CLAY JENKINSON: John Adams’ Words Ring Hollow

John Adams
John Adams

John Adams wrote, “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” Adams was speaking of the White House, where his words are enshrined in a plaque.

The current president cannot be called honest by any honest human being, and wise eludes him, too.

If “wisdom is calling things by the right name,” President Trump fails the test by refusing to call an election loss an election loss. I know he and many of his minions find it nearly impossible to believe that he lost the election to Joe Biden, but that is precisely what happened, and they are going to have to come to terms with it at some point.

I believe Trump’s obstructionism will actually cause prosecutors in New York, both federal and state, to abandon any humane instinct they had to give him the benefit of the doubt when he leaves office. In other words, he is making his own future dramatically worse by performing the most egregious “loser” stunt in presidential history.

How did the Republican Party — the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush — become the party of voter suppression? How did the Republican Party become the party of an incumbent president refusing to concede a clear election: 306-232 in the Electoral College, more than 6 million votes in the popular tally? How did the Republican Party become the party wherein a sitting president would pressure state election officials to refuse to certify the clear results of a national election in their state? How did the Republican Party become the party that would consider having legislatures in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia hold emergency sessions to instruct the state’s electors to vote for the person who lost the election?

Just imagine if the situation were reversed.

How did it happen that the party in power would do anything — anything, no matter how absurd or irresponsible — to cling to power?

We all grew up believing in the sanctity of American elections. And now we have a major political party engaged in shabby tricks that one expects from a Third World dictatorship, not from the nation of Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Adams and Franklin.

If you want to see how it works in a republic, just read Al Gore’s concession speech in 2000, or John McCain’s in 2008 or Mitt Romney’s in 2012.

And then shift your glance to Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump. The one with his hair dye cascading down his face in a news conference that Chris Christie called “a national embarrassment,” and the other golfing instead of meeting with the G20 about international response to the coronavirus.

Has it really come to this?

I can understand why Trump is behaving like a spoiled child — because he is a spoiled child of 74 — but I don’t understand why responsible Republicans don’t join together in a statement (strength in numbers) to say, this is how elections work, let’s accept the clear results and get on with it.

For more of Clay Jenkinson’s views on American history and the humanities, listen to his weekly nationally syndicated public radio program and podcast, The Thomas Jefferson Hour.”Clay’s most recent book, Repairing Jefferson’s America: A Guide to Civility and Enlightened Citizenship,” is available on Amazon.com. Also, another new book “Donald Trump and the Death of American Integrity: An Autopsy and a Path Forward,” is now available at Amazon.com.

2 thoughts on “CLAY JENKINSON: John Adams’ Words Ring Hollow”

  • Larry Gauper November 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Absolutely one of Mr. Jenkinson’s best and that’s hard to achieve because Clay has had so many great columns. Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong need to read this but, alas, I don’t think they have the wherewithal to understand what Jenkinson is saying. The GOP across this country needs to use the next four years as a sort of a political “sorbet.” Cleanse the party of bullies and racists like Trump and nominate someone with sane, decent and adult values. And Jenkinson is right in his observation that Trump is making things worse for himself. This kind of behavior never scored any points with teachers and this ignorant fool is headed in the wrong direction. Any “points” he had, any respect (however tiny) he achieved as president, is being thrown away as he comes to face prosecutors in New York once he’s back in Trump Tower.

  • deanhoistad November 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    It’s about time CJ took a public stand, but why did it take him so long to become an advocate for the obvious? Trumpers are always in denial.


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