The Trump M.O.: If it Quacks like a Duck, Do You Suppose it Could Still Be a Llama? | Opinion | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Trump M.O.: If it Quacks like a Duck, Do You Suppose it Could Still Be a Llama? 

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Sen. Mike Lee is performing the tasks of an able assistant in dismantling American democracy. His tenacity to party-over-principles is a disgrace to him and to our state, and he's made it crystal-clear that he will adhere to Republican marching orders. And yet, we've recently seen a bit of healthy spine; he is taking a stand on the matter of President Donald Trump's ability to wage war without properly consulting with Congress. So maybe he's not totally worthless.

Although I can't be quite as critical of Sen. Mitt Romney. He, too, has shown a disturbing reserve in condemning the corruption of King Trump and his court. Romney gives us a glimmer of hope as he opens his mouth and, for just a moment, seems to have some clarity. But then it gets all foggy as he tries to determine how he can speak up without taking a risk. That's the reality of a system that relies on popularity and politics; each man might want to do the right thing but fears the negative impact on his constituency and on the companies that, without any legal restraints, use dollars and favors to control election outcomes.

If our form of government relies on any two things, they are, 1. The system of checks and balances between the three branches of government and, 2. Strict adherence to the law of the land. What we have seen since Trump's first day in the White House is the desecration of these foundational principles. If the poor bastard hadn't run for president, he could probably have ducked below the radar and given the slip to the dogs of justice. Oh, sure, he would have likely been prosecuted for his various financial crimes, but money has a way of mitigating responsibility, and he, no doubt, would have bought his way out of a prison sentence. His disrespect for boundaries doesn't stop at women's crotches. He respects nobody, and he's been able to gather a shitload of other thugs to make sure he gives justice the slip. Among them are the tightly packed conservative court appointments and an attorney general who will do handstands and double-flips in order to please the man who gave him that post. Attorney General William Barr, of course, is a disgrace; he's exactly the kind of top justice official whom the likes of Pinochet or Stalin would have surely picked. With his "support team" of our country's slimiest swamp creatures, Trump has reason to believe he will not have to answer to the law.

I know this observation is nothing original. Every American, with principles and conscience, should be deeply frustrated. After all, while we were making jokes about the iron-fisted control of some of history's worst despots—with their kangaroo courts, curfews and hit-squads—we never dreamed it could happen here. Oh, the naivety of our citizens—to believe that there was an immense no-man's land between our system and history's worst regimes. Wrong. What scares me is how close we've gotten to having a banana republic right here in La La Land. State-sponsored murder? Yes, we have it. Corrupt, politicized justices? That's right, we have those, too. Suspension of civil liberties? If you haven't seen them, you're not paying attention. State-mandated discrimination against minorities? Only the brain-dead could be missing it, and yet our own senators seem unable to call a spade a spade. Money, power and politics are effective blinders.

Years ago, I went deer hunting with some relatives. We were walking across a hillside when a shot suddenly rang out. Fifty yards ahead, an animal fell, and we all turned to look at the shooter. "You idiot! That was an elk," we all chimed in. Similarly, I think many Americans and their legislators are afraid to correctly identify the beast. If the creature quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, waddles, and paddles furiously when pursued, why would anyone argue that it's a llama or a frog?

What we're seeing and hearing from the abortion in the White House is a continuous loop of lies—lies aimed at invalidating the rule of law, and, particularly, lies to avoid taking responsibility for his flagrant abuses of power, including some patently treasonous acts.

While his bird-brained tweets help usher in every new day, I can assure you, Trump is no canary. If a legislator isn't canny enough to understand the gravity of the situation, he or she doesn't belong on Capitol Hill. In the U.K., though it's still a kingdom, the people's voice does matter. When their government is no longer serving the population, voters can send the whole kit-and-kaboodle packing. (I can almost see the lightbulbs twinkling in your brains.) You and I both understand that our leaders must be held to strict standards. Trump isn't the only one who needs to be impeached.

Mike and Mitt, open your eyes and believe me. It's a duck.

The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send comments to

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