The fact that members of Trump's campaign and family retweeted some of these real-fake news items demonstrates how difficult it can be to recognize what's real and what's not. This may be the greatest challenge of our times. Disinformation combined with generalized antipathy toward the traditional press may be the toxic combination that poisons unity and condemns democratic principles to the hazardous-waste dump. One cannot overemphasize the importance of these developments or of the president's contributions to the undermining of institutions created by our Constitution to monitor government power.
Recall that a president's primary duty, in addition to defending the country, is to protect the Constitution. Yet, in just nine months in office, Trump has done more to challenge the integrity of the First Amendment than any other president in history, including expressing interest in making it easier to sue journalists for libel.
He would never actually push such a measure because Trump is smart and knows he'd get nowhere. But he also knows that many among his base don't know this. No matter. He's rallied the base with rhetoric and re-enforced the infrastructure of his greatest deception. Talk about fake news.
In other remarks clearly aimed at Trump, Bush addressed bullying and prejudice in public life that "sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children." And: "We can't wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution."
One needn't be a sleuth to infer that Bush was speaking to the man oft-referred to as our bully-in-chief, as well as to Trump-the-salesman, who convinced working-class Americans that he would bring back all those jobs lost to globalization. As Bush suggested, globalization is the new age and the old one isn't coming back.
A Republican president needed to say these things -- and his name wasn't Trump.
Kathleen Parker's email address is email@example.com.
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