Most Americans understand that this untrustworthy, incompetent, man-child is arguably the most unfit person ever to be American president. Whether caused by derangement, startling ignorance, or simply evil is of no importance. What is monumentally important is that the United States of America is on a path toward fascism, the strong-man, dictatorship, international banditry that we’ve resisted for over two centuries.
How did we get here so fast? Where is that City on a Hill? Worse, we should expect this frightening deterioration to accelerate as safeguards in the system weaken. Even eliminating Trump as president is not enough to erase the damage. The Constitutional strengths of a country do not spring back to relevance just because their destroyer leaves town. If we are to save America, much more is required than evicting Trump from the White House.
Anyone who watched Trump in the 2016 campaign, then claimed to be surprised at his un-American presidency is naive in the extreme. He had no commitment to the judicial system, to the rule of law, to Constitutionally prescribed roles, to common decency, and even to simple facts. Policies, programs, laws, and traditions are important to Trump only to the extent they serve his pathological ego. Millions of American voters either played dumb or intentionally decided the risks to America didn’t matter. So why not bet the republic on a madman?
“He’s new to politics” excused his ignorance. “He’ll learn to be presidential” overlooked his basic crudeness and coarseness. “He tells it like it is” excused his lying. “He’ll drain the swamp” excused a worse swamp. “He shouldn’t need to show his finances” excused hyper-secrecy and possibly criminality.
His behavior as president was easily predictable and, in fact, worse because with each horrid action, we fooled ourselves into thinking there wouldn’t be even further ineptness and paranoia. But that was just the start. We were on the edge, but not yet over it.
Republicans in the Senate and House, despite knowing what they were getting, decided to “identify with the aggressor,” kiss-up, and do whatever was necessary to avoid offending him. After all, they were driven by lust for SCOTUS seats, by hate for Obamacare, by owning all branches of government, and inheriting from Trump a right wing Christian base easily bought off. Apparently, partisan choices were more important than preserving the safety of the system so carefully established by our founders.
So why should they let incessant lying, destruction of an international reputation that took decades to build, or endangerment of the federal justice system get in the way? Indeed, why should they diligently carry out their responsibility as an independent branch of government at the risk of offending Trump, even if Trump was is aimed at destroying much of what American has been. (How could deterioration be so obvious that Rep. Nunes’ bizarre actions become a new normal?) Making America great again, ironically, will become a truly meaningful motto when Trump and his minions are finished with it.
For now, however, only one authority in government has a chance to save the country from the most damage to America as a system since the Civil War. Yet, House and Senate Republicans are Trump’s greatest fan club, regularly refusing to check the obviously dangerous president, and just as regularly bending over to lick his, uh, boots.
Voters in 2016 either carelessly or ignorantly did something akin to letting an 8 year old drive the family car (after which it makes little sense to blame the child’s ignorance and impulsivity). Did we learn? The polls regarding support for Trump announce that we did not. The continued Congressional support demonstrates daily that we did not.
Whether America continues its flirtation with fascism or only has a scary near-miss, the damage to this republic must, therefore, be borne by the Republican party, even more than by Trump, for the Congress has the Constitutional power of impeachment and removal. They are so far choosing to be accessories after and before the facts.