Things seem to be getting more and dire as Don, The Vengeful, dismantles more and more institutional norms.
As The Don continues to clean house and rid himself of anyone who is not loyal to him, there is much hand- wringing but a sense of helplessness in stopping him. Remember Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life when the greedy and despotic Mr. Potter transforms Bedford Falls in to Pottersville? Well, if The Don gets four more years, it won’t be surprising if he pushes to change the name of our country to TrumpAmerica or maybe T.S.A. (Trump States of America.) After all, branding is everything for The Don: Trump Airlines, Trump Steaks, Trump Water, Trump University, etc. All failed businesses but hey, who cares?
As a narcissist, all that matters to The Don, is that everything reflects him and his greatness. Ultimately, he will wonder why such a transformational figure does not have a country named after him. After all, he has made references to himself being a God, so what’s a country compared to that?
With each passing transgression, the running joke that he could “shoot someone on 5th Avenue” and still be loved, seems less far-fetched. The Don is taking a page out of Nixon’s playbook that “when the president does it, that means it can’t be illegal.”
However, In Nixon’s case, the members of his own party decided there were limits to what the president could do and forced him out of office.
The silence and cowardice of today’s Republicans continues to defy credulity. Everyone championed Mitt Romney when he gave his eloquent speech about The Don’s transgressions during the impeachment hearings and voted to convict him. Where is he now? Is the Republican’s collusion with The Don, as he systematically dismantles the rule of law, attacks our own intelligence agencies and invites Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, simply based on fear of reprisal and desire for power?
When people talk about The Don as a cult leader they are right. In cults, the charismatic personality of the leader allows them to convince people that they alone have the ability to transform their lives; and entry in to this special world, where one gets to drink the elixir of false dreams, allows people to abandon their own sense of reality and beliefs. In this world, loyalty to the leader is essential and those that stray are denigrated, ostracized and eventually disposed of. The pressure to conform and maintain the leader’s blessing and affirmation, coupled with the fear of retribution, should you stray, are powerful forces of conformity.
In a remarkable turn, the party of the rule of law, the staunch supporters of our national security apparatuses and promulgators of virulent anti-Russian sentiment have reversed course.
But maybe there is another explanation for the sheep-like behavior of the Republicans. Maybe all the Republican lawmakers are being micro-dosed in their morning coffee or tea with a new hallucinogen that renders their critical thinking to mush and makes them hallucinate an alternative image as Don, the God of Love and Don, the God of Retribution.
The Justice Department, run by William Barr, which normally functions independently from the president, is now working for him, interfering in prosecutions and shutting down investigations that negatively impact the president. The president publicly attacks the judge and specific jurors in the Roger Stone case. He laments to his followers that two Democratically appointed Supreme Court Justices (Ginsburg and Sotomayor) should recuse themselves from any cases concerning him. (Next month the court will be rendering a decision on whether The Don’s taxes can be released.)
Problem with that? Nah, can I have more coffee, please?
The intelligence community meets with members of congress to inform them that, surprise, surprise, the Russians are interfering in the 2020 election and their response ranges from outrage that the intelligence community betrayed the president by informing congress, to a big yawn. Then the Don fires James Maguire, the National Security Director, for allowing this information to be presented to the committee (which happens to be their job.)
Another cup of tea, please.
The Don declares that he is the chief law enforcer in the country, which ultimately means he can prosecute his enemies without any obstacles. If William Barr does have a limit and decides he no longer wants to participate in the Don’s abuse of the D.O.J., then it is quite possible that The Don will say fuck it to another Attorney General and declare: “Hey, there will no longer be an Attorney General as there is a new sheriff in town!”
Serving that delicious latte, today?