No one has ever had Donald Trump's number like Senator Tammy Duckworth
It's because she understands the tragic equation of the U.S. Army draft: when one man is picked another man is passed over.
She also knows that the person who gives this tragic equation the least amount of consideration is usually the one who is passed over. She knows Cadet Bone Spurs, as she famously dubbed Trump, found a medical rationale to avoid the draft – five times.
Five deferments is an impressive haul at a time when the military was hemorrhaging young troops, but Trump found a way to make it happen, again and again, and again and again.
So Duckworth's withering nickname arose from personal experience, the retired Army lieutenant colonel and Black Hawk pilot lost both legs after her helicopter was shot down by insurgents near Taji, Iraq, in 2004. If anyone understands the gulf between rhetoric and reality it's her.
“I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five deferment draft-dodger,” she said in a speech.
“And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: If you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops and millions of innocent civilians in danger.”
Her caution was prophetic. It emerged this weekend that Kim Jong Un, who Trump has lavishly praised (“we fell in love”), had his special envoy to the United States placed in state custody and investigated after the failure of the Hanoi talks.
Critics contend that Trump fantasizes about silencing his own critics in the same sinister manner and that his admiration for the brutal North Korean leader is a form of dictator envy.
Who we valorize says a lot about what our values are, after all. And that conclusion is inescapable when you look at all the cheering, red-hatted, MAGA supporting crowds at Trump's endless campaign-rally presidency across the country.
Trump has never stopped running for president and they have never stopped bringing their election signs and cheering. But why?
If his victory is legitimate and if his presidency is going well, why does this endless Potemkin Village Town Hall campaign still go on and on?
Aren't sore winners the worst winners? Isn't a victory hollow if it has to loudly announce itself over and over? Who is he - who are they - trying to convince?
Meanwhile, I've been thinking about the simple courage of American soldiers in wartime this week for an obvious reason: this week Trump will give the 75th-anniversary commemorative speech in Normandy to mark the Allied landings.
Given his personal military history, there will be some irony in his appearance.
There will be an echo too of a previous American president, who gave a speech on the same spot where Trump will stand this week, 35 years earlier.
On the morning of June 6, 1984, Ronald Reagan stood at the U.S. Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy. It was forty years to the day of the Allied landings or D-Day as it was called.
Standing at the spot where soldiers stormed ashore to liberate Europe from the Nazi tyranny, Reagan gave an unforgettable speech to an audience of D-Day veterans, invited world leaders and the world's press.
Liberty was secured but it is precious, Reagan warned us. He lamented the Russian nuclear aggression. He did not mollycoddle dictators or enviously admire their brutal strength, as our current president does.
So we're in a new world now. Now we have a president that finds common ground with dictators, a president who criticizes his fellow Americans in their presence when he's on foreign soil, bashing Joe Biden and praising Kim Jong Un.
Now we have a president who has been found to have obstructed justice multiple times, a president who has admitted Russian operatives helped to get him elected, a president who praises Neo-Nazi's as “fine people,” a president who encourages xenophobia, sexism and transphobia and supports the rise of far-right thugs around the globe.
From Rodrigo Duterte to Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Kim Jong-un to Vladimir Putin, the former reality show star has shown himself more comfortable rubbing shoulders autocrats than the world's main leaders.
Who would have believed that the warning Reagan delivered about the danger to liberty would one day be embodied by his Republican successor?
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section, below.