So the typical fair on my blog is pieces about what’s happening in my garden, or pictures of meals I’ve enjoyed, or good bottles of wine, but I simply can no longer sit back and remain silent about the moral crisis that is the Trump Presidency.
I think what pushed me over the edge was Friday’s tweet “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.” As a twenty-something in my Air Force days, I was part of that ‘locked and loaded’ military solution. Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana – the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron – 50 Minuteman II ICBMs ready to launch on valid orders from our Commander in Chief. Luckily for me, that was George Herbert Walker Bush. While I didn’t agree with his politics, I did respect his judgement. I can’t even imagine how harrowing it must be for the young men and women of our current nuclear force to have an unhinged CINC who ‘tweets’ outrageous policy statements like a tempestuous two-year-old.
Unfortunately, my last statement helps to undermine the grave threat our country faces. Because of the American Psychiatric Association’s self-imposed ‘Goldwater Rule’ mental health professionals are prevented from expressing opinions about public figures they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements. However, psychiatrists are now so concerned about Trump’s obvious mental illness, they are willing to publicly acknowledge how dangerous he actually is. Below is a nice summation from USA Today (Donald Trump’s malignant narcissism is toxic: Psychologist May 4, 2017, John Gartner)
If you take President Trump’s words literally, you have no choice but to conclude that he is psychotic. A delusion is “a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.” Despite all evidence to the contrary, Trump asserts that his New York office was bugged by President Obama, and that his inauguration had the biggest crowd size in history. Before the election, Right Wing Watch published a list of 58 conspiracies proclaimed by Trump.
Is it all for effect, to rile up his base, deflect blame and distract from his shortcomings, or does Trump really believe the insane things he says? It’s often hard to know, because as Harvard psychoanalyst Lance Dodes put it, Trump tells two kinds of lies: the ones he tells others to scam them, and those he tells himself. “He lies because of his sociopathic tendencies,” Dodes said. “There’s also the kind of lying he has that is in a way more serious, that he has a loose grip on reality.” Is he crazy like a fox or just plain crazy? Not a question we want to be asking about our president.
Much has been written about Trump having narcissistic personality disorder. As critics have pointed out, merely saying a leader is narcissistic is hardly disqualifying. But malignant narcissism is like a malignant tumor: toxic.
Psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor Erich Fromm, who invented the diagnosis of malignant narcissism, argues that it “lies on the borderline between sanity and insanity.” Otto Kernberg, a psychoanalyst specializing in borderline personalities, defined malignant narcissism as having four components: narcissism, paranoia, antisocial personality and sadism. Trump exhibits all four.
His narcissism is evident in his “grandiose sense of self-importance … without commensurate achievements.” From viewing cable news, he knows “more about ISIS than the generals” and believes that among all human beings on the planet, “I alone can fix it.” His “repeated lying,” “disregard for and violation of the rights of others” (Trump University fraud and multiple sexual assault allegations) and “lack of remorse” meet the clinical criteria for anti-social personality. His bizarre conspiracy theories, false sense of victimization, and demonization of the press, minorities and anyone who opposes him are textbook paranoia. Like most sadists, Trump has been a bully since childhood, and his thousands of vicious tweets make him perhaps the most prolific cyber bully in history.
A year ago, I warned that “the idea that Trump is going to settle down and become presidential when he achieves power is wishful thinking.” Trump, like many successful people, shows biological signs of hypomania — a mild and more functional expression of bipolar genes that manifest in energy, confidence, creativity, little need for sleep, as well as arrogance, impulsivity, irritability and diminished judgment. As is often typical, when Trump has achieved great success, his hypomania has increased with disastrous consequences.
One hoped that the carnival freak show that was the Trump Campaign would be guided by clearer heads and adult leadership once it became frighteningly obvious that there was going to be a Trump administration. Sadly, that was just a fever dream. What we’ve ended up with was a rogue’s gallery of political sycophants, criminals, and in-laws:
Jeff Sessions – Cracker from Alabama who blatantlylied during his confirmation hearing and left his honorable FBI Director, Jim Comey, to twist in the wind, now ironically twisting in the wind himself.
Michael Flynn – Retired Army Lieutenant General, likely in the pocket of the Russians and the Turks while advising the Trump campaign. Now the subject of a Robert Mueller grand jury. Key expounder of “Lock her up!” Oh what a difference a pronoun makes.
Kellyanne Conway – Coiner of the ‘alternate facts’phrase and shill for the cheap Chinese-made schlock of her boss’ daughter, Ivanka. Perhaps her nadir was her tweet following the Georgia congressional runoff election – ‘laughing my Ossoff.” Way to keep it classy, Kellyanne.
Ever since the election, I’ve been feeling unmoored. A couple of months ago, I read about a resistance movement of sorts – people handwriting the US Constitution. This sounded appealing to me, so I tried it. I was relatively familiar with the Constitution, but became particularly intrigued with Amendment 25. It’s genesis is in the Kennedy assassination and was intended to provide a clearer line of succession should the president become incapacitated than that outlined in of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6. As finally ratified, the 25th Amendment provides for the following:
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
I think it’s clear to even the most casual observer that Trump is crazy – not crazy like a fox, but insane. This is the scenario that clause 4 of the 25th Amendment was designed for. But the absolute tragedy here is that if the amendment, or impeachment, were initiated, we’d be left with Mike Pence. Quite frankly, Mr. Pence is even worse than the Donald.
This afternoon, I was reading my Air Force commissioning certificate. It was signed by Ronald Reagan. There was a man I was diametrically opposed to, but he did have a way with words. Perhaps one of his most stirring speeches was likening America to a ‘shining city on a hill.’ Today, America isn’t so much a shining city on a hill but a raging dumpster fire. Donald J. Trump must be stopped. By any means.
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So a few weeks to get Pence, and then a few more months of mayhem before we do the same dance and get Ryan?