Democrats, show your mettle

May 27, 2019 GMT

The moment I saw our government was moving U.S. warships into the Persian Gulf, it went through my head, “This is Donald Trump making a campaign move.” It’s exactly how George W. Bush got reelected in 2004. Just what the Republicans ordered for upcoming election seasons — a war in the Middle East.

With every day bringing more ambiguities and opposing claims by the Department of Defense on the one hand, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton on the other, and Trump, as usual, thundering away with anti-Iranian threats, it is sadly apparent what is going on.

I wrote to Democratic leadership and urged counteraction, moves to restrain our out-of-bounds chief executive. “Now is the time to prove yourselves,” I wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to New Mexico’s senators and congressional representatives, to House committee chairmen. I’d like to say some stimulation, some meaningful action resulted. It did not.


Democrats these days simply stand around and say to each other, “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” as Trump and and company release one outrage after another against our nation’s interests. We get hands full of subpoenas levied against Attorney General William Barr and others who gleefully throw them into the trash. “Well, I’ve certainly never seen anything like that before,” echo House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Pelosi, their little forest bird, MSNBC host and political commentator Rachel Maddow, and the usual chorus of congressional do-nothings.

OK, folks. Don’t say you weren’t warned — by this writer and no doubt tens of thousands more. What are you afraid of? As Ike said, “Fish or cut bait.” As Harry Truman said — well, I can’t repeat here what he said, but it was to the point.

We now know Trump is a careless, reckless fool who will do anything to have his way, including, I do not doubt, cooking up a needless war. Will Democrats ever show their mettle, presuming they have some? Now is surely the time. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like it except maybe Woodrow Wilson and World War I, Harry Truman and the Korean War, Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam War, George H.W. Bush’s Desert Storm and a few others. If you are as disgusted as I am, raise your hand. Tell us which of those wars was really necessary?

Jim Van Sant served in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1951-54 and lives in Santa Fe.