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If Trump Wins, It Won't Be Justice Ginsburg Who's Ashamed

RBG

Keeping silent when "President Trump" is a possibility is immoral.

If Donald Trump wins, it won't be Ruth Bader Ginsburg who should be ashamed. Anyone who didn't speak up ought to be mortified.

The New York Times editorial board reprimanded the Supreme Court justice Wednesday -- "Donald Trump Is Right About Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg" -- because it's in denial about what's at stake in this election. No one, especially not our wisest and most respected of citizens, will be proud of themselves for having kept quiet if we inaugurate President Trump.

Predictably, Trump called for Ginsburg's resignation. She'd evaluated the real estate mogul and reality TV star as an inconsistent "faker" with "an ego" who "says whatever comes into his head at the moment." That's all true. But anyone who criticizes Trump is inherently disqualified by him to work on the bench -- or really anywhere in government. Trump once denigrated the ability of the Republican governor of New Mexico simply because she wasn't "nice" to him.

Trump pretends to be a "counterpuncher," which is a thinly coded threat of retaliation against any detractor who speaks publicly.

Trump threatened to start attacking Paul Ryan's abilities as Speaker of the House -- until Ryan endorsed him.

Ryan was confronted during a CNN town hall this week by Zachary Marcone, a young Republican who couldn't vote for someone "openly racist." Marcone asked what every Trump supporter ought to be asked: "Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate?"

Ryan's answer was that Trump might help advance conservative policies, and Hillary Clinton won't. So, maybe Ryan gets entitlement reform? Is that worth a world war? Maybe he gets to tack on a few years to Social Security. Is that worth the lives of our family members who will be killed?

No, really. That's the argument Hillary Clinton is making these days. And everyone ought to be listening -- and speaking out like a Notorious RBG.

"Americans aren't just electing a president in November. We're choosing our next commander in chief -- the person we count on to decide questions of war and peace, life and death," Clinton reminded voters during a foreign policy speech that initially depressed Trump's polling numbers.

"This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes," she said, "because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin."

She points out that Trump suggested withdrawing U.S. troops from Japan and letting the country have nuclear weapons. Other countries can have them too, he said. The more the merrier.

"It's no small thing when he suggests that America should withdraw our military support for Japan, encourage them to get nuclear weapons, and said this about a war between Japan and North Korea -- and I quote -- 'If they do, they do. Good luck, enjoy yourself, folks.' I wonder if he even realizes he's talking about nuclear war."

If Donald Trump is elected, the world will have more war, not less. The world will have more bigotry, not less. And Donald Trump will have more people on his enemies list, not fewer.

We're already getting too accustomed to the new normal under the creeping tyranny of President Trump. Does everyone realize that the Republican National Convention starts next week and organizers put out official word that they won't enforce Trump's enemies list? That's not a joke. Normally, there's a list of journalists banned from covering Trump and attending his events.

With the late rise and fast flameout of the "Never Trump" movement, it's hard to remember that at the start of the primary season a year ago, Republicans rarely had a harsh word for Trump. It was all very amusing, you see, until Trump shot into first place.

I remember Rand Paul sticking his neck out and getting his head cut off. Then Jeb Bush tried and failed, apparently for lack of energy. Even Fox News tried. One by one, each gave Trump their best smack instead of all speaking up at once.

If they wanted to beat Trump, they all had to attack together. This is a basic comic book plot, people.

Republicans hoped Trump would implode, or they dismissed him as unserious. The GOP isn't only to blame. The Huffington Post used to run every Trump story in its entertainment section. Not anymore. No one is laughing anymore.

Mitt Romney at least isn't attending the convention. Neither are former presidents Bush. (And the list goes on.) But none of them are voting for Hillary Clinton.

In a classic case of transference, Donald Trump likes to say that unless he's elected, we won't have a country anymore, that we won't recognize our country. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union today released a constitutional analysis of Trump's policy proposals and determined they would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution.

"Taken together, his policies and positions, if put into place, would violate the Constitution and federal and international law," said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero. Clinton had once pointed out, for example, that Trump's plan to torture terrorists and kill their families are war crimes.

In Donald Trump's America, there are two kinds of people: those who support him, and those who don't. If you don't support Trump, at best you're not qualified to do your job. Judge Gonzalo Curiel knows a few things about that. But with LGBT Americans so far unwilling to come around to Trump's side, despite his claims to be our best possible ally, Trump already abandoned us.

The GOP platform that just passed ahead of the Republican National Convention is the "most anti-LGBT" in history. That's according to the head of the Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo, who lamented, "This isn't my GOP." The platform not only favors overturning marriage equality but also supports conversion therapy for LGBT people, along with so-called bathroom bills and religious freedom laws that allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers. As those policy positions were being written, Trump did nothing.

Sit on the sidelines as you might, perhaps not caring that Hispanics are being demonized over immigration or Muslims are being called terrorists or Jews are subject to a whisper campaign appealing to white supremacists. But the boundaries of that sideline will keep moving.

Trump will rip apart or sacrifice anyone who opposes him. It's only when you pledge allegiance by raising your hand at one of his rallies that Trump welcomes you to his America.

We should be praising Ginsburg for coming to the defense of people in her profession like Judge Curiel. We should be praising anyone willing to put their careers on the line or putting their political advantage on the line to call Donald Trump what he is.

In a normal election, when what's at stake really is about entitlement reform and health care policy, it would've been untoward for Ginsburg as a Supreme Court justice to comment on any presidential candidate. But in an election that will result in thousands dead and thousands more discriminated against if Trump wins, everyone has a moral obligation to say something.

LUCAS GRINDLEY is editorial director for Here Media. Follow him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.

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