Las Vegas Sun

July 19, 2019

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Why we’ve spoken out so often about Donald Trump

Sixty-five times in 2018, the Las Vegas Sun has published editorials criticizing President Donald Trump.

That’s a lot of criticism, no question, and much of it has been bracing. We’ve called him a coward, accused him of un-American behavior and suggested he’s committed treason, among other things.

So why have we spoken out so often and so stridently about the president? Today, we’d like to explain.

We hunger for the America where people worked together to solve problems. We hunger for an America where we could honorably disagree with one another without believing our opponents are evil.

We want an American president who understands and abides by the rule of law.

We thirst for a national dialogue based on facts and honesty, not conspiracy theories and fearmongering.

We want to see a Republican Party that isn’t dominated by racist impulses. There was a version of the GOP that hated racism, anti-Semitism and all brands of bigotry — many Republicans still hold high values, but they have been cowed into silence for now.

We want to return to a brand of democracy that encourages everyone to vote and counts each and every vote. We want to see elections in which presidents don’t lie and make up scandals.

We long for a GOP that stands proudly for women’s rights.

We want an American president who calls us to our higher nature, not one who causes us to cringe at his inhumanity and shudder at his angry stupidity. We want a president who seeks to unite us, rather than pander to his minority base and wealthy backers.

Whether the country is run by liberals or conservatives doesn’t matter so much as insisting that it is run by people who value the greatness and generosity and wisdom of traditional American values.

We want a country where fascists and neo-Nazis are not welcomed and encouraged.

We want a country that doesn’t deny obvious science and clear facts when making policy.

We want a country determined to leave a better world for our children.

We want a country that values education.

We want a country that believes in fair play and regards civil service as working for the people — all of them.

We want a country that enthusiastically encourages democracy and decency around the world. We want a country that values its allies.

We want a country that doesn’t lick the boots of thugs like Vladimir Putin.

We want a country that understands that sensible immigration makes us better and richer as a culture.

We want a country where simple honesty and goodwill toward our fellow Americans are held as dear.

Trump and the movement he leads are determined to destroy the best within America. They seek to pervert every one of our most sacred values.

And that’s why we’ve been so critical. It’s because what’s happening to America under Trump is not normal in any respect. We feel it’s our duty not only as journalists but as Americans to point it out.

This is a president who has proven himself to be a danger to our nation’s democracy, its global standing and our national unity.

His attempts to discredit the FBI, the courts and other governmental institutions undermine public trust and threaten to break apart our system of government. His vilification of minorities and other groups spurs anger between Americans, emboldens extremists and has sparked a rise in hate crimes. His embrace of dictators and ugly behavior toward our allies weakens our international relations.

His violations of decorum and civility erode our public dialogue and degrade our national ideals of respect, compassion and dignity. So do his deplorable views of women and the cruelty he’s displayed in breaking apart families at the border and demonizing immigrants and refugees for his political convenience.

Then there’s his continuous lying and embellishing, which has left Americans unable to even agree on what is fact.

This is a president like no other, in many dark respects.

And what makes him even more dangerous is that he’s operating at a time like no other.

Americans are locked in information bubbles and social echo chambers where truths and nonconforming perspectives can’t get in as lies are traded like political currency. Meanwhile, younger generations are deprived of the focus on history and civics that was once a staple of public school education.

This being the case, we believe it is our duty to our readers and community to point out how this presidency and the Trumpist phenomena disfigure our nation.

The point here isn’t to take potshots, to pile on or to have fun at someone else’s expense.

We have a president who is doing nothing less than trying to tear apart the American system of government, vandalize the core ideas that define Americans and defile what is great and good about this nation. We will fight all of that to the last drop of ink.

In May 1918, Theodore Roosevelt wrote the following in an editorial for the Kansas City Star: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

We agree.

Signed: Brian Greenspun, publisher and editor