I’ve been mystified by the unwillingness of many people – including my most progressive friends – to say out loud what has become obvious in Donald Trump’s post-election rampage through democracy: Our President is insane.
Of course, many of us knew he was not quite ‘right’ all along, but no one declaimed his utter madness. And few gave thought to the harm a TRULY INSANE President might do to our country.
To be sure, there was lots of hand wringing about Trump’s extreme narcissism; but mental health professionals warned against remote diagnoses, and we’ve been culturally attuned (reasonably so) to avoid disparaging the mentally ill by bandying words like “insane” casually.
And, in fairness, in 2016 virtually no one thought Trump could win. Right up until Election Day, Trump was playing a role we had become accustomed to seeing him in – cheap entertainment, playing to our basest motives. It didn’t matter if he was mad — that just made the show more entertaining while we awaited its foregone conclusion. Except that everyone was wrong – in TV terms, the series finale became a season finale with a twist, Trump as President, and the show was renewed for four more seasons.
Our Constitution puts tremendous power in the hands of a President. Recent White House discussions about seizing voting machines, forcing new elections or imposing martial law highlight the serious risk of a President not entirely (remotely!) in control of his mental faculties. And advisors are now privately warning reporters and others about Trump’s rapidly deteriorating mental state.
Why, then, are we having such trouble saying out loud what is so abundantly clear? There is nothing in law or nature that says a President cannot be insane. Some part of the explanation involves pure exhaustion. Having deposed the mad king, it’s emotionally easier to hide under the covers and wait out the storm. Indeed, there are only a few days left before Trump’s POWER is extinguished at noon on January 20, 2021.
Unfortunately, Trump’s actions since Election Day have made it clear that there’s no hiding from the clear and present danger he presents to the Republic. So, let’s say it OUT LOUD: Trump is insane, and must be stopped. Now.
Our military leaders should make it clear (and public) that they will not follow any order attempting to undermine public confidence in the election or overturn the will of the voters.
The Judiciary should inform the President that he’s run out of tilts at the legal windmill, and that it will not further indulge his fraudulent and corrosive claims.
And, though I don’t expect the spineless sycophants of this administration to do anything, it’s worth noting that the 25th Amendment was designed for a moment like this.
So far, democracy has withstood the assault Trump launched against our country even before Election Day. Our institutions have been shaken but remain standing. We are, in the end, likely to survive this interregnum, beaten and battered but not broken.
And, on Jan 21, 2021 Biden should appoint a Presidential Commission to study and propose a Constitutional Amendment to address and prevent any recurrence of this dangerous dance around Presidential insanity!