“Yes. I can blame you,” Roberts says. “I think this is a different role. If I were doing it in your role, you should be disappointed…But the truth is, this is a different role. And there are times in our history when you might be disappointed if I didn’t take a position like that. Because we are going through a very divisive time, and that’s not what this country’s about.”

Fultenflick presses her for a reason. “Why this moment, why this man?”

“Because this country has gone through an enormous history of trying to make it better. I’ve lived through a lot of that history. To go back to a time when people are separated by race and by ethnicity and by sex, is not the way the country should be headed. I think it’s bad for our county and I think it’s bad for our position in the world. And at some point, people who are in the role of commentators need to say that.”

And I agree completely. FFG

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