Ethical Quote Of The Day: Columnist Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

“Trump could win. He could become president, commander in chief, ruler of the Justice Department and head of the IRS. In other words, the American people could elect someone who has not the slightest appreciation for the Constitution or American tradition. When Trump insisted that he could compel a military officer to obey an illegal order, I heard the echo of jackboots on cobblestone…. It does no good to argue that Trump is just doing a shtick, that he means little of what he says, that he is all swagger and bluff. Trouble is, his supporters do not see him that way. They take him at his word.

History nags. It admonishes. “American exceptionalism” is a phrase that refers to the past, not necessarily the future. Nothing is guaranteed. I’d like to think that Americans really are exceptional, that we have an exceptional faith in democracy and the rule of law. I now have some doubt. I always knew who Trump was. It’s the American people who have come as a surprise.”

—— Eccentric liberal  political columnist Richard Cohen in his essay, “Trump has taught me to fear my fellow Americans”

Richard Cohen is an odd duck in the world of liberal punditry. He is often emotional rather than rational; he wears his biases on his sleeve, and his ethical quirks are legion: for example, he is an infamous apologist for sexual harassment, and therefore Bill Clinton. He is not unperceptive, however, and I feel obligated to recognize him for one of the few times I have been in total agreement with his analysis.

I may have to start a new category called “Ethical Quotes About Donald Trump.” I promise if I ever encounter an ethical that is positive about The Donald’s divisive and dangerous candidacy, you’ll be among the first to learn about it. My assumption is that never the twain shall meet.

20 thoughts on “Ethical Quote Of The Day: Columnist Richard Cohen

  1. I’m suspect of just about anything Richard Cohen says. When he compares Trump to a Nazi he makes a fool of himself. Trump may be totally ignorant of the Constitution and make some incredible stupid decisions if he is elected president, but I find no evidence that he intends to institute a fascist regime in America. Cohen is also the guy that was repulsed about de Blasio’s black wife and bi-racial kids.

    • Your point is forced. He says he hears When Trump insisted that he would “compel a military officer to obey an illegal order.” So do I. That’s the statement of an aspiring dictator. What does it mean to you? My father, who in fact DID refuse to follow illegal orders as a soldier, once listed examples for me, primarily among them ordering soldiers to target civilians, torture, and kill POWs. Trump’s statement is evidence per se. So is the accurate description that Trump has no understanding or respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. He has, for example, expressed w willingness to muzzle the press. His ridiculously rounding up of all illegal immigrants and their families has Third Reich written all over it, because that’s exactly what the effort would look and feel like.

      Moreover, “hearing echoes” means “uncomfortably close”—not that Trump is, in fact, a fascist.

      • Rounding up illegal aliens has nothing to do with what was done in Nazi Germany. They are here illegally and people are sick and tired of having them getting free medical care, food stamps, and taking jobs away from people who are citizens or here legally. It’s probably impossibly to deport all of them, but those convicted of felonies should definitely go back to Mexico, Central America, or wherever they come from. No more sanctuary cites where they can hide out!!

        • That’s a willfully dishonest or shockingly obtuse reply, Wayne. I didn’t say that illegal immigration has anything to do with putting Jews in box cars, but both involved forced removal from homes on a grand scale, and this is something American cannot and must not do as a matter of both principle and appearances. Anyone who doesn’t think Holocaust when considering the ugliness of rounding up 13 million residents and shipping them away is trying to ignore the obvious. Waited too long, can’t do it. Simple as that. Ethics requires reality.

          • I did not say round up 13 million illegal aliens. I do think it’s possible to find and deport all the felons. As far as the rest, end welfare for illegal aliens, fine contractors heavily who employ them, and consider starting the process to pass an amendment to the constitution to re-define just who is a citizen.

            • Wayne, you aren’t running for President. Yes, kick out the felons, even the minor lawbreakers: fine. Trump said all of the illegals, and even evoked a bogus Ike policy to argue it was possible. Even saying that you (that is, Trump, not Wayne) want to throw out 13 million illegals–and it could be more—shows the cluelessness to US values Cohen is talking about.

  2. “I’d like to think that Americans really are exceptional, that we have an exceptional faith in democracy and the rule of law. I now have some doubt. I always knew who Trump was. It’s the American people who have come as a surprise.”

    In the broad sense, someone has to tell Mr. Cohen that he’s supposed to fear his fellow Americans. Our Founders, being smart guys, knew that people could be stinkers, and they had no interest in making it easy for them to act in concert. They intentionally spread power widely.

    Moving forward, does Cohen have any idea that he is writing EXACTLY the story of how people to the right of center felt twenty years ago, when they found that there was nobody on the left to support the rule of law, even in an area of the law that was supposedly championed by the left? What would happen if the President was held to be above the law was made very clear then, and the choice before us now is exactly what was foretold.

    Today, yes, I’m afraid of my fellow Americans. I’m primarily afraid, though, that we’ve had organized street gangs operating in the country for 3-5 years, trying to disrupt the economy, the judicial system, and now the election itself. You can talk all you want about the words and potential of one candidate, but this is EXISTENT fascist behavior that has to be disavowed and stopped, or else it will spawn a corresponding reaction. We have to walk back from that, and this is where Mr. Cohen’s primary fear should be right now.

    • Moving forward, does Cohen have any idea that he is writing EXACTLY the story of how people to the right of center felt twenty years ago, when they found that there was nobody on the left to support the rule of law, even in an area of the law that was supposedly championed by the left?

      I’m sure he doesn’t, but I do. So I understand that “Do unto others as they did unto us” is not just ethical, and is a time-tested recipe for disaster.

      • Moving forward, does Cohen have any idea that he is writing EXACTLY the story of how people to the right of center felt twenty years ago, when they found that there was nobody on the left to support the rule of law, even in an area of the law that was supposedly championed by the left? What would happen if the President was held to be above the law was made very clear then, and the choice before us now is exactly what was foretold.

        I suspect there were such voices- but they were drowned out by the network broadcast media who chose to cover up wrongdoing instead.

  3. “I’m sure he doesn’t, but I do. So I understand that “Do unto others as they did unto us” is not just ethical, and is a time-tested recipe for disaster.”
    Just want to make sure I understand you…”Just not ethical”, yes?

  4. Here are reasons to fear our fellow Americans. Just look at beliefs held by so many of them:

    – Employers impose their religion and violate women’s rights if they refuse to offer health care coverage that includes contraception without co-pay, but somehow do not do this by refusing to offer coupons for BevMo.
    Citizens United means that corporations are people.
    – Requiring government officials to do their jobs violates religious freedom.
    – Universities are perfectly competent to investigate rape claims
    – The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has the power to interpret law.
    – Hate speech is not free speech.
    – A public university’s code of conduct overrides the First Amendment.
    – Requiring a photo ID to vote is racist because it places a disparate burden on minorities,but universal background checks on firearm purchases would not be racist even though it would place a disparate burden of a greater magnitude.
    – Police are racist, and yet can be trusted with discretion as to who may carry a concealed weapon.
    – Schools punishing misconduct is racial discrimination.
    – Criminal background checks are racist.

    What other reasons are needed?

    • Michael, since your “Reasons To Fear…” has little or nothing to do with my fellow Americans but rather with the government they elect, I think I’ll keep on being friends with my neighbor. I’ll also keep a handle on my firearms lest the stupidity that elected Obama and is likely to elect HRC spills over into the street.

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