Instead of focusing on any one nuisance for this column, I thought I’d offer a few observations that I found annoying of late.
For instance, California Gov. Gavin Newsome recently signed a bill that requires presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballot. Frank Clemente, executive director of the liberal group Americans for Tax Fairness, said the bill “was necessary because President Donald Trump has departed from over four decades of established political tradition, respected by both Democrats and Republicans alike, by refusing to release his income tax returns.” Well, what about congressional and legislative candidates? Shouldn’t voters know about them as well? And a reminder: Americans started filing income taxes about 1914, so the history of presidents providing their returns is shorter than those who didn’t. By the way, does anyone recall one thing they’ve learned from a president’s tax returns since Richard Nixon first did it?
Meanwhile, still waiting for The New York Times and The Washington Post to run editorials slamming Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas as a racist. Thomas, who is a Democrat and black, argued with a man of Cuban descent in a grocery store and told him to “go back where you came from.” Such talk, under the Trump Rule pertaining to Twitter insults, automatically qualifies someone as a racist. Or so the Times and the Post had me thinking.
Moreover, when Robert Mueller testified before two congressional committees last month, many Democrats uttered some variation of the banal line that “no one is above the law, not even the president.” Well, President Bill Clinton committed perjury and obstruction of justice, both of which are federal crimes, and he never spent a second in custody. By the way, in 1999, the year Clinton was impeached, the feds prosecuted 348 people for perjury and convicted 300 of them, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. One hundred seventy-eight of them were sent to prison that year. Another 435 were arrested for obstruction of justice, although it’s unclear how those cases turned out. So at least one president is above the law. Besides that, six Democratic senators who now rail about President Donald Trump’s outlaw ways voted to keep Clinton in the White House. I suppose a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds after all.
Thinking globally, climate change, or global warming, or whatever it’s called these days, can be confusing to me. New dad Prince Harry recently said he and wife Meghan Markle will have just two children in order to save the environment. Yet the biggest carbon polluters on Earth -- China and India -- each have more than 1 billion people. Your highness, I think that ship has sailed. No one will notice if you have more than two kids.
Back in the U.S., Colorado State University recently unveiled its new “Inclusive Language Guide.” Among the terms stricken from the campus lingo by the Rocky Mountain social justice warriors: “American” or “America.” The school says using those microaggressive words “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” Instead use: “U.S. citizen; person from the U.S.” Hmm. Well, if America is not the dominant country, who is? And perhaps we use America or American because we’re the only nation on Earth with America in its name.
Over in Hollywood, they’ve remade “Top Gun,” even keeping Tom Cruise as Maverick. It’s more evidence that Hollywood is totally bereft of ideas. Every movie now is a remake or about a superhero. Nonetheless the star stud dons a flight jacket like he wore in the first “Top Gun” -- with one exception. The giant patch on the back in the new version has eradicated the references to Japan and Taiwan found in the original film. Those nations, by the way, were traditional enemies of China, and the new movie is bankrolled in part by Chinese interests. So, Hollywood has no problem repeatedly calling the leader of the free world a tyrant and dictator without any repercussion, but then kowtows to actual tyrants and dictators.
Years ago the editors of The Amercian Spectator, a conservative monthly, featured a section of oddball liberal hijinks called “The Continuing Crisis.” Wonder if they knew how far ahead of their time they really were.
Bill Thompson (email@example.com) is the editorial page editor of The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida.