General Kelly Won’t Save Us

Be sure to read this to the end, lest the bright, shiny objects distract your view.

Reading time – 2:47; Viewing time – 4:25  .  .  .

General Kelly gave a heartfelt and impassioned presentation this week, invoking the death of his son in the line of duty. And he talked about what happens to the bodies of our fallen, as they are returned home for burial with honor. (Sidenote: Watch Kevin Bacon in the movie Taking Chance here or via your favorite online provider for a better understanding of how we honor our young men and women who have died in the line of duty.) Kelly’s presentation was all very patriotic, very heroic and astonishingly cynical.

For General Kelly to have used the sad death of his son and our empathy for the general to cover for the despicable attitude of disrespect shown by the President to a grieving widow is a profound assault on everything that smacks of decency.

I, and likely you, offer our condolences and caring to General Kelly for his profound loss. We care about him both as a father who has lost a son and a soldier who has lost one of his own. That stands, regardless of what he has done to cover for our amoral President. And it doesn’t excuse it.

General Kelly is now in the politics business. It is both our right and our duty as citizens to question what he says and does. That has become especially important now that he has formally joined the ranks of the Trump Prevaricators, an unholy club including Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Steve Mnuchin and others for whom verifiable, obvious truth carries no meaning. Let go of your hope that General Kelly will save us from Trump’s lunacy. That just isn’t going to happen.

It’s easy to get sucked into railing about the distortions, fantastical idiocies and outright lies of Trump and his fawning servants, but it would be a terrible mistake to do that.

You’re correct in seeing all the Trump craziness as craziness, but it’s actually far worse than that. Read Tom Friedman’s piece to better understand the strategy-less operations of this White House – make that of Trump – that leads to such staggeringly inappropriate – and at times self-destructive – behavior. Note that the “self” in the self-destructive behavior is you and me and America.

Next up in your government’s screw-you game is the long awaited tax reform bill that is actually a tax cut program for the fabulously wealthy. The Senate Republicans have barely managed to jam through a tax bill and toss it over the transom to the House to start the process of creating the detail of the next enrichment program for the rich. As usual it’s presented as a boon to working people and no, the Rs would never propose a bill that would primarily benefit already wealthy people and large corporations.

Except that what we know about this new iteration of dishonesty from Paul Ryan and the others owned by big special interests is that their plan will do exactly the opposite of what they claim it will do. In fact, it will strip a trillion-and-a-half dollars from Medicare and Medicaid – that means from you and me and from poor people – and deliver it to the super-rich in the form of tax breaks. Read Paul Krugman’s description and you’ll understand what rubes the Republicans apparently think we all are.

Here’s the key.

While all of these things and more are substantive, while issues of great importance and lasting impact are at stake, all of it pales in comparison to the Russian hacking and influencing of our election. And even that might be secondary to Trump and his team of bandits conspiring with the Russians to steal the election. That will be bigger if it’s true, because then we will know that we have lost America.

General Kelly won’t save us from our rot from within. That job is up to all of us.

So don’t allow yourself to be distracted by Trump’s bright, shiny and outrageous objects. Keep your eyes focused on the truth of what really happened.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we’re on a path to continually fail to make things better. It’s my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That’s the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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9 Responses to General Kelly Won’t Save Us
  1. dominickpalella Reply

    When General Kelly became Trump’s lackey, like all of the rest of his “spokespersons”, should we expect anything more from these loathsome individuals defending their pathological lying and morally reprehensible buffoon of a boss?

  2. John Calia Reply

    Once again your overemotional distaste for the president clouds your powers of reasoning. The real shame here is that an obscure Congresswoman chooses to take a personal dialog between the President of the United States and a grieving widow and make it into a political issue. If she had kept her big mouth shut, she would not be exposing the surviving family to the scrutiny of the press during this most difficult time.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      John, I’m surprised that you would see as a foul deed a friend who has a way to make her voice heard using her position in support of that family. To paraphrase your words, “If Trump had kept his big mouth shut, he would not be exposing the surviving family to the scrutiny of the press during this most difficult time.”

      The instigator – Trump – is the real perp here, John, and the Congresswoman’s objection is, in my opinion and that of millions of others, appropriate. Standing up to bullies is the right thing to do.

      You’re right on one count, though: I am emotional about this. Few things light my fire faster than seeing a bully abuse someone who can’t fully defend herself.

      More to the point, let’s not let Trump’s outrageousness or even my abhorrence of him become the issue. In the context of current reality, those are bright, shiny objects. Keep focused on what is most important. Our country is at risk.

      Put another way and in the context of the oath all of our leaders pledge, “To protect and defend from all enemies, both foreign and domestic . . .” There’s a domestic enemy attempting to unravel our country. Let’s stay focused on that.

      • John Calia Reply

        Perhaps I don’t know the facts. Wasn’t it the Congresswoman who first brought this to the attention of the press?

        • Jack Altschuler Reply

          Dunno. Doesn’t matter. What matters is punching the bully in the nose.

          • John Calia Reply

            What matters is that the widow of a fallen soldier has been dragged into a media morass at the most difficult time in her life. Was it not the Congresswoman who dragged her there???????

            • Jack Altschuler Reply

              Not comfortable with “dragged her there,” because it suggests some unwillingness on the part of the widow. There is no public evidence of that.

              What we know is that the Congresswoman was the principal at Sgt. Johnson’s school and a long term family friend. Her presence during the empathy-less phone call from the Commander-in-Chief was a coincidence, in that the call arrived as they were on the way to accept Sgt. Johnson’s remains. The Congresswoman’s speaking, perhaps in service to the widow, is entirely understandable. I find it hard to imagine that Mrs. Johnson felt in any way good about the call and likely was offended. We know that Sgt. Johnson’s mother and sister felt disrespected by the President. I don’t find it a large leap to imaging them in the car and asking the Congresswoman to address the disrespect. Again, I have not seen public evidence that the family asked the Congresswoman to speak for them, but I certainly can understand if they did.

              The main point, though, is not and should not be the Congresswoman. She was merely the messenger. The disrespecting perp is the President and we shouldn’t let his redirection succeed. This is simply the most recent episode of Trump’s abdication of accountability for his actions and attempt to de-focus us from his malfeasance.

              • John Calia Reply

                Once again, your blind hatred of the president has clouded your judgment. You imagine a lot in an effort to justify your position.

                • Jack Altschuler Reply

                  To be fair – and snarkless – I don’t hate Trump. I despise him for his cruelty both today and what he is setting up for tomorrow. I fear the damage he’s doing. He is without a moral compass, so I have no confidence in anything he says or does. His policy “positions” have turned out to be nothing more substantive than his whim-of-the-moment, which he reverses effortlessly, while claiming that he never had a view different from whatever he’s spouting this afternoon. And he’s tweaking the nose of a nuclear dictator. What could possibly go wrong?

                  In short, I trust Trump to be completely and thoroughly untrustable. My criticisms are about the things he’s said and done, the harm he is causing and what all of that says about who he is and what we can count on. That is to say, my name calling of him – like ‘reprehensible’ – represents my judgments of what I observe, in contrast to Trump, whose name calling is solely to disparage and defeat.

                  Blind hatred? I don’t think so.