Badly Done

While I’m normally as happy as a White Supremacist at a Klan rally anytime there appears to be credible, first-hand evidence of just how loathsome and unqualified our current president truly is, for me, the NYT Op-Ed went too far.

It’s not just the fact that unelected, unknown staffers are directing policy (albeit in the purported service of national security); indeed, the unattributed essay effectively suggests – and the soon-to-be released Woodward book certainly concludes – that there has been a “soft coup,” and that despite his blather, Trump’s power has been largely diluted by a handful of unidentified aides who, even more so than their boss, would appear to above the law.

It’s not even so much that the article was published without attribution, although that fact alone calls into question the motive, veracity, and moral conviction of the author. If one is going to speak out, I say, have the courage of your convictions and be willing to accept any fallout that may ensue. It’s difficult, moreover, to come to any firm conclusions about whether the author is entitled to our respect or our condemnation given that there’s no context in which to evaluate the behavior.

I can even tolerate the self-congratulation and martyrdom implicit in the Op-Ed, suggesting as it does that the auhor and his weary band of patriots are all that stand between our country and certain annihilation. I’ll even overlook the craven, obvious attempt to appeal to both Conservative Republicans (“Look! We’re actually carrying out the agenda you elected him to enact, except he won’t”) AND Liberal Dems (“Yeah, we think he’s a train wreck, too. #resist”).

What I can’t forgive, for starters, is that the author has now published to the enter world a portrait of chaos well beyond what even the most cynical and outraged of us could ever have imagined, and in so doing, has potentially placed our country at risk by exposing that we are, at present, a rudderless ship filled with people who hate each other.

Does the rest of the world know that Donald Trump is a petty, impulsive, uninformed, sociopath? Of course. Before today, however, they probably didn’t know that our country is now being run by nameless, faceless men and women who answer to no one. If that doesn’t suggest a country in crisis, I don’t know what does.

I’m not suggesting that Trump shouldn’t be held accountable for his pervasive incompetence and poor judgment, but there is a right way to do things, and there are processes in place to address Trump’s myriad deficiencies. There’s impeachment, if the Mueller probe turns up sufficient evidence of misdeeds, and there’s the 25th Amendment, which the cabinet would apparently entertain if there were evidence and an appetite to unseat a sitting president.

There are also two houses of Congress, replete with committees, that have the power to investigate executive wrongdoing, though, admittedly, the neither Mitch McConnell nor Paul Ryan (nor any Republican Congressman seeking re-election, really) would seem inclined to break ties with the president…at least not before the midterms. Still, one wonders whether, if a “high-ranking adminstrative official” approached Congress with documented evidence of Trump’s lack of fitness (and sanity), someone might take action.

It seems as though their could have been a more productive manner in which to address the Trump Problem, because, when you think about it, what does this Op-Ed accomplish but to stoke ever more discord and uncertainty? What are we, as a nation, to do with this information?

At it’s best, the article informs all Americans – and the rest of the world, too – that the White House is in freefall. It proposes no solutions and offers no hope that anything is going to change. It’s beyond dispute, moreover, that the essay places our country in a weaker position geopolitically and further polarizes our already polarized country.

What’s most concerning- to me, anyway – is the staggering hypocrisy – and arrogance – inherent in the article. The author calls out Trump for being a tyrannical despot who believes himself to be utterly unaccountable, and yet, what is the author and his cohorts but precisely that? We don’t know who they are or what they’re doing, we have no information about their agenda, and we have no ablity to check their actions – because we don’t know who they are, or what they’re doing. Trust me, the author exhorts us. We know what we’re doing. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about what’s happening behind th scenes.

But isn’t that same unbridled exercise of unchecked power the very thing that the author is railing against in Trump (aside from his pettiness, lack of intellect, and impulsivity)? He or she purports, by means of secretive actions the public will never know about, to curb the dictatorial streak Trump would let loose if he could, by acting like – well, a dictator. Stated differently, if you oppose Trump for being a power-mad despot, you can’t logically or credibly support those who would attempt to undermine and subvert the democratic process by which the people select their leaders.

But here’s the worst part of it all – the thing that sticks in my craw: It’s a pretty good bet that whoever wrote that article was a Trump True Believer way back when, someone who was on board from the start or else hopped on the Trump Train when it became politically expedient to do so. This person may have campaigned for him, may have been a factor in Trump’s getting elected.

At the very least, we know that this person was aware of serious concerns as to Trump’s fitness practically from Day One, but instead of going through proper and well-established channels to address those concerns, determined that a small group of unelected individuals should essentially take over the executive branch indefinitely, and unbeknownst to the entire country which, by the way, is not how a democracy is supposed to work.

And so, the very person who has finally decided to blow the lid on what’s really going on in the West Wing, the person who apparently knows better than anyone else, the person who wants us to believe he/she alone can save the country if only we will continue to look the other way, is very likely one of the same peoplewho helped put Trump in the Oval Office in the first place. To my mind, anyone who seriously thought that Trump was a good choice to run our country is the last person who should be running it for him.

Badly done, Anonymous.

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