I’m of a generation that in our early adulthood disparagingly called a person we considered dimwitted a “turkey”. Being a city boy I cannot speak from firsthand knowledge but the reputation of the turkey is that of being one of the least intelligent farm animals, hence the expression or so I have been told. Last week President Trump pardoned three turkeys and only two were of the feathered variety. There was another action, largely by his nominees that if not criminal was what in my twenties I would have called of the turkey variety. It was capped off by him and his immediate family acting in less than an intelligent manner (to be kind). Let’s explore.
On Tuesday, as has been the custom for years, Trump pardoned two turkeys. This is kind of cute and silly although it probably helps agriculture which I’m all for. Presidents of both parties have done it for years although it appears that Trump is the first to actually get excited about it and take it seriously. I wish that were the worst incident outlined in today’s article. It isn’t.
On Wednesday Trump pardoned Mike Flynn. Flynn was a principal in several crimes against America including while serving as Trump’s first National Security Advisor and had pled guilty to felonies on two occasions. He basically caught himself the stupidity of which certainly earns him the turkey label. What does the pardoning say of Trump?
When word first came out of Washington that Trump was not going to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and thought that perhaps a quick trip to see troops overseas might be in the offing. Again I overestimated Trump. He, the First Lady and his adult children (along with significant others and in at least some cases their children) spent the holiday at Camp David. That included Donald Trump, Jr. who tested positive for COVID-19 a few days earlier. Maybe I’m being too kind to call this the actions of turkeys; this was beyond stupid. I put it more in the outrageous or insane categories.
In the mix we also have the actions of the Supreme Court. In basically a midnight ruling the Court voted 5-4 to uphold the challenge to New York State’s limit on the number of people at indoor religious services. They claimed it was a violation of the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause. The vote broke down with Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas in the majority with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in the minority.
A few months ago two similar cases were also decided 5-4 but with the opposite outcome. The difference was that the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the bench instead of the radical right winger Amy Coney Barrett.
I believe in the freedom of religion. Among other things it protects my right to not practice a religion. What we are dealing with here is a health crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in over a century. Last week we officially passed the 13 million mark in COVID-19 cases in America. By this ruling the Court is saying organized religions have the right to commit manslaughter and aid their congregations in committing suicide. If that doesn’t qualify the five as turkeys under my old school slang definition I don’t know what would.
Expect more outrageous pardons before Trump leaves the White House as surely as millions more Americans will contract COVID-19 and tens of thousands more will die. Too many turkeys in powerful positions is a large part of the problem. Remember America has about 20% of the world’s COVID-19 cases with less than 5% of its population. Apparently we have no shortage of non-feathered turkeys.
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