Brickner: A haunted Halloween

Columnist Joan Brickner writes about ghosts of President Trump's time in office she'd like to scare away.

Joan Brickner, Forum Readers Board
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Is it Halloween or election season? They seem to overlap. Indeed, this election seems haunted by the former president, hovering around like a menacing ghost - or the stubborn flies that still buzz in October.

Here’s a few Trumpian manifestations to be chased away. (Boo!)

We still have the election deniers. Despite the evidence from him, along with allies like Roger Stone, many candidates say the 2020 election was stolen. This is the single biggest threat to our democracy. I think of one Bible verse which says, essentially, “Because they would not believe the truth, he let them believe a lie that they may be damned.” With all those who deny President Biden’s legitimacy, we damn our nation, promoting the lie that only Republican wins are legitimate. With only one party, one celebrated leader, fascism is here.

Trumpian insults abound. Even as he insulted a disabled reporter, attacked Mexicans as criminals, and the face of Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife, we have Don Jr. referring to senatorial candidate and stroke victim John Fetterman as “brain dead.” Congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene says of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a gay man, that he is trying to “emasculate the way we drive” with electric cars. Is she admitting she’s masculine?

Distortions continue. No, Biden did not say all Republicans are “semi-fascist”; only the far right, MAGA wing. Recently, we hear Trump attack Jewish people who oppose him, even as his follower Kanye, or “Ye”, attacked Jews in an antisemitic rant. Candidates show support for Proud Boys and other radical, white supremacist – and fascist – groups. Others are silent.


Not satisfied with insults, some encourage violence. Some candidates lie that January 6 rioters, provoked by the commander-in-chief, were peaceful protesters and police assault was “political protest.” This despite direct threats to Sen. Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. Smearing feces and attacking officers were, apparently, friendly, tourist gestures.

Now, armed poll watchers intimidate those casting mail-in ballots in Arizona. Others bring guns to drag queen events.

Continuing Trump’s arguments, Republicans attack Democrats on the economy. They claim they will “fix” the economy, already the best in a global crisis. How? According to senate and congressional leaders like Ron Johnson and Steve Scalise, they will put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, bargaining chips to threaten the debt ceiling. Would taking these measures hurt your personal economy or that of your parents or grandparents? Certainly more than a gallon of gas.

Like Trump, they are heavily practiced in the art of “taking the Lord’s name in vain.” No, not by declaring “oh my God!” but as Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Candidates like Greene invoke God’s words, while lying or attacking the poor and even supporting Putin. The hypocrisy is so great that evangelicals openly endorse Herschel Walker, dismissing the woman he paid for an abortion as “some skank.”

Extremism and lies found homes in Trumpism. Not a reader himself, libraries are closed. Q-anon arises at his rallies. His endorsed candidates promote national bans on abortion, even for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. One Michigan candidate even expresses disapproval for a woman’s right to vote.

The former president haunts us. This season, we should do more than take out fly squatters. Let’s scare that ghost away.

Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.


Brickner writes, "Some call this the “politics of distraction.” We must not drag attention away from real issues to sideshows.

Opinion by Joan Brickner
Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Joan Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

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