From The Hill
Donald Trump told more than 25 outright lies in a single speech.
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At historic moments in American journalism the great columnists of the day, such as Walter Lippmann and James "Scotty" Reston, would rise above the claptrap and address great matters of state at critical moments. America stands at such a moment today.
Recently former President George W. Bush gave a profound speech that may well have been his finest hour, warning of a society where discourse is degraded by casual cruelty, bigotry is emboldened and democracy is corroded by conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned about the spread of a "half-baked, spurious nationalism" that reminds him of the years that preceded the Second War War, and the destruction and dysfunction of a Senate that conducts itself without the mutual respect and comity the founders envisioned for the great deliberative body.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) warns of a president who degrades our dialogue, lowers our standards, and bitterly divides our people against each other. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) warned that the president could lead America into World War III and mourned that the president is debasing the nation.
Leading Democrats including former President Barack Obama, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry offer similar warnings and suggest the nation would be served by a dramatic change of course.
Something ominous and unprecedented is happening in America today. While our democracy is under attack from a Russian dictator who seeks to elect our president and divide our people, the president denies the fact of the crime. Mocking the words of Lincoln about slavery taken from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, he divides our American house against itself almost every day, in almost every way, tearing apart the fabric of what holds us together.
Sen. Corker said it best. This debases our nation.
America is not a banana republic. It debases our nation when the president praises foreign dictators who murder and torture their people, and impugns the character or patriotism of Americans he treats like enemies on a list that is longer than the darkest dreams of Richard Nixon on his darkest days.
It debases our nation when the president governs like a schoolyard bully, demeans even some who work in his administration and wages vendettas against facts, truth, science and knowledge while calling our free press the enemy of the people.
It debases the nation when the president challenges the veracity of a Gold Star widow at her moment of bereavement.
It debases the nation when democratic allies dread the damage the president could do to their security, and when he tarnishes America's reputation among friends of freedom everywhere.
It debases the nation when the president attacks black football players, insults a black congresswoman, slanders Hispanic immigrants as rapists and criminals, attacks the judicial integrity of a Hispanic federal judge because he is Hispanic, exploits bigotry and fear against Muslims, and appeals to racists so strongly that he is praised by Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Sadly the courage and clarity of Sen. Corker is met by cowardice and complicity from many who admire his words but lack the conscience and courage to say them.
Our spirits should surge with patriotic hope when leaders rise to answer Trump's endless falsehoods with America's time-honored truths. Our hearts should surge with patriotic love when Sen. McCain courageously battles for his life and fiercely defends our democracy with the honor and valor that are his trademark.
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