Trump in Tulsa: Will history repeat itself?

Editor, The Transcript:

So Donald Trump is coming to the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa to kick off his re-election campaign and to celebrate all that he has done, almost single-handedly, to make America weaker than ever, whoops, I mean, to make America great again.

In so doing, he honors a tradition. Back in the spring of 1974, Richard Nixon came to Stillwater to give the commencement address at Oklahoma State University.

Nixon, like Trump, was a politician under siege, trapped inside the Washington beltway, looking around for a place where he could distract attention from his crimes, where he could count on people being uninformed about the latest developments in his scandals, where he could spread whatever misinformation he wanted without fear of opposition.

Nixon, like Trump, decided the state of Oklahoma was that place.

Inside the football stadium at OSU, Nixon could feel safe. His very appearance in a friendly venue sent a symbolic message to the rest of the nation that he was not a crook, that the break-in at the Watergate Hotel was a third-rate burglary, and that his impeachment was a hoax.

So when our current president is inside the Tulsa arena, he, too, can feel safe. (Well, maybe not safe public-health-wise, but how does anyone know the pandemic is real?) When he takes the stage, he can pat himself on the back for draining the swamp, for standing up to dictators, for firing wayward ambassadors, appointing all the best people, and quickly stopping the coronavirus from infecting more than a dozen careless health workers, all the while assured his Tulsa audience will give him a round of applause rather than boos.

Trump, like Nixon before him, will assume that he can tell whatever lies he wishes and that the voters of the Sooner State will not hold him to account.

Unfortunately for Nixon, the evidence against him, already substantial by the time of his commencement address, continued to mount during the following summer until three members of his own party (Sens. Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott, along with Rep. John Rhodes) told him he was finished, and he resigned two days later.

Trump, the evidence against him already substantial and continuing to mount, had better hope that this part of history does not repeat itself and that Mitt Romney cannot find two other Republicans willing to join him in delivering similar bad news.

Maybe it is time to start a new Oklahoma tradition, namely, a practice of scrutinizing our leaders when they abuse their power, when they try to hide embarrassing historical facts, like the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 or the bombing of Cambodia from 1969 to 1973, or when they treat us like "dumb Okies."

Now that would be something to celebrate.



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