Signature significance on Ethics Alarms means a single aspect of an individual’s conduct that all by itself is proof positive of an untrustworthy character because an ethical individual will not behave that way ever, not even once. Trump hatred and the unquenchable desire to punish him for his very existence (and daring to be elected President, thus foiling Hillary Clinton’s dreams) was mostly the result of people living in an echo chamber and trusting a corrupt media: decent ethical people fell victim to Trump Derangement. But the determination to persecute him now cannot be excused. It is the mark of someone who has allowed, as Richard Nixon observed on the way into the helicopter, hate to destroy him. Such people are untrustworthy, and they show us the ugliness of irrational anger and bitterness.
Too many such people have power and influence right now.
A friend sent me this article in the Washington Post, my home-town paper whose unethical bias became so extreme that I switched to the New York Times, which is a bit like choosing a heart attack over brain cancer. It is quite amazing: in it, the art and architecture critic for the paper insists that Donald Trump should be blocked by law from having a Presidential library. Why? Oh, the critic says, Trump incited an “insurrection”! Besides, “even a privately funded and operated Trump presidential library, which would be devoted to whitewashing his record and rewriting history, is a terrible and even dangerous idea…. given Trump’s alleged misuse of charitable funds, including self-dealing, waste and other illegal activities, at his now dissolved New York-based foundation….” And “any intention to start another public entity can only be considered a crime scene waiting to happen.” Plus, “…the danger of Trump using a presidential library to burnish his image is far more serious, with the ex-president and his surrogates still promoting the idea that his electoral loss was somehow fraudulent. That creates an ongoing uncertainty in American public life, which Trump and even more unscrupulous actors will use to further division, inflame tension, exacerbate racism and delegitimize the American democratic system.”
And the Washington Post published this incompetent, prolonged, unhinged rant! Well…
- Phillip Kennicott, the art critic, has no business whatsoever writing about law and legislation. His main expertise is classical music; how he got to be an architect critic I don’t know, but he clearly knows zilch about the law and little about politics other than what he hears in the Post’s own echo chamber.
- President Trump did not “exacerbate racism” though Barack Obama (with his Taj Mahal of Presidential libraries in progress) did; he didn’t delegitimize the system, though his critics have tried awfully hard to do so; and “alleged” misconduct when Trump wasn’t President is irrelevant to a Presidential library.
- Of course (I say of course because anyone who has the audacity to advocate Congress passing a special law aimed at a single individual should know this) what Kennicott is advocating is a Bill of Attainder, and unconstitutional per se.
- Every Presidential library is devoted to “burnishing the image” of the President so-honored, often to a ridiculous extent. The Kennedy Library is, to anyone who knows more about Jack and Bobby than the tune of “Camelot,” is head-exploding, to cite one example that I’ve been forced to endure more than once. Why should only Donald Trump, among all the Presidents, be prevented from telling his story his way, with warts and blemishes removed, when he was probably more misrepresented to the public during his term than any other?
- “A crime waiting to happen”? Punishing someone for what you think they might do in the future is also unconstitutional, and a bright line violation of human rights. Gee, couldn’t the Post have assigned this column to one of its movie critics? They also know nothing about the law, but at least they probably saw “Minority Report.”
I knew Ann Althouse would be on this story, since she reads the Post routinely. The comments-–there were 130+ last I checked—are unanimously critical of the article, even though Ann’s readership has some anti-Trump zealots. I think my favorite comment, picking up on another commenter’s “They sure are desperate to shut Trump down. They don’t act like people secure in their ‘victory.’ They’re afraid of him, and his supporters,” who added. “They are acting like Trump got about 75 million votes and Biden got about 63 million votes and they had to pause counting in 6 states all at the same time and count some votes after kicking observers out.”
Heh. “Somehow” fraudulent. Why would anyone suspect such a thing?
It is also signature significance for a newspaper to print such uninformed, unsupported, unsupportable garbage by an expert operating sofar out of his lane.
I have long believed that Presidential libraries as they have evolved are ego palaces and a waste of money. I wouldn’t visit the Donald Trump Presidential library (or, for that matter, the Carter, Bush, Clinton or Obama libraries) if they were across the street from my house. But in this matter as in so many others, Donald Trump has managed to cause the bitter elites to show us just how awful they are. It’s useful information; for example, now that I know how susceptible Phillip Kennicott is to bias and unreasoning hate, and how he is willing to assert as fact things that aren’t even defensible opinions, I know that he can’t be trusted as an art critic either.