The Incomparable Leonard Pitts

Among the columnists I admire–and, admittedly, envy for their eloquence–is Leonard Pitts. Pitts, for those unfamiliar with him, writes for the Miami Herald, but his column is widely syndicated.

Pitts recently wrote “An open letter to all you privately disgusted Republicans,” and in it (unlike our demented President) he really “tells it like it is.” He began by quoting former GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, who recently told CNN that his former colleagues continue to support Trump publicly because they fear the base, but “having spoken to many of them privately, they’re absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behavior.”

Pitts response was acerbic.

As the scope of Trump’s abuse of power grows ever more obvious, as his contempt for the rule of law grows ever more plain, as leaders of your party offer ever more threadbare justifications and rationalizations for that which is neither justifiable nor rational, we receive word that you folks are “privately … disgusted?”

As Rick Perry and others claim Trump as God’s “chosen one,” as a new Economist/YouGov poll finds that most Republicans rank him a better leader than Lincoln himself, as the party grows ever more indistinguishable from a cult, with Trump as he who must not be questioned, he whose wisdom is beyond mere mortal ken, we hear that off the record, you lot are “very concerned?”

One struggles for adjectives to convey how little that means, how insignificant is the comfort it offers.

Pitts is giving voice to the majority of American citizens who are not part of the cult, who are watching with increasing panic as men and women elected to tend the nation’s business violate their oaths of office by elevating their political prospects over the national interest, and remaining silent–supportive–while the administration dismantles and defiles our government.

Indiana has sent people to Washington that I know personally; I know they understand how appalling this President is, and how deeply he is damaging the country. Yet there has not been a peep, not a dissenting vote–party has consistently trumped integrity. (And yes, I used “trumped” intentionally.)

Pitts says it far better than I can:

Sixty years ago, Martin Luther King issued a warning: “If you fail to act now, history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

King was addressing white racial moderates, but it is remarkable — and disheartening — how well his warning fits you, who have prioritized your own political backsides above truth, above honor, above national interest. As the country lurches toward a precipice from which it will not recover, you count votes. In a time that demands every good man and woman raise their voices, you embrace the appalling silence instead….

We are posing for history here, ladies and gentlemen. One day we will be judged by what we said and did not say, the stands we took and did not take, in this moment of peril. And you, the party of Reagan and Eisenhower, T.R. and the apparently overrated Lincoln, are coming up well short. Where is your courage? Who broke your moral compass?

Enough with your private disgust and off-the-record concern. The times are calling. They demand you stand up like American women and American men — stand up like John McCain would long ago have done — and speak what you know to be true, what we all know to be true.

Or else, at the very least, please shut up completely. Let the rest of us mourn our country in peace.


  1. Leonard Pitts’ column in the Indianapolis Star, along with that of Eugene Robinson, are what I miss since unsubscribing from my local newspaper after decades. The words below best describe my growing fear as an American citizen who once worked for the local Republican party:

    “As the country lurches toward a precipice from which it will not recover, you count votes. In a time that demands every good man and woman raise their voices, you embrace the appalling silence instead….”

    Mr. Pitts’ term “lurches toward a precipice” best describes our future under the current Flat Earth Society, which is indeed a cult of racist evangelicals. If Trump remains in the White House after the November 2020 election; we as a nation will indeed never recover for he and those who are silenced have weakened our very foundation, it can only continue to crumble under the onslaught from the current “Republican” party consisting of those “ravening wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing”.

    The end of this nightmare year is here; the new year begins in three days with no end of that “appalling silence of the good people” in sight.

  2. Our allies in Europe are seeing Trump more clearly. 5 Times as many Germans see TRUMP as the biggest danger to peace vs Putin.
    Germans were asked who was more dangerous: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Russian President Vladimir Putin or US President Donald Trump.

    Some 41% of Germans said they thought Trump was the most dangerous out of the five world leaders.

    In second place was Kim with 17%, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8%. Coming in last was China’s Xi with 7%.

    Over 2,000 people in Germany took part in the survey, which was commissioned by news agency dpa.

    A similar YouGov poll was carried out in July last year, in which 48% of Germans surveyed said Trump was more dangerous than Kim and Putin. That poll, however, did not include the leaders of Iran or China.

  3. This is just a continuation of what has been going on for quite a while. The fear of someone not like them being president or in a position of power was frightening. The chosen one? LOL, (Perry Is a buffoon) anyway, Perry’s choice for Messiah, had his finger in the wind for quite a while. And he discerned, rightly so, that if they could destroy the competition, fear might push him over the top. Not only him, but Vladimir Putin also recognized the bubbling cauldron. After all, one who assassinates the press and his competition, would have his finger on the pulse no matter where that pulse was. You can bet your bottom dollar, that if the tax returns are ever released, it you’ll see a person beholding to Vlad the impaler.

    Why should any of these cowards speak up now when there was 8 years of these shenanigans before? If you can get away with blatant disregard for past practice and demonizing your competition, what did they think was going to happen when the chosen one appeared? The Senate flexed its muscle, McConnell is now packing the courts after slow rolling confirmations under the previous administration. Did anyone think this mentality was okay? There sure wasn’t a whole lot of screams out of the Republican Party when this was happening, Hopefully Mr. Pitts was shouting from the rooftops before this happened, otherwise, he is feigning outrage. The wave, or the tsunami of moral turpitude that washed over the willfully silent, seems to be a baptism by the new chosen one.

    This baptism of moral turpitude was brewing in earnest for the past 10 years or so. It was like the bank was robbed through the back door while everyone was focused on the front door. The misdirection of war, the inexplicable invasion of Iraq that caused an immense amount of terror in the world, allowed those who are so inclined, which there was no shortage of, to play on fears that they created themselves and steer enough of the population (sheepple) to stampede towards someone felt could save them by a roughshod no holds barred policy that demonized everyone but a select few. This same cabal pushed through the corporate tax cuts which is artificially jacking up the stock market. When it goes this time, I don’t think there’s going to be any coming back from it. The world’s financial institution almost completely collapsed the last time, and with all of the warning signs disabled by this group in power now it’s going to be a terrible thing.

    You can’t eat from the table of 2 masters, and you can’t sit on the fence, because, who owns the fence? “No one can slave for two masters,” Jesus said, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. So it seems to me, the decision was made to live on the dark side. To function in darkness, to sneak and deceive, to make lies and dishonesty the truth, and the truth a lie! To demonize the public press as fake because they knew it would work. This was gotten directly from Adolf Hitler’s playbook, “Lugenpresse” (Lying press) and gladly picked up to be used to whip up crazed cowards in a frenzy of hatred.

    When you think about it, this has been in the works for quite a while. The demonization of John Kerry, the demonization of John McCain, demonization of Alexander Vindman, and America’s diplomatic corps. The birther movement promoted by the current POTUS, BenGhazi, all led up to this point. I really didn’t hear too much complaining about all of this, not too much legitimate outrage, more of a permissive wave of the hand, and here we are.

  4. From Lincoln’s Second Address to Congress, December 1, 1862:

    “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we can save our country.
    Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance of insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor of dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God just forever bless. “

  5. There would have been much work to do in refashioning our democracy and our economy had Hillary been elected in striving to make for “a more perfect union,” but the election of a criminal who has somehow cowed the once proud party of Teddy and Ike has managed via threat and bluster to silence the dissent of its leaders, leaders who know better but are fearful of dissent, leaders who are not leaders but mere weakling followers of a criminal chief of state.

    So what is the lesson for us open dissenters? It is to remove both the criminal in charge and those who know better but who would sacrifice country to dictatorship, which would be a bad bargain for both open dissenters and those who are cowed into silence since with the advent of Big Brother and the end of democracy ALL power rests with Big Brother, and in this connection and noting Vern’s occasional reference to Marx’s predictions, I think a better read to describe our future unless we remove these renegades from government can be found in 1984 as we all become Winston Smiths – soul-less proletarians, so to speak.

    So yes, vote, and if successful, considering all the damage done by the then predecessor criminal administration and the continuing need to make for a more perfect union (an end to racism, wage inequality etc.), we will still have much to do after this narrow escape from the loss of our democracy. Democracy is fragile, as we will have seen and must recognize day to day, a governing system that requires nurture 24-7, so even if we foil Trump’s dictatorial plans, and to reiterate, we have work to do. Lots of it.

  6. I firmly believe the idea of “privately concerned” republicans is a myth. It’s just something they say to make sure they can keep attending 5 star events with Democrats. It’s just an act and liberals are (for better or worse) the types who insist on seeing the good in people, so they fall for the charade every time. The reality is that Trump is the Id of the Republican party – and they love it.

    He gives them everything they want. The judges, the tax cuts, environmental roll backs, etc. He does it in a naked, but effective, way. We (quite rightly) call Trump an idiot – but that doesn’t mean he’s not giving the best bang for buck in history – he IS a better president than Lincoln to the current crop of Republicans. Lincoln would never have allowed what they gleefully embrace.
    They’re only privately appalled for our benefit, read their benefit.

  7. It’s the cultism, stupid! Yes, the cult of Trump is today’s golden calf, a false idol worshipped only by the dumbest among us and the craven politicians who actually think Trump-ism will keep them in office.

    Our capitalists are buying back their stock as fast as their accountants find new ways to cut taxes and employee benefits. Our citizens have to work two low-paying jobs so they can afford rent and groceries. Those conditions are translated into “booming economy” when in fact it is a shell created by stockholders and being eroded from the inside. Can’t you see the cracks?

    The Trump cultists don’t see that it is US who support the $5 billion illicit drug business. Why, because 50+ million of our citizens are either in pain or are bored out of their wits. Lousy, meaningless jobs, or inner-city hopelessness all go by the wayside for Republicans as they scramble for the votes of morons, elitists and the corrupt among us.

    Happy New Year.

  8. Hey Marv, where you been, LOL!

    You keep me focused, hopefully you’re back for a while.

    Vernon, I sure feel better now I’ve read your comment, yikes.

    And I would like to apologize to everyone for my diatribe yesterday, I was off base.

    Usually, my comprehension skills are much better. I’ll blame it on the flu, and some intense debate in another location.

    Good points one and all, and John Neal I would like to see a picture of your saddled up dinosaur, LOL.

  9. Hey Vernon, one more point,
    I hear a lot about veterans and PTSD. I have a pretty severe case myself. But these kids here in Chicago’s shooting galleries on the South and West sides, suffer PTSD at an alarming rate. Most of them have seen family members and schoolmates shot down in the streets. How are they going to be normal? There are no social workers to help these kids and no School nurses or very very few. And because it’s the inner city kids, no one gives a scrap of fat about it.

    There has been a lip service for years, from all sides! And because these are poor inner-city kids, nothing ever gets done. Jesse Jackson? Al sharpton? Insert your favorite rev here? They can give away turkeys and hams on Christmas and Thanksgiving, they can praise MLK, but when it comes to action, they are mice in a man’s world.

  10. The problem with reciting historical figures is the current trends have been going on since the Reagan/Thatcher years — early to mid-1980s. Their brand of governing has been called Neoliberalism, and both political parties have adopted its extractive policies.

    While Pitts is mourning the loss of his conservative republican party, the American Dream has been shattered into tiny pieces. No longer can a high school education yield a manufacturing job that pays enough where the wife can stay home to parent the kids, afford a house, two cars, and college for the kids. Community-minded corporations offered premium health insurance plans because of strong worker unions.

    All of that is gone.

    Now the working class fights among itself and has been divided and conquered by a propaganda press. All forms of escapism are abundant throughout our society.

    The Koch’s and their business/political efforts bought the Tea Party movement and used it to convert the conservative GOP into a hateful anti-government cult. Many people have pointed this out, but it has escaped the news, weather, and sports at 6pm.

    Trump is a culmination of the Oligarchs controlling both the press and the political class. This devolution didn’t happen overnight. Sadly, the working class in deserted towns across the mid-country fell for Trump’s propaganda, and the Koch fueled anti-government movement.

    Pitts mourning over his party is meaningless since it has been in the works for decades. We are in the late stages of a capitalist economy where Fascism thrives. However, people will not tolerate being oppressed. This is playing out all across the globe with mass protests. The people are challenging authoritarianism, and if our country had a free press, we’d be more informed and better able to make quality decisions to reverse our course.

    As long as our two options consist of a GOP or centrist Democrat, we the people will lose to corporate Fascist interests. The Fascists are in power and not likely to hand it over without a fight, so they’ll tighten their grip and get more controlling.

    Their nemesis is gaining in the polls…I expect their attacks will follow shortly.

    Pitts is a putz because he failed to use his pulpit and audience to address the plight of the working class. His crying over Trump and the GOP demonstrates a complete lack of moral courage.

  11. Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – M.L. King

    You could not say today the Reactionary Evangelical Republican Party has anyone of goodwill. The Tea Party was an attempt to dress up Reactionary Republicans as fiscal conservatives like Rand Paul and others.

    The Right Wing Reactionary Evangelical Base of the Republican Party was just waiting for Candidate Agent Orange. Candidate Agent Orange was the distillation, the concentrate and the culmination of what the Right Wing Reactionary Evangelical Base wanted- The Authoritarian Leader.

    The Republican Party has grabbed a Wolf by the Ears and dare not let go – McConnell knows this and so does Lindsey Graham, just to name two. Any deviation from President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence will bring swift retribution from the Right Wing Reactionary Evangelical Base.

  12. John,

    “You keep me focused…….”

    “They can give away turkeys and hams on Christmas and Thanksgiving, they can praise MLK, but when it comes to action, they are mice in a man’s world.”

    The opposition is playing both ends against the MIDDLE.

    Jackson and Sharpton aren’t strong enough to see or, furthermore, take the MIDDLE GROUND where the POLITICAL ACTION, has been, really, taking place for the past fifty years.

    What we, importantly, have in common is that we both come very tough, physical, backgrounds, in addition to having the very strong intellectual capacity that is a common thread among the regulars on this blog.

  13. John Sorg,

    If you read any of my books, you’ll find solutions to our current state of affairs. For example, how about a national “Marshall Plan” to rebuild our inner-city cesspools by training and using inner-city people who are chronically un-employed? I’d bet you a cup of coffee that it would end up costing LESS than the extra police, hospital emergency visits for gunshots and other trauma, reduced court costs for the indigent criminals and the for-profit prison system would be forced out of business.

    That’s just a start. Read up on the CCC’s successes. We have a decaying and collapsing infrastructure issue, but Republicans won’t touch it because they’re voting to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security…blaming those things for the deficits.

    So, yeah, go ahead a feel bad about the facts and the truth. But also look into the positive aspects of how to fix things. All of us having to endure Trump, Trump-ism and Republican corruption have some form of PTSD too. Personally, watching my country and our Constitution be trashed by blithering idiots and criminals is EXTREMELY painful and traumatic. My only hope of cure is to vote these corrupt bastards out of office. I’m too old to take it to the streets. Been there. Done that.

  14. Todd, @ 11:14 am, Just my own add on,

    Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The was a monumental statement of fact. We knew where Reagan-Thatcher stood -Trickle Down and Privatization. The Neo-Liberalism of Bill Clinton and Blair in the UK tried to paper over the concentration of wealth going to the top.

    The Mega-Millionaires and Billionaires could care less about the 99%. Some of them may want to replace President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence because of their public toxicity so they try to find “Centrist Democrats” to meet in Wine Caves and accept their money.

    Mega-Millionaires and Billionaires need to find someone, anyone will do, to protect their interests.

  15. For the commenters who have taken Ms. Warren’s comments as gospel about the “wine cave”, please see a report from an actual attendee. Your own bias may be showing.

    Also to several commenters, name-calling of any candidate does nothing to strengthen your argument. In fact, it is off-putting and can be offensive, likely negating any valid point you are making. Just my opinion.

  16. ML,

    MLK’s “monumental statement of fact” cost him his life. LBJ gave him the civil rights movement, but when MLK started talking about the Vietnam War and the economy, I’m assuming those in power got nervous.

    The Oligarchy was able to foil another uprising for 50 years, but I suspect their greed has reached a tipping point by younger Americans who see the trajectory of the USA’s economy as “hopeless”.

    This is why there is so much hatred by our younger populations against the Boomer generation.

  17. Dirk, you may be right: “the idea of ‘privately concerned’ republicans is a myth”.

    I know of an example, although my demo model is more the Cadillac of the conservative line. He may only represent the deeper intellectual foundation of the radical base, but the masses that make up the base do share his conclusions, though for baser [:)] reasons. He is a longtime republican and a avid Catholic, a graduate of a famous Catholic school, and a businessman. He sometimes says he is concerned about Trump, but more often he contradicts his concern and expresses fear that Trump is too liberal and/or too influenced by his liberal daughter.

    And it isn’t just a political thing. This man says the same things about Pope Francis: too liberal. And about Jesus, also: way too liberal. And he goes on to explain that the liberal myth in Christian history began in the 4th century with the Council of Nicaea acting as editor in chief, deciding through a liberal sieve what got in the Bible and what did not. According to him, that is when the great devolution of humanity began, and Trump is too little too late to stop it; but it is fun to watch the brakes overheat.

    His chosen one is Steve Bannon.

  18. To all of my fellow contributors on Sheila’s blog, Marv, Vernon, Larry, Todd, ML, Joann, Gerald, Peggy and I’m sure I’m forgetting others, I appreciate the privilege of being able to share and also receive the diversity and knowledgeable interaction from everyone here. I know my viewpoints might be a bit of a hybrid and some ways, I find hypocrisy exasperating. If somebody is invoking religion into politics, I like to get into that because, although I have strong beliefs, I don’t believe religion should be involved in politics. that doesn’t mean I think the Earth was created in 6 literal days or men were walking around with dinosaurs or the rapture or a tormenting hell. Any student or reader of scripture knows that that’s not the case. And many of you probably know scripture better than I do, Old and New testament. I have many cousins it consider themselves extremely qualified to discuss scripture and yet, have no knowledge of what scripture States. So somehow they become brainwashed into thinking that they have learned something when they actually we’re told what to believe and never did any work to verify what they were told.

    In 325 ad the Nicene council and the emperor Constantine wanted to use the church as a way to increase his hold on power, and try and expand his empire. Constantine was never a Christian, he remained the pagan and practiced pagan beliefs, which by the way were finally included in church dogma. But, as they say, follow the money. He gave them back all sorts of riches that were confiscated and their ill-gotten gains. Those that were in emperor Constantine’s pocket fought to include the all the extra books that are in the Catholic Bible but are not part of Bible Canon.

    I wonder what else Pitts would have included in Scripture? Why any human with a conscience would believe some of the things that I’ve learned here today as far as the person the article was about, and then researching some of it, is astounding. So this blog definitely makes me more knowledgeable with maybe a little gleaned wisdom, and, thank you all.

    ps. Hopefully the next year will be much less interesting.

  19. thanks everyone,we do stand up,and we are counted,lets take the message to more people,give them the talking points and wishes to all,

  20. The fact of President Trump, though engineered by Putin as a triumph of Russian counter intelligence, nevertheless defines to world history who we are. Silent. Cowed. Complacent and superbly comfortable like the pictures of ancient Chinese men in opium dens.

    It produces a sadness that overwhelms the triumph of heroes in the Revolution, Civil and World Wars.

  21. They just don’t like his style. They prefer to hide behind false decorum. The GOP has not changed in substance.

  22. Todd , right on 12:26 pm. MLK, took serious heat for his opposition to Vietnam War. You wonder what he would say about America’s perpetual wars since Bush the Elder to the current President.

    The Wine Cave, The cost to attend? Donors were asked to contribute the maximum individual limit of $2,800. Think of it as a cover charge, just pocket change for some. I think we can be pretty sure this was beyond the means of a cashier at a fast food restaurant.

    Good article in The Intercept

  23. Betty,

    I missed you too. I’m sure you realize the political situation is now deteriorating at a much more rapid rate. We have to figure out how to create some type of barrier before all is lost.

  24. Marv, what’s cooking for tomorrow? Gotta get the ball rolling, and I promise I’ll do a better job proofreading, I haven’t had the mindset lately as I’ve not been feeling well. Looking forward to it.

  25. Betty, I agree, Marv is a valuable contributor with brief comments, unfortunately for myself, I’m more of a boxer comment kinda guy, LOL! I haven’t learned how to get out of debate mode.

  26. John,

    What’s cooking for tomorrow?

    Sheila’s blog is home to many different views. That’s the way many blogs end up.

    I’ve been both a federal and state prosecutor. My only interest right now is to try to help find a way to convict Donald Trump whenever his case comes to trial before the Senate. I don’t believe the answer, if there is any, lies solely within the Democratic Party.

    A long-time attorney friend of mine died last month. He once made the statement that he faulted me for PROSECUTING WITHOUT A LICENSE. He was referring to which created a chain of events that helped to defeat George Bush in 1992.

    You never know. Maybe I can do it again. It’s worth a try.

  27. Marv: Yes, we are extremely vulnerable right now. That’s why I have awaited your return. Shine a light, please. A really bright light.

    John Sorg: Practice, practice, practice.

    All here: Wishing you a happy new year which must include your votes to right the Ship of State. You know what to do.

  28. Betty,

    I’ll try, as best that I can. Take care.

    It is obvious that Trump is a sociopath. However, there are situations where sociopaths are suffering from early-onset schizophrenia and thus the insanity defense comes into play. Back in Dallas, I was appointed as an expert witness in two high profile cases where early-onset schizophrenia was argued. Although in both cases, the juries rejected the defense, I believe it is relevant to Donald Trump, especially in light of his family history and his actions during the past three years.

    I’m not a novice in this situation. I was also the attorney of record at trial and appeal in the case of Pesch vs. The State of Texas, which set the guidelines for the new insanity plea guidelines set in place almost 50 years ago.

    At least one thing is clear, Trump could easily win a contest as the most dangerous man on Planet Earth.

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