Trump Is No Martyr.

He’s the victim (and the beneficiary) of the hate he himself created.

From the beginning of his presidential ambitions, violence and talk of violence have been a feature, indeed the central theme, of Trump’s rallies and his administration.

He has aimed his hatred at immigrants and refugees, at Muslims and people of color, at Mexicans and Latinos, at Chinese and other Asians, at liberals and Democrats, even at the infants and children of immigrants.

And at the end of his administration, he inspired his followers to violently attack police, members of Congress, and his own vice-president.

Trump encouraged his supporters to rough up protestors at his rallies. He ordered federal agencies to attack non-violent demonstrators to clear the streets for his photo-op of holding a Bible upside-down in front of a church he never attended.

He embraced violent gangs like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. He expressed absolutely no regret for his supporter’s brutal attack on Paul Pelosi. As an attention-seeking playboy of the 80s, he paid for a full-page ad calling for the execution of the Central Park Five – five innocent young black men falsely accused of a horrific crime.

And now he stands to benefit from an apparent assassination attempt by a member of his own hateful political party. As a result of the attack, some media have already pronounced him the winner of this year’s presidential election.

Why?

Trump very much created an atmosphere of hatred, violence and political division. He and his allies are responsible for thousands of death threats against political rivals, election workers, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. They have created Project 2025, a 900-page plan for a fascist, autocratic government that will take power should Trump once again occupy the White House.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he deserves to die from the violence he created. But he sure as hell shouldn’t benefit from it! From the assassination attempt, he only suffered a scratched ear and the embarrassment of falling out of his 3- inch lift shoes while one rally-goer was killed, and others critically wounded.

Save your sympathy for them and others who deserve it.

America’s Great Character Test.

Each 4th of July, we celebrate Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress. That act, of course, led to the Revolutionary War, our freedom from a tyrannical king and the world’s longest-lasting democratic experiment.

It was called an experiment by our nation’s founders because they were uncertain if our citizens could maintain it. Though the Constitution was written to “establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” the framers could not guarantee that it would last.

They were right to be worried.

Since the original Independence Day, our nation has faced a number of critical tests. Tests that have required character, courage, determination, luck and a great deal of our citizens’ blood. From its beginning, the Revolution was very much in doubt. Even after the defeat of British forces, we had to face them again in the War of 1812. Then came the Civil War, a war testing the founders’ original belief that “all men are created equal.”

World War II again put the future of our nation in doubt as it raised the question of whether or not we could defeat the cruelty of fascism.

Of course, we passed each and every test. But it remains to be determined if we can fend off fascism and tyranny from within.

Ironically, just prior to this Independence Day, our nation’s highest court has made the defense of liberty and democracy much more difficult. Following years of political division and challenges to the rule of law by former president Trump and his supporters, the court’s highly partisan MAGA majority ignored one of the founders’ most intensely held beliefs – that no man is above the rule of law. Their decision has not only delayed justice for Trump’s illegal activities. Should Trump be elected again, the court has given him immunity for “official acts” no matter how corrupt or cruel they may be.

We all know that Trump’s mindset has always been that of a narcissistic, sociopathic bully – one who was mentored by Roy Cohn, attorney to Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the New York Mafia. During his term in office, Trump was held partially in check by men of good conscience. Men like John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, Gen. Mark Milley, and, in the end, V.P. Mike Pence.

But, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 and Trump’s Agenda 47, should Trump be re-elected, no one of good conscience will be anywhere near him. The entire executive branch, and virtually the entire government will be filled with tens of thousands of Trump loyalists. Unfettered by legal and ethical constraints, Trump will be free to do what bullies do – seize power and exact retribution on anyone and everyone he considers an enemy.

His enemies list is already quite long. And it’s growing. It includes anyone who dares to question his decisions and who makes negative statements about him.

So, this November, Americans will face another test that will determine the future of our democratic experiment – a character test. Will we choose a leader, such as Joe Biden, a man who has long proven to be of good character? A leader who, though you may or may not agree with his policies, believes in democracy to his core. A man who has accomplished much in his political career. Who led us out of the pandemic. Who helped put our economy back on firm footing. Who engineered a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

A leader whose policies have led to near full employment, record wage growth, and record stock markets. A man who has taken on some of the world’s greatest problems, such as wealth disparity and climate change. A man, who unlike Trump, stands for truth. A man who has never been divorced, who has never been convicted of a felony or defamation or sexual assault. A man who has never needed to pay hush money to women with whom he has had affairs. A man who has never created a fraudulent “university” or a fraudulent charity. A man who has never led an attack on our government and institutions.

Indeed, the biggest knock against him is his age and the fact that he botched a debate when overwhelmed by Trump’s avalanche of lies.

Or will we choose a lying, womanizing, false prophet and conman totally lacking in character? A man who is known to admire the world’s worst strongmen and who will undoubtedly emulate them. A man who sees our government as a personal piggy bank. A man who will try to turn the world order upside down by embracing our nation’s enemies and alienating our greatest allies.

But the decision isn’t just about the candidates’ character. It’s about yours.