Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Civil War (+ Pessimism)

Even after six months, I shake my head in wonder at the disaster of Trump.

His corruption is so transparent, his complete lack of decency so conspicuous, that I can only be reminded of that line from a Hitler henchman – something about the bigger the lie, the easier it is to pull off.

Too often, I tend to be pessimistic. I admit that freely. I anticipate the worst of outcomes. Many times I am proven wrong, but this has not altered my essentially grim expectations.

In one of these useless LUNG diatribes, I predicted civil war. Or, more accurately, said that one is not off the table. I still think it could happen. This country is so divided that Trump’s removal from office could be the spark that ignites it, especially given the way he encouraged, even incited, violence during last year’s campaign.

“Donald, thy name is division,” wrote New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, in the period between election day and the inauguration. “You and your campaign of toxicity and intolerance have not only divided this country but also ripped it to tatters.”

I’ve become a big fan of Blow’s. He has delivered indictment after indictment since Trump’s elevation. Typically calm and reasoned, I find him far more insightful than, say, that smug Lawrence O'Donnell, or that blowhard Chris Matthews. I’m glad they and other MSNBC mainstays are going after Trump. But they’re all preaching to the choir. The liberals take them in, while Trump supporters turn to Fox News and to Brietbart.

I don’t think the mainstream media is fake news in the way this fake president portrays it. I do think it is beholden to the powers that be, and is little more than a mouthpiece to the power elite. They are lined up squarely against Trump, which is revealing, and why, of course, he hates them so much.

The LA Times did a great series on Trump last spring. You should follow that link, and read the whole thing. There are individual editorials like “Why Trump Lies,” and “Trump’s Authoritarian Vision.” The series as a whole painted a bleak picture, but was not without hope. “We should not underestimate the resiliency of a system in which laws are greater than individuals and voters are as powerful as presidents,” it said. “This nation survived Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon. It survived slavery. It survived devastating wars. Most likely, it will survive again.”

Such optimism!

The Washington Post called for Trump’s impeachment in mid-May, just after the firing of James Comey. The paper that brought Nixon down forty years ago correctly said it will take serious commitment to constitutional principle to get the job done. Is that even possible, in the current political climate?

Trump has his true believers. Yet surely, some of his supporters have always been reluctant: reasonable people who had voted Republican their entire lives. I have to believe that, once they accepted this yutz really was their party’s 2016 candidate, they held their noses and loyally cast their red ballots. Perhaps they’ll have that commitment to constitutional principle.

The Trump presidency is compelling psychodrama. It’s a major test of the constitution, probably its biggest ever. Can it protect the country from this lunatic? Or is Trump the death knell for what remains of this democracy?

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