Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:19 am
What to do about a mentally ill president?
I don’t mean that he’s merely idiosyncratic or pushing policies that I think are crazy, nor do I say this as just another political jab. I mean that Donald J. Trump literally is mentally ill.
I’m no doctor, but you don’t need a doctorate in mental disorders to see that his behavior in public and on Twitter is beyond abnormal – it’s psychotic. As we’ve seen, he routinely plunges uncontrollably into prolonged fits of petty paranoia; he succumbs to delusions of imperialist grandeur; he spouts absurd right-wing rumors as facts (while simultaneously denying that actual facts are true); and he is pathologically addicted to lying, bizarrely repeating his most blatant fabrications even after they’ve been totally debunked.
A sane, temperamentally-balanced president – possessing all the power and majesty that America’s supreme office conveys to an Oval Office occupant – doesn’t get into demeaning public snits with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger; doesn’t feel a constant need to puff himself up with ridiculously false claims, like his frantic insistence that the crowd at his inaugural celebration was the largest ever; doesn’t rage rabidly at media outlets that question his competence or displease him, blasting them as “enemies of the people;” and doesn’t unleash a furious, all-out attack on Barack Obama just because some screwball radio talk-show conspiracy theorist made a claim that the former president had wiretapped Trump’s campaign.
These are not mere eccentricities, not just Trump being Trump – it’s obvious that the guy is not well and is unable to handle the stressful demands of being president of our democratic republic. Indeed, his flaky behavior suggests he’s on the brink of a personal breakdown, and his ever-more-frequent retreats to his posh Florida golf resort tells us he doesn’t even want to do the job.
Many people who attain high public office grow in their position of trust. Some, however, just bloat.
Trump has put bloat on spectacularly since entering the White House, where he’s had a disastrous start. He chose a cabinet and staff mostly made up of ideological quacks, incompetents and Wall Street grifters. Yet, buoyed by his explosive ego, the president pronounced his start historic: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.”
Sadly, he’s right. For example, they made a reckless, autocratic and unconstitutional attempt to ban millions of Muslim immigrants from our land. They embarrassed America with a hasty, failed and deadly military raid in Yemen. They had to ax the kooky guy he chose to be his national security advisor. They’ve even apparently been caught colluding with Russian meddlers in our politics. Some record.
And now Trump has embraced a GOP replacement of Obamacare, hailing a “Trumpcare” substitute that will jack-up our health care costs, cut benefits and eliminate coverage entirely for millions of working-class and poor people – while also sneaking in yet another underhanded tax cut for the rich. It’s so awful that even hordes of Republican lawmakers have gagged, refusing to swallow it. Yet, lost in self-deception, Trump calls it “wonderful.”
We have a president who is detached from reality, careening from one mess to another. But who will say: “The emperor has no clothes”? He’s so far gone that when he read his recent address to Congress straight off the teleprompter, without his usual pugnacious ranting, Republican enablers of his antics and even the media establishment he scorns applauded him for being “presidential.”
Huh? The speech was a nasty wad of lies and right-wing nonsense. If the occasional appearance of sanity is all we ask of Trump, then his reign of insanity will be our fault. His loved ones and his party should intervene – for his sake and for America’s. But they won’t. Will we?
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist and author.