Where Do We Go From Here?

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 23, 2019 - 04:48:00 PM

We are in the dog days, the end of summer period where Sirius, the Dog Star, is in ascendancy, and not much happens because it’s too darn hot. The U.S. Congress is kicking back at home in their districts, despite pleas that they “do something” about gun violence. New outrageous things nonetheless continue to happen, on what used to be a daily basis but now on an hourly basis.

The media, print and online, is full of dire references to the mental state of the nation’s ruler, as he likes to think of himself. Shrinks from both Harvard and Yale have been enlisted to medicalize the analysis with scientific diagnostic terminology, but that’s grossly unfair to all those people conscientiously struggling to tackle their own normal mental illness with professional help.

It seems more appropriate to use colorful ordinary language to describe Trump. Take your pick: crazy, nuts, loony, insane, and the favorite of the historically inclined literati, mad, which is associated with King George III, ruler of the colonies at the time of the revolution. George III’s reputation has had its ups and downs, but for significant periods of his life he’s acknowledged to have been, well, nutty. Many now see America’s Donald I in the same way.

Mistah Trump, he nuts.

Nevertheless, some of us are still trying, against all odds, to construct rational explanations for his aberrations. There must be a reason for what he does, right? 

Buy Greenland? Of course, rare earths, uranium and all that. Makes sense, doesn’t it? 

Who wouldn’t want to buy Greenland, and if Denmark’s Queen doesn’t want to deal, no dinner with you, milady! And also, by the way, don’t let your nasty hired girl call America absurd. Remember, l'état, c'est moi. I am the state—an insult to me is an insult to all. 

Nope, doesn’t make much sense. 

The political question in all this is how Republicans, card-carrying members of what used to be called the Grand Old Party, continue enabling Trump’s continuing presence on the world stage. Or not really how, but why? 

Jim Fallows in The Atlantic goes over all this, not for the first time, in a response to just the last couple of days’ worth of bizarre behavior: “These are episodes of what would be called outright lunacy, if they occurred in any other setting.” 

Is it about the money? Are all those Republican senators keeping Trump in office simply because they and their corporate masters like the tax cuts and hope to profit from deregulation? Have they invested in oil stocks? 

The stock market’s reaction to Trump’s latest (today is Friday) caper, “ordering” U.S. businesses to abandon interaction with China, indicates that even corporate America is not pleased with whatever he seems to be doing. 

If we had a parliamentary form of government, in theory this would be the cue for a vote of no confidence. However a quick glance at Britain’s particular form of insanity, now stewarded by their own King George, Boris Johnson, suggests that it’s not that simple. 

Newton's first law of motion: 

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. 

Which puts us back (I know, I’m sick of it too) into the discussion of impeachment. The putative chief of state, the president of the United States, seems to be going full speed ahead over the cliff. What can be done to stop him? 

A recent poll suggests that more than half of a selected group of voters don’t think impeachment is a good idea. 


“A majority of Americans oppose impeaching President Donald Trump, according to a new poll by Monmouth University released Thursday. 

“The data point -- with 59% of those surveyed responding that Trump should not be impeached and compelled to leave office -- comes as Trump’s approval rating remains at 40% in the same poll.” 

This poll does not reflect the most recent round of wackiness. It was conducted from August 16 to August 20, and a lot has happened since then. 

Absent impeachment, where is the force powerful enough to prevent Donald Trump from destroying not just his own country but the whole world economy along with it? 

That might be the 2020 election, but we can’t be sure, can we? As we noted a couple of weeks ago, soft impeachment is underway in House committees already, but will it happen soon enough? 

It’s a puzzlement, as the king of Siam sang in the old musical. At the rate he’s going, perhaps King Donald will have himself crowned before then. 

One last thing to remember: the shrinks I've talked to about Donald Trump don't use terms of art like nutty or wacky. What I've heard them say is "narcissistic personality disorder", which is not enough to get him committed to an institution but plenty enough to disqualify him for the difficult job of being president of the United States.  

From the valuable Mayo Clinic website: 

"Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism. 

"A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they're not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them." 

Yep, sounds like our guy. The horror! The horror! 

Yes, we should get rid of him, but how?