U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday accused Democrats of being “un-American” and “treasonous” for their lack of applause during his State of the Union address last week when he spoke of rising wages and historically low African-American unemployment.
I served alongside soldiers of many different political stripes. Sometimes we agreed. Sometimes we disagreed.
One thing we all agreed on was this core philosophy1:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
By labeling disagreement – not even that, just mere lack of loud approval of Trump – as “un-American” and “treasonous”, there is no defense of this administration.
There is no pretending there’s a silver lining, that this is a matter of simple disagreements on policy. This, here, is when Trump has openly declared himself to be against America.2
We have a man who wants to be dictator in the White House, surrounded by his cronies and enablers.
He is right about one thing – this is not a time to be silent, not a time to be civil and restrained.
This is a time to roar our loathing of dictators and fascists.
Take us home, Cap.
Listen to me — all of you out there! You were told by this man — your hero — that America is the greatest country in the world! He told you that Americans were the greatest people — that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly! He went on about how precious America was — how you needed to make sure it remained great! And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that is America!
Well, I saw America is nothing! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash! A nation is nothing! A flag is a piece of cloth!
I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could as easily be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different from them! When I returned, I saw that you nearly did turn America into nothing! And the only reason you’re not less than nothing — is that it’s still possible for you to bring freedom back to America!”
1The quote is often attributed to Voltaire, but is actually by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
2There were lots and lots of reasons to oppose Trump before now; this one is fundamentally against every last shred of American life.