Most sentient citizens are now aware the state of our Union has descended to an inherently uncivil cesspool riven with crudity and coarseness - and no bottom appears to be in sight. One would have thought a presidential candidate who bragged about grabbing women's genitals was rock bottom - but no, we've passed through even more degrading lows, the latest disrespecting the widow of one of the fallen.
The alarm has now reached into the Senate with Republicans who are as revolted by the downward drift as the rest of us. Let us agree then that one of the roles of a President is to project decorum and respect for this office, and from this office to the world - and to his fellow citizens. It is essentially from his example that the standards of the nation become manifest. If then the person in charge is deranged, unstable and disrespectful of anything and anyone - even those in his own party- we are at a major transition point. That transition is indicative of a malignant cancer on the highest office which now must be removed for the good of the whole, the body politic.
This brings us to Barton Swaim's WSJ piece, 'A Country On The Verge Of A Crackup' (Oct. 20-21) making a kind of case that the pretender playing a president has the nation approaching a "crackup". He even quotes one genius who claims Trump is A-ok, it's the nation that's losing it. Trump is just carrying on like "normal" for his personality type. If this is normality we are in dangerous waters indeed, or to quote the psychologist Steve Mason: "One of the ways I know a guy is wacko is if he claims everyone else is crazy.". Indeed. So let's chuck that nonsense right away. This is not to say that-the deranged con man with his fingers near the nuclear codes and showing all the signs of a narcissist sociopath isn't having deleterious effects on the rest of us. But these angry reactions and yes, judgments, are simply the expected reactions of normals to one who is profoundly abnormal - i.e. a mutant in their midst.
For example, former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphreys take on Dotard is spot on, e.g.
When Humphreys depicted Dotard as "so reckless, careless and cruel in the conduct of his office as to be vile and corrupting of the American system." - he was describing an anomaly- not something normal or merely a variant of style. Let's get that straight once and for all that we are not parsing any "style" here because grabbing pussies and disrespecting the family of the fallen is not style in any normal society's lexicon. Only a degraded society, an uncivilized and uncivil one, would refer to Trump's "style".
Let us also emphasize one time, as Sen. Jeff Flake did yesterday, that calling out a twitter troll pretender who isn't qualified to run a toxic dump is not a "crack up" reaction. As Sen. Flake clearly stated:
"We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that that is just the way things are now. We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.”
Sen. Flake added that such behavior was “dangerous to our democracy” and projected not strength but a “corruption of the spirit”. He then asked his colleagues: “When the next generation asks us: ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say?’
Is Sen. Flake's reaction to the filth and swine vermin occupying the Oval Office a sign of paranoia or over the top nutso? No, his reaction to a clearly malevolent and unfit, unstable goon shows the Republic still possesses citizens of sane perception and the moral mettle to call out the obvious when they see it. That includes Sens. Bob Corker and John McCain who have also called out the resident turd who pretends to be a leader but can't craft a more comprehensive thought than 140 characters allows.
Hence the new book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists And Mental Health Experts Assess A President, edited by Bandy X. Lee, is worth a read. She is part of the "Duty To War" movement of mental health professionals who - like Jeff Flake - see this disgraceful bastard con man as the danger he is, as he assaults all traditions and institutions while polarizing the nation into a state of near civil war.
As Dr. Lee explains: "The public trust is violated if the profession fails in its duty to alert the public when a person who holds the power of life and death over us all shows signs of clear, dangerous mental impairment."
And contrary to Swaim's take, i.e. that it's "delusional to believe you're warning Americans" when "so many believed our political culture needed a shock" - nothing in the remarks of Sen. Flake's or former Sen. Humphreys is disproven. Those deranged imps who voted Dotard in for that "system shock" reason also need to be put on the psychiatrist's couch. Or to quote my psychologist niece, "They're all fuckin' nuts!" Indeed! But that subset of "nuts" who inserted this "hyperactive agitator" into office are not the whole nation, They were only a minor faction of its voters -roughly 46 % - and less than 22% of the proportion of all eligible voters.
And the vileness of Dotard, as Sen. Gordon Humphreys noted, surely goes far beyond Swaim's claim that he "sometimes says things that are obviously untrue, or flatly contradict his own previous statement". No, this happens all the time. Consider his bald faced compulsive lies about Obama wiretapping him, then barely a week ago the phone call to LaDavid Johnson's widow Myeisha and how he disrespected her - not even knowing her husband's name and then saying "he knew what he signed up for" - then denying it. It took John Kelly to get up and confirm Dotard's words, though in a hyperbolic manner, while savagely attacking a black congresswoman.
Swaim also makes a big deal out of the book's authors "differing in their diagnoses" but as Shayl pointed out to me, that's "natural because many diagnoses overlap" . Also, many disorders can exist simultaneously. For example, borderline personality disorder can exist along side schizoid personality disorder, as psychologist Judith Cauwels pointed out in her book, 'The Borderline Personality'. These pathologies then are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Hence, two seemingly different diagnoses might be given for the same mental malady, especially for a detached, approximate diagnosis.
Then there is the beef: 'How do they know what is going on if they don't actually have him in for analysis?' This is ridiculous too. If I see some mangy, orange-haired character slogging down Uintah Street grabbing pussies every step of the way as he calls out nonsense and then threatens bystanders with tweets I don't need to get him on a psych couch to know he's "fuckin' nuts", as Shayl puts it. You just have to look at his behavior and what he says, including the twitter taunts at a guy with his own missile arsenal - Kim Jong Un.
In the case of Trump there isn't a coherent, sane or rational element in his being. Neither is there any element of basic decency or civility, hence his lying reaction to the widow of warrior LaDavid Johnson. Donald Dotard's a total misfit and a loser besides. Read Naomi Klein's most recent book, 'NO Is Not Enough', to see how this asshole really made his riches. Hint: It was all about classic con-man deals and rip offs - like using half baked seminars on real estate and then calling the random set "Trump University".
Another point Swaim misses is that the extremes of behavior or thought are not necessary to deem a person unfit or unstable. As Gordon Humphreys makes clear, one needn't be absolutely stark raving mad to pose a threat. One really only needs an agitated, chaotic personality occupying the highest office and with access to the nuclear codes. Also one, as WSJ's Gerald Seib pointed out in his piece two days ago, who's become so unpredictable nothing he says can be trusted, so governance itself is undermined. This is what Sen. Flake meant by "dangerous to democracy."
Recall also barely two weeks ago Sen. Corker warned that Trump’s rhetoric and threats, especially toward North Korea, could set the nation “on the path to World War III”. This followed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling Trump a “fucking moron” and considering resigning.
In a separate interview with CNN yesterday , Sen. Corker went even further, stating of the president: “I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in that way but he does.”
Coupled with Flake’s scathing remarks on the Senate floor, the growing list of Republicans sounding the alarm over Trump’s presidency marks a potential watershed moment within the party. That watershed moment has long since arrived in the rest of the nation where we contend that the removal of his piece of trash from office is now the highest priority. (Curiously, Sen. Flake said in a CBS interview this morning the 25th amendment "wouldn't work" to remove Trump, but I beg to differ - as do many hundreds of others including Constitutional and legal scholars like Richard Painter.)
There are also darker sentiments expressed, especially by average blokes on media forums. To quote one commenter on a political forum in The Financial Times after word spread about Gabe Sherman's piece regarding White House staff fearing Trump might make a "rush for the nuclear football": "Why hasn't the CIA offed him yet when they took out JFK for much less?"
A more sober and powerful take is provided in the following passage from Michael Gerson's WaPo piece ('Republicans, It's Time To Panic') . It puts our situation in the most cogent perspective:
"It is no longer possible to safely ignore the leaked cries for help coming from within the administration. They reveal a president raging against enemies, obsessed by slights, deeply uninformed and incurious, unable to focus, and subject to destructive whims. A main task of the chief of staff seems to be to shield him from dinner guests and telephone calls that might set him off on a foolish or dangerous tangent. Much of the White House senior staff seems bound, not by loyalty to the president, but by a duty to protect the nation from the president. Trump, in turn, is reported to have said: “I hate everyone in the White House.” And also, presumably, in the State Department, headed by a secretary of state who apparently regards his boss as a “moron.”
"The security of our country — and potentially the lives of millions of people abroad — depends on Trump being someone else entirely. It depends on the president being some wise, strategic, restrained leader he has never been.
The time for whispered criticisms and quiet snickering is over. The time for panic and decision is upon us. The thin line of sane, responsible advisers at the White House — such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — could break at any moment. Already, Trump’s protests of eternal love for Kelly are a bad sign for the general’s future. The American government now has a dangerous fragility at its very center. Its welfare is as thin as an eggshell — perhaps as thin as Donald Trump’s skin. "