Just before Donald Trump was inaugurated I wrote a piece called “Donald Trump: America’s Biggest Mental Health Problem”. I had been looking down the road into what would be Trump’s presidency and was very suspicious that it would only be a matter of time before his mental and psychological deficiencies would become a detriment. It didn’t take long. And although we’re not allowed to talk about Trump’s incapacities in that respect, I think most of us would agree that they do exist, and they do in a way we have never experienced from a President. Also, they’re getting worse.
We have become numb to his, for lack of a better word, antics. That’s the idea. This is authoritarianism in the making. It’s a slow, subtle, purposeful deterioration of norms. Yes. I am going to make a Hitler comparison. Hitler didn’t just wake up one morning, out of nowhere, in 1944, and decide he was going to exterminate Jews and many others. It also took him some time to get people to agree with him that this was a good idea and to implement his plan to do it. For the sake of anyone who might misinterpret this here’s my disclaimer: I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. I am not saying Trump is a Nazi. It is undeniable, though, that Trump has authoritarian tendencies and lately it really feels like we’re just barely hanging on, given the complicit nature of the derelict-in-their-duties Congress and a Supreme Court shifting further away from the mainstream.
Trump thrives on chaos. He’s disruptive. And not in a good way. He’s known to throw out ideas and then watch (and enjoy watching) people fight it out. I thought much about this during the campaign, how Trump kept saying he would run the country the way he ran his business. I think we all know how some of those businesses turned out. People who voted for him wanted a disruptor. Didn’t it cross their minds that the most powerful person in the world shouldn’t be someone who is described as such? They wanted someone who said what he thought. I can respect that. But you can be someone who says what he thinks without being hateful, divisive and disgusting. I know a lot of people who do that and do it well. In any case, people got what they wanted, but they clearly didn’t think about how dangerous it might be. Or they didn’t care. Trump certainly doesn’t.
I watched the highlights from todays news conference during which Trump declared a national emergency. It would be a dark and hilarious joke, if it weren’t reality. We’re living in the worst reality show ever. Amidst the day-in and day-out wackiness that has now become the norm, every once in a while I watch and listen to him and I experience a moment of “Holy sh*t, this is the President of the United States” That was today. I found it sickening. I can only imagine how the press corp felt. His incessant denial of facts and the way in which he interacted with reporters today was at a whole new level of disturbing. This is the emergency.
I’m sure he made this decision to declare a national emergency with help of his aides, Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham, and the like. This isn’t speculation. It’s not a conspiracy theory. I am SURE of it because he said it! He also said he didn’t know Ann Coulter, but then immediately said he hadn’t spoken to her in like (here’s where you’d expect him to say, “a very long period of time”) “way over a year.” That’s neither here nor there (you see how I just normalized it by diminishing it?). The bottom line is that they are his aides…his enablers. Often times he does what they tell them to do, completely contradicting what he promised he’d do. We’ve seen examples of this. It’s quite possible they are part of the reason we just suffered the longest shutdown in American history. The way in which Trump continues to walk the line (or cross it, in so many cases) is beyond the point of dangerous. This is not a game. This is real life. This is our national security at stake. There is no good reason for anyone to continue to egg him on, quite possibly, at the country’s peril. It’s time to shut it down. Or, at the very least, simmer down.