|Trump and the New Civil War:|
It's time for sensible people
to freak out and speak out!
Welcome to the new Civil War, the political one.
The old one ended with these words from Abraham Lincoln: “With malice toward none, with charity for all … let us strive … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” President Trump is not Lincoln and the millennial Republican Party is not the Party of Lincoln.
An Australian news source (real, not fake) characterized President Trump as “The mad king”. It fits. From an article in German world news, titled “Donald Trump’s self-revelations are shocking”: “Does Trump perhaps believe his own lies? … The President of the United States is acting insane.”
How valid are Donald Trump’s statements and beliefs? A sample from a Washington Post headline: “A fact checker looked into 158 things Donald Trump said. 78 percent were false.” This repeats in legitimate media throughout the nation and the world.
Trump’s ghostwriter for Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, personally accompanied Trump for 18 months to write the book. In an interview he gave a direct answer to a direct question: The book is a fabrication approved by Trump. He now he regrets portraying Trump favorably: If he wrote it again it would be different and its title would be “The Sociopath”.
Schwartz acknowledged that all Trump says and does is colored or created by his massive narcissism. Schwartz : “Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, sort of true, or at least ought to be true.” Trump substitutes his own self-generated notions for factual reality and calls the “fake”. He triggered an avalanche of fact checking in legitimate news media.
Invalid politics thrives on false dichotomies, personalization, and political tribalism. Trump’s tweets and verbal comments abundantly assert value judgments based on these fallacies: “this person, group, situation, action, or event is horrible”. Of course he is “great”.
Trump’s authoritarianism is a special risk. A vivid example is his first executive order, about travel and immigration. He overrode the legal opinion of his Acting Attorney General that the order was unlawful , and promptly fired her. Her professional credits included 27 years as an attorney in the Justice department. Trump’s legal qualifications: None.
That executive order drew about 50 lawsuits in one week. Soon multiple courts blocked it, all the way up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump’s actions were better attuned to dictatorship than presidency.
So far history is confirming Schwartz’s worries about Trump. A Google search for “turmoil in the White House” returned a third of a million hits. A sample headline from the New York Times was “’Unbelievable Turmoil’: Trump’s First Month Leaves Washington Reeling.”
On February 16th BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) reported ”In a letter to the New York Times, 35 mental health professionals warned that ‘grave emotional instability’ indicated in Mr. Trump’s speech and actions made him ‘incapable of serving safely as president’”.
Trump had absolutely zero experience in either government or military service until he was inaugurated as President and Commander in Chief. His narcissistic campaign promises were to dominate government (“Only I can…”), despite total lack of experience within government.
What does that say about those who voted for Trump? Ethically, they owe all of us ultimate responsibility for impacts of the Trump administration. Trump would deport himself if he were someone else.
Reasonable values require two responses: (1) From Congress and the courts, exercising the legal checks and balances that flow from the Constitution; (2) From the part of the public that understands reality and reason, exercising rights of democracy to protest unreasonable and harmful actions in the White House and in the Republican Party, which I now consider to be the Radical Right.
As a long-time nonpartisan voter, I observe that there are still reasonable Republicans but their party has left them. It’s not the Republican party many of us knew in past decades, it’s especially no longer the Party of Lincoln. I invite those reasonable Republicans to join my own political persuasion, nonpartisan. The California voter registration is NPP, No Party Preference.We need collegiality, but we are forced into political combat. It’s time for even moderate independents like me to acknowledge it’s time to fight. We’re in deep trouble if we tolerate a party that wanted a psychologically unhinged President and conducted a hate campaign against a well-qualified candidate.