Nations, like people, must stand up to bullies.

That’s one of the lessons my paternal grandfather — Charles C. Day, a cowboy turned farmer turned businessman — taught me when I was in grade school seven decades ago.

Several times when I got off the school bus at our home a bully named Joe beat me up and I ran to the house crying.

Finally, Grandpa Day told me, “Tomorrow Joe goes home crying or you’ll get a spanking. He had never spanked me; but I didn’t care to find out what it would be like, physically or emotionally.

So, the next afternoon I got off the bus before Joe and as his feet hit the ground I decked him. He got up running. Away from me.

Problem solved.

There’s something of the bully in all powerful men and women, inside and outside of politics; but none in America have been as brazen as our former President Donald Trump. Even he was surprised when voters handed him the White House keys.

Trump has boasted of his “mental stability and being, like, really smart,” and that winning his presidential bid on his first try “would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that.”

He also has claimed, “I went to the best schools, I’m, like, a very smart person.” He attended the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, unquestionably a highly respected school.

Trump claimed to have graduated first in his class at Wharton, but his name wasn’t even on the dean’s list the year he graduated. And Professor William T. Kelley said “Donald Trump was the dumbest [expletive] student I ever had.”

Many high-ranking members of Trump’s administration, including some of his highest ranking cabinet members, dismissed his claims of superior intellectual gifts. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described Trump as a “moron.”

But Trump is a smart bully. He threatened his high school, his colleges, and the College Board, which administers the SAT, with civil and criminal actions if they ever disclose his records without his permission.

Notwithstanding all of the evidence that Trump’s intelligence quotient isn’t outstanding, one thing is certain, he’s much smarter than most of the people who voted for him, and who support his present bullying behavior to keep Republican officials loyal to him as he prepares to run for the presidency again in 2024.

Almost all federally elected Republicans cower before the bully.

Nothing less than the future of democracy is at risk. Republicans must stand up to Trump and send the bully away crying. They can do it. But will they?

Thirteen Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives provided a bit of a sun spot when they dared vote for President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, GOP Trumpian threats notwithstanding. Their brave independence helped pass the bill.

The names of the honorable few will go down in history as true patriots. They are:Rep. Don Bacon, Nebraska; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania; Rep. David McKinley, West Virginia; Reps. Andrew Garbarino, John Katko, Nicole Malliotakis, and Tom Reed, New York; Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio; Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois; Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith, New Jersey; Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan; and Rep. Don Young, Alaska.

Sadly, our own Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is not on the honor roll. She’s with the bully.

Day is a retired Washington State faculty member and a Pullman resident since 1972. He encourages email to terence@moscow.com.

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