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A while back I thought, “He’s everyone’s embarrassing drunk uncle, lumbering through the house farting and swearing, wreckage in his wake; belching out lies and self-praise, he staggers and stumbles, bullying, cowing men and groping women who pretend not to notice. Self-anointed, crown firmly glued, he preens, postures and smirks, mewling and puking self-adoration to mask self-loathing. This ‘stable genius’ declaims, glorying embarrassingly in his ‘greatest,’ ‘smarter than the generals,’ ‘best,’ ‘first ever,’ ‘historic’ fumbles while the floor sags, the timbers creak and the foundation trembles.”

Trump Is Above the Law

“Embarrassing,” I thought. “A terrible gaffe,” I thought. “But we’d survive it.”

But I now think it’s more complicated than that. I think it’s clear we have a deeply sick puppy at our country’s reins while a cluster of acolytes prop him up because his cluelessness serves them. His desperate need for praise and adoration, coupled with his fear and appalling ignorance, create the perfect co-dependency. It allows his enablers the wholehearted pursuit of their deplorable agenda: ending abortion, stacking the court, de-regulating industry, arming the citizenry, assuring corporate control, promoting white Christian supremacy, denying climate change, closing our borders, disparaging ‘shit-hole countries’, snatching babies from the arms of their mothers and a litany of other grotesqueries, all while exploiting U.S. “exceptionalism” and fostering the American Empire.

This is not the country I thought it to be, nor is it the one I want it to be.

I believe those using this sick man as their foil have led our country to a catastrophic juncture of sickness and evil, with cynics ascendant and enemies at the door.

But it’s happening, even as we busy ourselves dismissing Trump as a poseur and a notorious liar. But consider, what if they’re not lies? What if his sickness is so profound the reality he perceives becomes what he needs it to be at every given moment? “Malignant Narcissism,” a term coined by psychologist Erich Fromm, was seen as “the quintessence of evil.” Later colleagues agreed, one seeing it as “a regressive escape from frustration by distortion and denial of reality", another as "a disturbing form of narcissistic personality where grandiosity is built around aggression and the destructive aspects of the self become idealized,” yet another as “lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism."

Sound frighteningly familiar? Does to me. And I believe those using this sick man as their foil have led our country to a catastrophic juncture of sickness and evil, with cynics ascendant and enemies at the door.

And it’s getting worse. With Trump’s full, unleashed, post-impeachment fury, a purge is in the works. Those who fail to demonstrate sufficient levels of blind adoration are banished. Competence out, compliance in: a practice that may be comforting to him and tolerable to his chorus, but dangerous, perhaps ruinous, to us.

When members of the House Intelligence Committee were briefed about continuing Russian interference in our elections, Admiral Joe Maguire, Director of National Intelligence, was unceremoniously sacked and replaced, without any show of concern from Trump’s handlers, by Richard Grenell, an Intelligence illiterate Trumpist hack. Despite a quiet acceptance by most, Maguire’s exorcism caused Admiral William McRaven to warn, “…when good men and women can’t speak the truth… there is nothing to stop the triumph of evil…” To which Laurence Tribe agreed, writing, “This truly looks like TREASON in all but the narrowest possible sense… It points to an enemy of the nation sitting in the White House.”

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Stir into this congealing mess Trump’s recent self-designation as our country’s “chief law enforcement officer,” an act unchallenged by his “Roy Cohn,” Attorney General Bill Barr, who, despite the Constitution, turned a blind eye and continues instead to focus on greasing the skids toward the realization of his personal dream: an Imperial Presidency.

Add to it all the current fiasco: Trump’s utterly stunning, infuriating, staggering incompetence as our nation is dealing with a viral pandemic. His instinctively self-protective response was to deny, stifle and contradict CDC and NIH experts’ medical analyses and advice for fear his precious stock market bellwether will tank and harm his re-election chances, vividly exposing his inability to give a damn about anyone but himself. And again, nothing but agreement, support and cover from the legion of vampires surrounding and applauding his every hallucinatory pronouncement.

Where, I wonder, does that leave us? Where then are we, the people? Where are we when his enablers stifle legislation to better our lot and suppress our vote to oust them? Where are we when Putin, unchallenged, toys with our electoral processes to a degree of effectiveness we don’t completely know? Where are we when an unhinged leader strips out all but those most slavishly loyal to him from positions of power with the tacit acceptance of those who profit therefrom? Where are we when the single Constitutional recourse to his abuse is defiled and savaged by henchmen and women in the U.S. Senate?

What do we have left to us? And what can we do about it?

What we have, finally, is the power to say NO. Absent the willingness of the puppeteers, the acolytes, the enablers, the profiteers and the handlers to stop what is happening because it serves them, we have the power to stand up and speak out. We have the power to name it. And with that we have the power to determine the future of this country and ALL its people. But it means involving ourselves. It means speaking and writing and acting and demonstrating and encouraging others to do the same. It means contributing what we can in whatever way we can, but contributing. It means refusing to look away and pretending it doesn’t matter. It matters!

It means recognizing that THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THERE ARE OF THEM! It means banding together in the name of what’s best for this land and its people, for this world and its people. It means setting aside differences for the moment and setting the ship right. It means doing the work necessary to recognize that the differences between us can be worked out and resolved peacefully. It means organizing, signing petitions, picketing, spending energy, writing, meeting, contributing, taking to the streets when necessary. It means reasserting the power of people to determine for themselves how to best live freely, to think openly, to worship or believe as they choose while honoring all others’ right to do the same.

And for the immediate moment, it means to VOTE. When only a quarter or a third or on a spectacular day half the people with the right to vote actually do so we get what we have today, the imminent collapse of democracy. Every vote makes a difference. Every non-vote supports the status quo. If the candidate of your choice falls by the wayside, as mine did, vote for the one who survives the contest because the choices that person makes, even if imperfect, will move us back toward the vision we were promised, the ideal women and men struggled, fought and died for: freedom, equality and the opportunity for all to realize their potential.

mike farrell

Mike Farrell

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