Updated: Feb 19, 2020
The problem with America is that there are no longer any adults in the room.
I read somewhere that ten percent of people in the world are psychopaths, that is, folks who are inherently incapable of empathizing with other human beings. In their warped little universes, the only thing that matters is what they want for themselves; and they want it now, regardless of the cost to others. Nine out of this ten percent quite successfully wear a distracting mask and only inflict real harm on their loved ones or those in close contact such as employees and subordinates who have no real defensive power, the quiet victims of their long-standing abuse. That other one percent is your stereotypical serial killer of which there are so many examples in today’s world. A few of these are leaders of major countries.
If asked to point out the most persistent danger in the USA today, or even in the whole world, I’d have to say it’s Donald Trump’s amorality and delusions of grandeur. He’s not yet become the worst president the country has ever seen during its long history, but he is the most dangerous. Unlike George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, or Barak Obama, DT is not tethered to any first principles to guide his decision making. Instead, he’s your garden variety sociopath and psychopath.
President Trump displays little or no affinity for the ideals that historically made the office sacrosanct, ideals that over time ‘Made America Great.’ He wants to ‘Make America Great Again®’ but only in his own adolescent image and likeness. Such jingoism is what got him elected – playing to the lowest, least attractive elements in American society and culture who, in the American democracy, have come out and made their sentiments known at the ballot box. The latent bigotry, intolerance, and old-fashioned hatred that has always simmered just below the surface has lately been validated and made respectable, even desirable.
Unlike most of his predecessors in the Oval Office, Trump displays no appreciation for a free press, free markets, free votes, free minds; indeed, he has no real understanding of the term ‘freedom’ in the American context, which, by the way, includes the freedom to be racist, intolerant, and a hater. Instead, he styles himself a populist president and a ‘nationalist,’ and like other populist leaders (Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Augusto Pinochet, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, the list goes on and on), there is no limit to what the man will do to attract attention to himself. On November 11, 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Trump against the inherent dangers of nationalism in the hands of a populist president. Trump’s response, like the spoiled brat he is, was to boycott the Veterans Day ceremonies outside Paris. Macron understands the difference between nationalism and patriotism (they are mutually exclusive) but Trump does not.
Nationalism to Donald Trump and his fawning apparatchiks means anti-democratic and even anti-trade. He pretends to be a pragmatic and astute businessman when in reality he is nothing but an over-indulged, spoiled bully who squandered much of his father’s fortune then divorced the woman who rebuilt his financial empire. He is sexist and a public groper.
Melania Trump – who unlike Barak Obama wasn’t born in the United States – acts as if she were an elected public official, prevaricating from the First Lady’s Office in the White House, making press releases, advising the President, hiring and firing and ruling over the royal household a-la-Marie Antoinette. That's when she isn't busy visiting Third World nations in her vintage white colonial ensemble, complete with pith helmet. When visiting detention centres holding children separated from their Mexican parents, she boarded her private jet 'Executive One Foxtrot' wearing a jacket emblazoned with the message: "I really don't care, do u?" It's surely only a matter of time before she mouths the words:
Like the royalty she pretends, wannabe Queen Malania calls their son 'Barron.'
Meanwhile, when questioned about the source of the Trump Organization’s financial power, Eric Trump – the crown prince - publicly confirmed that the Trump business empire “doesn’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
By far the most alluring and least attacked member of the Trump Court is Princess Ivanka. That is, until now. Now she's being pilloried in the media for using her private email account to transmit government business, an accusation that her father Donald earlier used against Hilary (lock-her-up) Clinton and that resulted in an investigation by the FBI and impacted on Hilary's shot at the White House. Hey, wait! Since when has Ivanka Trump become a public official entitled to transmit government business or even be a party to it? Why does she enjoy a security clearance almost equal to the President's? How do Public Records Rules apply to someone who has no voter-madated authority or stake in government whatsoever? First Daughter? Oh, c'mon. But like I said, this is the 'American Democracy.' And what about her husband, (a dukedom for him, perhaps) Jared? Likely to end up in someone's dungeon (when Mueller is through with him).
So, there you have it: American Royalty at its most endearing. A childish fantasy gone terribly wrong.
What pisses intelligent people off, and I’ll surmise that there are probably more unintelligent, misinformed, and just plain stupid citizens in America today than ever before, is the Trump Dynasty’s whole administrative style: arrogant, impetuous, ineffective, whimsical, self-serving, and downright petty. And on the ragged edge of legality.
Watching King Donald in action is nothing if not entertaining. A monarch who rises at 4 o’clock in the morning to Tweet, deserves attention (early bird catches the worm). More worrisome and less entertaining are the repetitive and often racist/sexist rants, and ill-informed and reckless decisions that are consistently seconded by a palace gang of mindless sycophants and toadies (e.g., the Administration and its staffers). His favourite phrase, included in almost every speech, is "Some people didn't know that...(here insert whatever idiocy or outright lie he's lately dreamed up)," as if he were all-knowing, god-like. He thumbs his nose in the face of the informed segment in society who voted against him while pandering to the burgeoning Alt-Right, Neo-Nazi element and the self-serving rich, the string-pullers. Like all absolute rulers and wannabees, he ruthlessly and shamelessly attacks the free press. He publicly vilifies anyone who disagrees with his peculiar viewpoint and whims.
This is nothing new, of course, but at least in the historic past there was some decorum. No evidence has come down to us of Martha Washington ever having posed in the nude. Her husband George may have been a groper but not even his critics left any record. Then there was the Trump-like Buchanan presidency of the 1850's that led to the Civil War. Would Prince Eric have volunteered to be the first soldier off the landing craft at Normandy as Theodore Roosevelt’s own son and grandson did in 1944? Questions...questions...
The thing is, and I repeat: there are no longer any adults in the room. Trump's own Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts, supposedly a grown-up, is coming to rue the day he signed on with a stuffed shirt who couldn't run a lemonade stand, never mind a country. Retired Admiral McRaven is still smarting from his public chastisement for not having off-ed Bin Laden fast enough for the king's liking. Judge or military hero, all the remaining adults in the (throne) room have taken a shit kicking from this family of spoiled miscreants, attacks that are typically baseless, personal, vile...and filled with lies. I could rant on but WTF.
I once tweeted that America was rotten to the core but that we only realized it when the maggots started emerging from the woodwork after 2016. That comment didn't go down well with those who subbornly insist that all the country's ills began with the last inauguration. The fact is that America is, has always been, and likely will always be, about racism, violence, vulgarity and greed. Regardless of our many redeeming qualities, these are nonetheless the core values which we guardedly conceal behind the mask. Remember that dangerous ten percent?
Placing the blame for the current deplorable situation on the Trumps and their royal delusions is therefore a huge cop out. The Trumps are merely symptomatic of a metaphorical playpen full of selfish, naughty children without any adults in the room. The actual cause of our problems springs from within ourselves. Americans could conceivably take ownership of their political and cultural reality and change it, if they wished.
But like any kind of change in this country, it will be painful, even bloody, and take a great deal of time. Impeaching the President, or even the impending 2020 election, is unlikely to change a damned thing, but will only drive it back underground.