INTELLECTUAL HONESTY AND THE MORAL HIGH-GROUNDBy: Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army retired,January 11, 2021
The moral high-ground: That is what people around the world used to think of when the subject of the United States came up. It is where we want our leaders to reside but, unfortunately, it is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about our politicians.
The moral high-ground is not a place you are just entitled to be; you have to earn your way to that lofty spot through words and deeds. Additionally, there is a pathway to the moral high-ground and at the bottom of the hill, the street sign says, Intellectual Honesty Lane.
It is also important to point out that residing on the moral high-ground is not limited to we-the-people. Every organization and institution, no matter how large or small, has a culture associated with it. Stated another way, culture is an organization’s personality. It could be positive…..selfless, trustworthy, honest, morally stable……, you get the picture. Or, unfortunately, it could be a culture of blame, hate, self-serving, vengeful. The one thing that is common to all cultures is, “culture is a powerful and pervasive force”. If that definition is correct and I believe it is because it is mine, then it is a force to be reckoned with.
For the past four years, we have been subjected to our organization’s (the United States of America) culture of blame and hate. That is an ugly place to be.
The culture of blame has been growing for the past 25 years, is now deeply entrenched in our political structure, and has rendered our Congress hopelessly dysfunctional. The culture of hate is a relatively new-comer.
Background: President Obama set out in 2009 to, his words, “transform America.” Everything seemed to be moving toward the goal, big government with government control, and then Donald Trump happened.
In the lead-up to the 2016 election Trump told us what he was going to do…..fix immigration, fix the economy (every piece of it), rebuild the military, make our NATO allies more responsible, stop nuclear development in North Korea, challenge China’s move toward world economic domination, challenge Iran’s goal of Middle East hegemony, get tough on Russia, cut taxes for everyone, energy independence, Middle East peace, not start any new wars, shut down ISIS, free up small business expansion through deregulation, the list goes on. And then after elected, he had the audacity to accomplish all of it.
The political left was shocked when Donald Trump shredded their transformation plans. They hate him for it; not just a little bit but deep-seated, blind, illogical hatred. Hatred so intense that if you supported what he was accomplishing for every citizen then their hatred expanded to include you. They denigrated every one of his accomplishments and attacked his character by proclaiming him to be an active racist. The Trump haters moved to a place so dark they could not even see the moral high-ground let alone understand the importance of it.
The hatred was so strong they openly spoke of and planned for his impeachment. It started immediately after the 2016 election; Vanity Fair headline November 14, 2016: “Will Trump Be Impeached?” Vanity Fair December 15, 2016: “Democrats Are Paving the Way to Impeach Donald Trump.” In a Washington Post article, inauguration day, January 20, 2017 “The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun.” A recent TV montage showed a lineup of main-stream media journalists and/or leading democrat spokespersons every single month from January 2017 through January 2021 make reference to the imperative to impeach President Trump.
A culture of hate quickly swept across the nation and was embedded in the minds of possibly 75 -100 million citizens. The principal enabler for this rapid spread of hate was the main-stream media. Journalists quickly became the extended arm of the democrat party and its leaders.
With that background, let’s turn to the subject at hand, intellectual honesty, and the moral high-ground. When a president has successfully taken on decades-old domestic and world-wide problems and solved them, is it feasible that daily media reporting of the Trump Administration’s actions should be 93% negative continuously for four years? Can there be any intellectual honesty associated with 93% negativism? How is it even feasible that 75-100 million people would believe and foster 93% negative reporting? It can happen and did happen because of a powerful and pervasive culture of hatred.
Beyond my definition,” Culture is a powerful and pervasive force”, I believe that, “In order for it to endure, culture needs to be nourished and reinforced.” Knowing they can rely on the media to carry their dirty laundry, Trump-haters have bombarded us with their intellectual dishonesty and immorality. Examples:Maxine Watters, June 2018, screams to her supporters, “If you see anybody from this Cabinet in a restaurant, in a Department Store, in a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd! You push back on them! You tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!” And what did the democrat party and democrat leaders have to say about all that? Of course, nothing. In many instances like this one, it is good to remember that silence can be construed as consent.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently tweeted that lists of Trump supporters should be, “archived so they could be held accountable for their behavior.” Could anything be more un-American? Has she no knowledge of Germany in the 1930s or the USSR during the cold war? Without knowledge, there is little hope of seeing her on the moral high-ground.
Kamala Harris: In the wake of deadly fires and looting last summer, Harris asked her five million-plus Twitter followers to donate money to bail out the protesters and then commenting in June 2020 that the protesters “should not let up.” There is a long list of those who received cash for bail including, Jaleel who shot at members of a SWAT Team during the riots in May. He received $75,000 in cash to get out of jail. Darnika, charged with second-degree murder, received $100,000 for her release. The list is long. What was the push-back from her party for this outrageous behavior? Zero.
The American people are not impressed by this kind of intellectual flimflam. Where is the moral high-ground? And, by the way, did these ladies get their Twitter accounts suspended or even commented on? Nope!
Biden campaigned on a pledge to reunify the nation and I fully expect him to go on and on about it during his inauguration address. Any discussion of reunification should begin by defining the existing division but he won’t do that so his arguments may well ring hollow.
Here is what Joe will not say during his speech. Prior to 2016 conservatives and liberals disagreed about many aspects of US foreign and domestic policy. Nothing new about that; we have always had the majority of our population slightly left and right of an imaginary center line as well as a few relatively small lunatic fringe elements to the far left and right.
But what immediately emerged in 2016 was an enormous bulge on the left-of-center line consisting of many tens of millions of Trump haters. They are the “divide” that all liberal politicians talk about but will never admit they are the cause of the divide. The left’s leaders cannot see it because they are the divide; akin to “unable to see the forest for the trees.” By contrast, where did the conservatives go? Nowhere, we are still just to the right side of the centerline on policy issues. The culture of hatred towards Trump has nothing to do with policy, is it just pure unadulterated, stand-alone hatred.
So, Mr. Biden how do you go about reuniting the country? You and your party are all about identity politics. Democrats know how to divide Americans into identifiable groups and pander to them. I suggest you use some of that know-how.
President Trump is going away in a few days. You won. Forget about Trump; let the historians worry about him. Without Trump to kick around, the hate culture might begin to dissolve as an up-front-in-your-face daily issue. Additionally, journalists will hopefully find something more constructive to deal with. You have been saying for months that you want to be the president for all Americans. Unless that is just another campaign sound bite, you need to actually do something about it.
Seventy-five million Americans voted for President Trump. Look at them as your newest and most challenging identity group and do the following:
One, keep your antagonistic mouth shut about Trump. You hate every positive, successful policy he championed on behalf of all Americans. Stop running all the good accomplishments down. And watch what you say. Your sound bites are too often wrong and inflammatory. For example, on the Capitol Hill riot, 6 January, your knee-jerk reaction was to openly charge the president with insurrection. The immediate follow-on was that “insurrection” became the operative word description for use by the main-stream media. What happened on that day was tragic, poor judgement on the president’s part but it most certainly was not, “open revolt against a constituted government”, insurrection.
As an aside, calling the Capitol Police racist was not a smart move. You might want to remove that too-often-used word from your vocabulary going forward or perhaps get some new writers.
Two, pick up the phone and have a come-to-Jesus conversation with the single most vindictive person in government; Nancy Pelosi. What is to be gained by a presidential impeachment in his last few days in office? The answer is a resounding nothing, but there is a lot you can lose. Her actions on impeachment make you look weak. It makes her look like the leader of your party. Everyone knows, even the democrats, you are supposed to be leading and her actions are simply all about revenge. The leading constitutional authorities I have seen on TV since 6 January have been unanimous that the president’s words were not intended to result in a riot on Capitol Hill.
On impeachment, you have three choices; 1) support it, 2) not say anything or 3) emphatically and clearly tell we-the-people that impeachment is neither necessary nor appropriate. Choices 1 and 2 will be an enormous impediment to gaining the trust and respect of the 75 million Trump supporters.
Three, announce immediately (preferably at your inauguration) that you understand that about 90 million voters, republican, democrat and independents, want answers concerning potential fraud during the election. Tell us that you understand the importance of honest elections and if there was fraud anywhere it must be rooted out and the system fixed.
Doing those three things immediately will send a powerful and positive message to 75 million Trump supports. Your failure to do so will run the risk of shifting the left’s entire hate-bulge to the right side of the median.
Mr. President-elect Biden, you are about to ascend to the most challenging and prominent leadership position in the world. I ask that you keep intellectual honesty and the value of being on the moral high-ground upper-most in your mind and in the minds of senior leaders who surround you.