“When you’re a star, they let you do it… You can do anything.”

Concluding his infamous recording of routine violation of women 15 years ago, President Donald Trump’s adage has proven true so far in his presidency.

The “unprecedented president” has tested boundaries beyond the sacred spaces of a woman’s body with no significant push-back from his base. Praising demagogues and vilifying private citizens, private businesses, public servants, political opponents and press critics are the new normal for our nation’s highest office. More than 10,000 documented lies are excused with, “All politicians lie. And anyway, we have a strong economy.”

When you’re a star, they let you do anything.

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Now news emerges of our president asking a dependent foreign leader to investigate an American citizen as a “favor.” As layers unfold, the chorus of excuses swells. Political pundits point fingers, send up smoke, and desperately flash mirrors — nothing to see here. The Biblical prophet Jeremiah wrote, “They treat the wound of my people as if it weren’t serious. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well.” Jeremiah’s lament is as true today as it was of ancient Israel, whose leaders perpetuated injustice and suffered the subsequent destruction of their nation.

Our Republican leaders in Congress now have a choice — stand silently by while the sacred tenets of liberty are sold out for personal gain, or defy partisan pundits at political risk, defending our democracy and the integrity of the Republican Party which once stood for patriotism and morality.

Kristen Mark


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