“God damn America”
– Reverend Jeremiah Wright
“The election is rigged.” – Candidate Donald Trump
Way back in March, 2008 “God damn America!” was splashed over the airways and press from sea to shining sea. Then Senator Barack Obama was in the midst of a heated contest against Hillary Clinton and in the middle of it, ABC News had unearthed snippets of scorching sermons by Obama’s then pastor, Jeremiah Wright. All hell subsequently broke loose as Jeremiah Wright was made to look a traitor and Obama guilty by association.
Resolute, Obama responded with one of the greatest speeches we’ll ever hear, “A More Perfect Union” – a speech so powerful that the stormy controversy largely died out. The rest is history, with two term President Obama now enjoying a 55% approval rating as he concludes the victory lap of his impressive presidency.
Much of the outrage against Reverend Wright was falsely placed. Few knew Wright’s character and few bothered studying the actual sermon. Few knew Wright was veteran, uniquely serving both in the Marines and in the Navy, even earning a commendation for serving President Johnson personally during surgery. And few knew that his sermon was actually a call for national repentance from continuous war and spoke for a godlier nation. Instead, America was affronted by the provocative verbiage and we recoiled that some black pastor inner-city pastor would critique us so harshly.
Now, along comes a much more prominent character. Along comes a presidential candidate worth billions, gifted with all the pomp and power a privileged American life can bestow. Along comes a celebrity with a voice reaching not 6,000 poor folks in a gritty Chicago area church, but rather, with a megaphone voice screaming at 350 million Americans, day and night. And along comes this amplified, larger than life voice from a man who, unlike Wright, never gave of himself in national service, hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years, who’s morals are a national joke, and even who’s charitable donations have now come under scrutiny. Along comes, despite all the blessings America can bestow, a singularly selfish and self-absorbed man who strikingly calls us not to repentance, but calls instead for our electoral demise.
Trump’s closing message isn’t a plea for a godlier, more humane government. No – his big message for the people is one of constitutional sedition: “This election is rigged, it’s rigged folks,” And he implies not to honor it.
On and on Trump rails, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day.” “We may have people vote 10 times.” “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media – but also at many polling places.”
Trump’s closing statement to America? “Our election is rigged, our system is rigged, and there’s a coordinated power scheming to rig the outcome of our democratic process.” Trump’s stump speeches have become a daily debasement of that bedrock of our democracy – the integrity of our electoral system.
This is as close to sedition as we’ve seen any politician ever go. For all the hate Americans spewed on Reverend Wright, Wright never claimed we were illegitimate. Trump, however, tells us our trust and faith in our democratic government is misplaced and that American democracy is nothing more than a rigged gig, controlled by some unknown Cable. He’s telling us we’re dumb and gullible voters participating in nothing more than a scheme.
Asked by the New York Times if he would support the election results, Trump undercut us, “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens.” As outrageous as Trump’s been, when he loses he might just call for a boycott of results, morphing his 39% followers into 50 million anti-government seditionists.
Donald Trump betrays the democratic principles upon which our democracy is built. He discredits not just his opponent, but our government system itself, from its very roots, upward. Trump is delegitimizing both the next president and the election process itself. If not treason, Trump is certainly treading on sedition against the constitution,
Reverend Wright evoked our wrath for caustically exposing our bad past actions with his call for national repentance. Far more damning than Wright’s “God damn America” quip, Trump has crossed into sedition against our constitutional government.
Thoughtful commentators and politicians alike are aghast where all this leads. Trump’s takes us to unchartered territory. Some feel nearly anything could happen – but this much is sure: Should Trump lose, he’s caused tens of millions of Americans to disbelieve their own electoral system. He will have discredited the next president and the nation, itself.
Wright caught hell for his roughly worded call to national repentance. A far greater national anger must surely be aimed at Donald Trump, a seditious candidate who purposefully undermines American democracy.
Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.