Since taking office, President Trump has launched vicious attacks on the media and the fundamental constitutional right of a free press. He has called the media an enemy of the people. This week’s events, however, have proven the value of the free press as part of the effective political checks and balances machine that America’s founding fathers envisioned.
The Washington Post’s exposé of Republican elites Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and others enjoying a mafia-style family moment on Capitol Hill has shed a much-needed light on the true nature of modern American politics. In front of cameras and reporters, leaders like Ryan pledge to pursue the finest in health care plans and tax reforms for their rally-attending constituents. They smile and shake hands. They promise to do “what’s best” for the “deserving people” of America.
Then the doors close, and they check to make sure no one is listening…
If the country learns anything from the revelations of the last 24-hours, it should be that it is clear that Washington is no longer pursuing an American agenda — or even a Republican or Democratic agenda. Instead, the 1% club sits in secrecy, joking about issues and the American people. They pledge loyalty to one another while playing God with the nation’s health, money, and security as part of their individual agendas.
The Post’s revelation is not an act in the single largest political “witch-hunt” as the president described it in an early Tweet, but it is the media’s patriotic condemnation of the entire government condition. It may be unfair to categorize the whole of Washington, D.C. based on one report, but Americans from coast to coast must be making the inference this morning: this is the unfortunate situation of how things are done in the hallowed halls of the Hill.
Much discussion has been made overnight about Ryan’s lack of denial in regard to McCarthy’s statement concerning Putin paying Trump. Ryan’s response, or lack thereof, does increase his level of complicity in the scandal. Even more so, when Ryan instead responds, “We’re a real family here,” there is a more troubling connotation to his choice of words.
If Ryan and McCarthy, et al. are the real family, then what do the American people represent? Are they stepchildren, “fake” family, foreigners, or worse — servants to the Washington leadership?
Has government of the people, by the people, for the people, finally perished?
America is a family of 325 million men, women, and children of various races and religions and socio-economic strata. America is a family that — from the poorest hungry child, to the richest mogul lavishing himself in excess — shares the benefits of equality, fairness, opportunity, and the absolute right to be respected by elected leaders. The real family is the population that struggles every day to make ends meet, to build a future, and to watch and listen to the unapologetic in fighting and self-destruction of Washington politics. The real family is the millions who feel a kick in the gut learning who the real family thinks they are.
Ryan has made it clear that he is not so much worried about leaks, as he is about mocking American rights and values. In five words, Ryan reduced the public to a horde of chumps who voted for him and other thugs. He implies that Americans as a whole are a population to which the leadership no longer owes any allegiance.
Therefore, while liberals trumpet victory this morning, and conservatives begin to whisper “President Pence,” there are no real winners. Donald Trump may eventually become the thrown out baby, but a giant tub of filthy bathwater will remain as a reminder to soil Capitol offices and chambers. Paul Ryan and his cohorts will call it their own Mar-a-Lago swimming pool — for family members only — but thanks to the Post and a free press, the rest of America will know better what it really is.