Commentary: Exit, stage left

We are witness to the collapse of a presidency. This reality TV show president has come to the end of his run. Clearly he no longer has a firm grasp of reality, and his attempt to manipulate reality to conform to his bidding has failed in its ill-starred journey to the summit.

The contradictions of his subordinates attempting to explain the torrent of untruths coming from above is astounding, and prompted self-inflicted ruin to many reputations by attempting to show loyalty to power.  This campaign fed on the fury of citizens frustrated with government and who were willing to poke a finger in the eye of the establishment to get its attention. The feeling of many voters that they had nothing to lose by backing a “strong” man has the opposite effect of transferring more power to the elite. The frustration has enabled a flood of irrational policies and resuscitated ideas better left dead.

No wonder the majority party seems incapable of uniting long enough to cause further damage. Many show fealty to this ruined idea, and cling to it because Republicans are obsessed with power, without any positive ideas about its appropriate application. Their obsession led to a new Supreme Court justice in the place of the person that Barack Obama was constitutionally entitled to propose. However, Obamacare stands, although endangered, and funding for science and medicine is intact, for now.

This new crisis is worsening and threatens the integrity of the government. The chief executive is unhappy with an investigation into the entanglements with Russians. Russian interference with our election is critical and the possibility that they were working with the Trump campaign must be followed to its conclusion. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey mid-investigation has done nothing to deflect and everything to raise suspicion, and seems a strange reward for someone who played such a large part in his election. The lies told to brush aside the stigma of the investigation are enough to sink Trump’s already leaky ship.

Trump is the antithesis of an American leader, with a fondness for tyrants, no understanding of democratic principles or workings, division of the American people for political gain, and is profoundly unfit for public office. The fact that he was just popular enough to be elected is a sign of the disorder the republic is experiencing, a result of years of deliberately sown confusion and dark money influence.

Continually we see instances of the lack of ethics in this government, from Trump family misadventures to the Republican congressional majority voting for a bill that pries $800 billion out of the health care we depend upon and gives it to the privileged. The fact that these representatives would vote for such a draconian measure is evidence of how little regard they have for the people they serve.

What can we expect from a man whose claim to political life was begun with a lie about a standing president, whose campaign was filled with ridiculous statements, who demonstrated that he had no regard for fairness, women’s dignity, respect, decorum, humility, kindness, or truth? The lies and problems of Trump are legion, and there is not space nor the stomach to repeat them here. It is enough to say that we have elected an aberration, a mistake, a man who ran under false pretenses, who, quite possibly, did not want or expect to win. Witness the shocked look on his face post-election, when he met with President Obama and began to grasp what he had gotten himself into. It is quite likely that the burden is too much for him, a job so far beyond the comprehension of a grandiose, self-promoting huckster, that he is unmoored and lost. Witness his statements about how the job is harder than he imagined, his statements about judges and Congress, his frustration at losing his regular life, and it is apparent that he is overwhelmed. While the deceit, bluff, egotism and showmanship were rampant throughout the campaign it has multiplied to a crisis point now. Daily he slips a little further from reality, and threatens to take the country with him.

Trump is a great campaigner, but shows no capacity to govern. We deserve more than the Trump reality TV show. Dishonesty and refusal to face facts do not belong in the office of the most powerful person in the world. That the man is dangerous is evident, and continuing the charade will only deepen the damage. He will not take us down with him.

Steve Foreman is a Warren County resident.