OK, Donald Trump, this time you’ve gone too far — if that is possible in the bungee-cord world where you live, where fact/fiction stretches to and beyond the point of snapping daily.
You have slipped from the netherworld of TV reality shows, where you told people they were “fired,” to actually advocating firing at them. You passing judgment on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, for leaving his post in Afghanistan — before the legal proceedings are complete — is akin to trying to make us believe that Barney Fife had untapped capacity to write majority opinions for the Supreme Court.
(In case you missed it, Trump said this week that Bergdahl is a “no-good traitor” who should be executed and who would have been shot 30 years ago.)
Your political instinct and penchant for throwing red-meat lines to the throngs of admirers have set you up for something real, built on the shaky foundation of a House of Trump Cards. Insults leave a mark but firing squad bullets are forever.
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Yes, you went to a military prep school, but someone should pull you aside and explain the distinction between that and all those markers at Arlington National Cemetery. Yes, you can bloviate all day about Bergdahl, but I’m betting you would prefer to be nowhere near the actual scene of a U.S. military firing squad detail. As the line goes in another bit of entertainment-not-reality vernacular, “You can’t handle the truth.”
I have known people who had the responsibility of overseeing the ultimate punishment. They were present at state executions. Though that profound expression of “justice” is worthy of debate, you have to give such people credit for actually showing up to bear witness at a capital punishment proceeding. Have you been to one, Trump?
I haven’t, either, and I have not served in the military — but then again, I’m not trying to make political points.
What I can attest to are the feelings of people I know who have presided at executions. I know they would never discuss such serious matters from the podium during a campaign with the cavalier tone you summon on the set of “The Apprentice.”
It is easy for you to talk the talk when you know you will never have to walk the walk.
Few, if any, fellow military members who are critical of Bergdahl’s behavior are suggesting the firing squad. Many have served in that crucible and know survival in a war zone is not a reality TV show. They know the black-and-white view from the penthouse looks much different than the view from behind sandbags and barbed wire.
The more I hear from you, the more you remind me of Vladimir Putin: all hat and no cattle; all bluster and no battle.
Robert Ehlert is the Statesman’s editorial page editor. Reach him at 377-6437 or follow @IDS_HelloIdaho