Friday, July 26, 2019

If I Don't Write This, Bees Gonna Fly Straight Out My Face

When I was a teenager my church added the young women values to our personal progress program. I had to memorize one of them for a talk: Integrity—I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.

I have thought about this value every day since Donald Trump became president. He is motivated entirely by self interest and not by notions of right and wrong. Similarly, the people who surround him lack the moral courage to speak truth to power. It's a sad state of affairs. This hasn't been a typical administration change that occurs every 4-8 years with its accompanying growing pains. The Trump presidency marks a singular low point in U.S. politics.

Recall what the Deseret News editorial board wrote in October 2016, just before the election:
"We prefer to stand for something rather than against someone. But this is one of those rare moments where it is necessary to take a clear stand against hucksterism, misogyny, narcissism and latent despotism that infect the Trump campaign even as we hope for a more auspicious future of liberty, prosperity and peace for the nation."
I wish 2016 had gone a different way—any other way. I voted for Hillary Clinton, but I'm sick of the misogynistic and stupid things people say about her so, let's not. Do you know who I wish were president right now? I wish Jeb Bush or John Kasich were president right now. There was even a time when I was rooting for Marco Rubio to be the republican nominee. I know! I laugh about it now.

Besides Trump, every other candidate was a basically normal, minimally deserving human being. If one of them had been elected I would have gotten riled up from time to time about a few issues I really care about, but life would have gone on. And I would have remained mostly unaware of the dark arts of Mitch McConnell. Sure, Mitch McConnell is an unprincipled power-grubbing pod person, but I could have lived with that knowing that some day he and his wife will have to be everyone's servants in the telestial kingdom, which is going to be so funny.

Instead, the situation is much more troubling. Donald Trump is terrible.  He never rises to the occasion. His better angels can't be found. He stokes racial grievance and emboldens white nationalists. He disparages U.S. allies, disparages U.S. citizens, disparages U.S. government agencies, breaks commitments, doesn't read briefings, won't listen, isn't articulate, isn't transparent, flouts rules, loses his temper, coarsens discourse, diminishes American values, and has made America worse by virtue of his presidency.

Here's a reckoning of the non-partisan issues that bother me.

Character Flaws and Moral Shortcomings

Donald Trump has multiple, credible rape and sexual harassment charges against him. Let's set that aside.


He regularly lies, is unprepared, uses inflammatory language, swears, wastes time, misspells words, is mean to people, feels sorry for himself, talks bad about people, and embodies the opposite of everything I've ever taught my children about being a good person.

Do you like having this kind of a person as our president? I hate it.

Cheating for Personal Gain

Donald Trump has been compromised by his financial interests since the first day of his presidency. Everyone knows this. All presidents "divest" when they get elected so their businesses don't have an unfair advantage while they're president—like how Jimmy Carter had to divest from his peanut farm. Not Trump. Why? Because where all former presidents were bound by tradition and decency, Trump isn't.

Trump regularly cheats for personal gain. It's not fair. Consider two examples: 1) The $100k membership fee for Mar a Lago doubled to $200k shortly after Trump was elected. 2) When Donald Trump stays at Trump Tower in NYC, the American tax payers pay for the Secret Service to occupy a whole floor in the apartment building. All of this money goes into Donald Trump's pocket.  He's profiting off of the presidency. Not fair.

The other problem with Trump's behavior is that it opens him up to extreme outside influence. Ever feel indebted to people who shop at your store or give you a good deal? What about people who loan you money? The president has deep financial entanglements with other countries, especially Russia. This is not ok if you're the leader of the free world, sis.

Gangster Mentality and Obstruction of Justice

Trump and his cronies behave like thugs. It's so unbecoming.

Here's something that happened and it takes zero detective work to figure it out: Russia interfered with U.S. elections and helped Trump win. This help was welcomed by Trump (not rejected and not reported). Trump won. Then Trump reduced sanctions on Russia. Quid pro quo.

Trump tried to cover up this endeavor by saying his team was simply wishing Russia a "Merry Christmas" and talking about adoption. Just because it's unsophisticated and totally obvious doesn't mean it isn't obstruction of justice. Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have been charged, tried, and convicted of all kinds of mobster-type stuff like tax fraud, bank fraud, and lying to the FBI. No actually, we're talking about the Trump administration, and not some third-rate Barzini operative from Godfather II who—I'm sorry to say—even Fredo is smarter than.

Here's another thing that happened: Trump had an affair (or let's say he didn't, if it makes you feel better). Trump used campaign funds as hush money to make sure the woman didn't say anything before the election.  Well, this is illegal. And Michael Cohen is going to jail for violating campaign finance laws while his unindicted co-conspirator sits behind the Resolute desk.

These people? They are the worst.

GOP Enabling

Trump is bad, but our system is designed to survive bad presidents. There are processes in place for executive oversight. After the disappointment of the election, I remained hopeful that Congress would act as a check on the president's power. Recall the news about my former representative and oversight committee chair Jason Chaffetz the day the Access Hollywood tapes came out:
"After the leaked tape, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Mormon politician, pulled his support for Trump. 'I'm out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,' he said." 
I know. He laughs about it now.

With few exceptions, republican members of congress have become Trump enablers. It is grotesque. The failure of my local leaders to speak truth to power has been particularly disappointing to me personally. Maybe it was naive, but I expected the leaders who represent me and who share my faith to care about the issues I care about and to feel bipartisan repugnance toward Trump. This has not been the case.

John Curtis voted against the resolution condemning Trump's racist tweets. Voting for a resolution condemning racism is, like, the least you can do. And this resolution was going to pass with or without his vote. So I guess holding out on condemning Trump's racism was. . . a . . . symbolic vote?

Gentlemen from Utah: That ain't it.

Immigration and Detention Centers at the Border

The worst thing about this administration is its treatment of families and, especially, children in detention centers at the border. Children who arrive with parents have been intentionally separated from them by the U.S. Border Patrol to deter people from coming here. It doesn't work and it's inhumane.

Did you know that record keeping on the border has been so poor that the government now admits that hundreds of children are likely permanently orphaned because the government has no ability to reconstruct who they crossed with and who their parents are? This is just one hideous fact among many.

What's happening at the border is wrong.

I disagree with the unkind things Trump says about Mexicans, that he thinks American members of congress should "go back where they came from," that he wants to ban Muslims, that he wants to reject asylum seekers and refugees.

Every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should have sympathy for asylum seekers and refugees because our church was founded by a ragged group of them. One of the raggediest of founders, Joseph Smith, said,
"If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a 'Mormon,' I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race."
For me the worst part of all of this has been discovering that there is an audience for Trump's divisiveness. Granted, low-information voters didn't know exactly what they were getting, but plenty of people did know. The writing was on the wall before election day:


I still can't believe it. And it's not just strangers from other places who went for Trump—Utah went for Trump. Many of my family members, students, ward members, neighbors, and friends voted for him and approve of what he's doing. I'm trying to see other viewpoints and understand how this happened, but I can't get over it and I refuse to accept that I just need a more cynical outlook on politics.

It's not right. None of it.

David Frum writes in his book Trumpocracy, "As Trump's enablers are careless, cynical, shortsighted, morally obtuse, and rancorous, so Trump's opponents must be thoughtful, idealistic, wise, morally sensitive, and conciliatory."

This is basically what I'm going for. Join me! Also, if your representatives have moral courage and will listen to you, call them. Most of mine don't, and won't, so I'm at a loss. But I'm prepared to keep my faith in democracy just to spite them.


  1. Well said - point by point you have nailed it!

    1. Thanks, Barb. I wish we could commiserate in person.

  2. Oh this makes me so sad. I have survived the last few years by living in utter denial and ignorance. But as you've said, at some point you need to speak before bees fly out your face. Thanks for your brave words (can you believe it is controversial in our neighborhoods to speak out against some of this stuff?). I appreciate you.

    1. I appreciate you. Thanks for reading.

  3. Kacy - you knocked it out of the park once again. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you. And thanks for reading this!

  4. 110% agree with this!

  5. it is hard to read your article with a straight face... because it is clear your JUDGEMENT is flawed. If as a "follower of Christ" you pre judge someone to be in a certain kingdom, and you are glad they will be your servant? So no one is allowed to make mistakes or act undignified, in your opinion? What about Samson, He made some pretty big mistakes, and God still used him to fulfill his purpose in the end. Any Republican running in the 2016, would have been slaughtered by the LEFT media and party. Dug up anything they could, and falsely i would assume as well.
    By example search on Dirt on Jeb Bush... its all there, medicare fraud and mortgage fraud. So by your logic, those who support Trump are not true disciples of Christ. It is flawed. Hillary has paid off affairs, and taken money from countries who are oppressive, yells obscenities at her staff. Your logic is flawed. When you speak in absolutes and draw judgments on others for support for one candidate than another, this is anything but tolerant or productive to progress.

  6. Hannah shared this with me (possibly because she knows I avoid FB). I'm so glad she did! I feel exactly as you do about that horror show sitting at the Resolute desk, and I am super happy to see a post on Weezer! ...I always loved Weezer's music (the blue album came out when I was in seventh grade and I had a revived interest when the White Album and Pacific Daydream came out) and thought Rivers was a complete and total weirdo, but having read your thoughts, now I'm appreciating him, his band, and their place in my own history through a more thoughtful lens.

    I still post on my blog extremely sporadically, although I think about posting on it much more often. It feels like a nice cozy private-ish spot where I can be as open as I want to be because the only people who read it are the people who seek it out. When posting on social media I feel more vulnerable: it's like I'm in a crowded room shouting out what I think along with everyone else who's shouting too (and most of us are there in the room simply because we're bored), whereas on my blog I'm just saying it out loud in a normal voice to friends, who came over because they wanted to.

    1. I feel the same. Thank you for reading and for leaving an old school comment.

  7. Very well written and said. I feel exactly the same way. Its a nightmare! Thank you for blogging about this! I am LDS in Utah and I just cannot believe (I can't even type his name) that he is accepted in any way by anyone!

    1. It's terrible. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  8. Well said. I agree with every point, especially the need to speak. One good thing that's come from the last few years: Now I know exactly where I stand. I never identified completely with democrat or republican, but I don’t worry about that now. I look for where my values are represented, and that starts with ethics and integrity. And when I read or hear something good, I grab onto it with both hands.
    Another interesting thing: Next to the horrifying discovery that there is “an audience for Trump’s divisiveness,” I’ve seen some wonderful regular people step up and make a stand. And beautifully, many of them are women. We’re making our voices heard, insisting that our country can and should be a better place than it’s becoming. Unfortunately none of the stand-takers seem to be politicians, but the more we speak, the better chance we have of people in power being brave enough to cross that line and stand up to the Dark Side.
    Step away from the Dark Side, people. We’re moms, and we’ll make you cookies.

    1. I love your perspective. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. I am with you on all you spelled out. I feel like I am in a Twilight Zone episode when it comes to this current White House administration. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, it does feel like the Twilight Zone.

  10. Perfect. Every word. Thank you for taking the time to write it out. I'm going to print this, hang it on my fridge, and require all Sunday dinner attendees to read before the pass the salt.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it.


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