Be wary of Trump’s thirst for power

Sunday voices: Susan Bigler

Following the testimony of Robert Mueller to the House committees, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings made a plea to us. “I’m begging, begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and generations yet unborn, we have got to guard this moment. This is our watch.”

Are enough of us paying attention?

Of course, President Donald Trump responded in his usual schoolyard bully manner by attacking Cummings and his district of Baltimore, Md. Exercising its Constitution-given rights, the Baltimore Sun published a scathing editorial rebuke of Trump’s tweets. The line that stands out is “He’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity.”

Is this true? Can it be possible that his veil of deception is finally wearing thin and more of us are turning on that proverbial light bulb over our heads and waking up to reality? Are we still saying “but the economy?” If that excuse were a curtain it would nowhere near cover any of the Republican stage crew behind it.

The economy took a recent 2% jump. The economic indexes have been steadily doing that since the near collapse in 2008 in spite of Trump, not because of him. His tax bill was a windfall for the filthy rich, but how much did the average worker get? A few dollars which were immediately swallowed up by inflation and rising prices due to his tariffs. His plan to counter that huge deficit it caused include the further damage of cuts to Social Security and Medicare and eliminating important government agencies.

In actuality, the crew is not very busy right now because the set director, Mitch McConnell, is holding up the production. Since the 2018 elections, the House has passed over 200 bills which need to be acted on in the Senate, but Mitch runs the show and leaves them piled on his desk — laws to help protect us from election tampering and from mass murders, to improve immigration processes and health care access and affordability — many things to help the people of this country, but they go nowhere as long as he is in control.

While the crew is idle behind the curtain, off-stage is another matter, who knows what they are involved in. Meanwhile, the MC of the show continues to tell his stories. The wilder they are, the more successful he is at deflecting the audience from paying attention to the incompetent and corrupt acting troupe he has hired. Anyone of any quality has left the building, to be replaced by faithful Trump lackeys or not replaced at all. Recently, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has been relieved of duty, to be replaced, if Trump has his way, by an ally like Attorney General William Barr. Control of both intelligence and law enforcement is a dangerous consolidation of power to give Trump. And through the chaos the show’s sponsors and backers sit back and applaud.

I use this analogy because there probably isn’t a person reading this who hasn’t been to a performance that disappointed, felt deceived and wanted your money back. That’s you if you voted for Trump to drain the swamp, bring outmoded industries back, hyper-boost the economy and trickle-down the wealth. His focus on dividing us has furthered Mitch’s work stoppage so that there is no way for congress to work together. He is himself hindering the progress of everything he said he was going to do. Further, even though Trump is far from being a tortured thespian, he does have readily identifiable sociopathic tendencies. Dr. Lance Dodes, noted professor of Psychiatry, in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, shows how Trump meets each of the 7 traits that define Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder makes one “cruel, indifferent to oth-ers’ feelings, cheat, lie, lose track of reality under stress, and (need to be in absolute control).” These tendencies are inherent in would-be tyrants. The possibility of Trump destroying our democracy is real.

If real historical parallels aren’t convincing, they seem too extreme, how about looking to the arts. Even Steven King imagined something like this happening in his novel “The Dead Zone.” Fiction can become non-fiction. Characters can become reality celebrities, then presidents. Whenever the unthinkable happens, this line gets repeated over and over; “I never thought it could happen here.”

Cummings is echoing in this modern day constitutional crisis what the patriotic founders of our democracy said two and a half centuries ago, he is putting it in our hands. We need to contact our representatives while they are on recess and in their districts, let them know that the president’s actions to obstruct justice uncovered in Mueller’s investigation need to be addressed.

Our representative, Tom Reed, is a Trump apologist and needs to be informed that he has constituents who don’t agree. No one is above the law, the Constitution provides for that. Trump’s favorite part — Article 2– has a Section 4 that he needs to read. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will open up impeachment proceedings if there is enough public outcry.

Let’s let her know we don’t approve of a president who puts himself above the law. Thomas Paine said “The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government.” Patrick Henry said, “The Constitution is not a document for the government to restrain the people: it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

So when government appears to be seizing power, ignoring the welfare of its citizens, ignoring the laws of the land and illegally rewarding themselves and their wealthy supporters, it is up to us to speak out before the curtain comes down on our proud democracy. Trump and his enablers are tearing at its fabric, shredding it piece by piece. Generations to come should be able to say that George Washington was our first president, that Abraham Lincoln won the Civil War and that was the only time we fought each other, that our country has endured through centuries of ups and downs and we have presidents who number beyond 45.

It’s been made clear, McConnell’s Senate will not pass any of the House bills to protect the elections and Trump has left open the invitation for foreign interference. We cannot depend on a fair election voting him out. He has set the stage for a finale in his favor either way — if he should lose he will contest it. We need to push for the House to begin impeachment proceedings to get all his wrong-doings out in full public view. “It’s our watch.” Let’s stay awake!

Susan Bigler is a Sheridan resident.

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