I prepared an entire post last night detailing some of the things Tr-mp has done since he assumed office—via executive orders that Republicans once condemned when the Kenyan issued them but suddenly find so constitutionally reassuring now that the Aryan’s name is attached. From his de facto tax on millions of “little guy” home buyers with FHA-backed mortgages—an order he signed before he took his first orange piss in the White’s House chamber pot by the way—to his attacks on Obamacare, his anti-abortion order signed while surrounded by fellow male Aryans, and other things that are just part of what will be a full-on assault on the New Deal and other programs that make for a more civilized country (which I will focus on as time goes by, as Republicans team with Tr-mp to realize their decades-old reactionary agenda).
I also was going to detail some other things happening, like a right-wing nut from Kansas, essentially owned by the Koch brothers, becoming the new CIA director, who may or may not revive those infamous “black sites” on orders from Tr-mp. Or the unsurprising story of how, throughout 2016,”Tr-mp Supporters Attacked, Harassed Or Plotted To Kill Muslims At Least 13 Times.” Or how the first bill Republicans in Congress will take up “is a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would make the procedure more expensive for women.” And on and on.
I scrapped that piece I wrote last night because of what happened this morning, when Tr-mp went off on Twitter announcing he “will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD…” Now, to their credit, almost all journalists this side of Herr Hannity pointed out that this whole thing is a Big Lie. There is obviously zero evidence for any significant voter fraud, especially on the scale Tr-mp is claiming. In fact, as some Democrats on television this morning pointed out, this whole Big Lie may very well be used as cover for eroding even further the voting rights of millions of Americans, especially if they don’t happen to be white. I am inclined to think that will be the end result, if not at the federal level, at the state level even beyond what has already happened.
But the biggest reason I think this Big Lie about voter fraud championed by Tr-mp is important is not just because of what it may lead to in the future, but what it tells us about the present. And by that I mean what it tells us about the state of Tr-mp’s mind. As I have said before, the man is sick. He is really, truly, sick in his head. I don’t mean that as provocative hyperbole. I don’t mean it as a partisan statement. I didn’t like Mitt Romney or his policies, but I never thought he was mentally ill. When I speak of Tr-mp being sick, I mean it as an honest interpretation of what we all have seen since June of 2015. I don’t think I need to go deep into that sordid history.
Obviously, I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, and even if I were I couldn’t ethically make an official diagnosis of his disorder from a distance. But here’s what I can do as a citizen who has been paying attention: judge him by his public actions and behavior. I’m entitled to do that. And my judgment is that he, as a human being, is to be pitied as a man with a damaged mind. I don’t know why he is so damaged, whether it be something in his background or something in his brain chemistry. And I don’t know exactly what to call what is wrong with him. But something is definitely messed up. Something serious. And it is dangerous because his damaged brain can now do so much damage to others. Thus, just because I pity him as a sick human being, I still have to do everything I can to unpresident him.
Before you judge me for judging Tr-mp, go look at a helpful Wikipedia page called “List of people claimed to be Jesus.” The list starts in the 18th century with the founder of the Shakers, Ann Lee. The list includes Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church in South Korea in 1954. Moon died in 2012. Jim Jones is on the list, the cult leader from Indiana who encouraged members of his “Peoples Temple” to kill themselves and murder their children in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. Of the 918 people who died at Jonestown, almost 300 of them were children murdered by their parents or others. David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidian cult, is also on the list. He and dozens of his followers, and their children, were killed by a government raid in Waco, Texas, in 1993. All of the above people had some number of followers, people who believed in a messianic Big Lie.
The last name on Wikipedia’s list is Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez. He didn’t have any followers, as far as I know. Here is his entry:
In November 2011, he fired nine shots with an Romanian Cugir SA semi-automatic rifle at the White House in Washington D.C., believing himself to be Jesus Christ sent to kill U.S. President Barack Obama, whom he believed to be the antichrist.
Okay. At this point it is fair to ask why I bring up all these people in the context of Donald Tr-mp. After all, Tr-ump doesn’t claim to be Jesus or some kind of “prophet” of Jesus—although some prominent members of the Religious Right believe he was, indeed, sent by God to save America, and Reverend Franklin Graham, speaking at Tr-ump’s inauguration, said the rain that was falling was “a sign of God’s blessing.”
Here’s why I bring up the sick people, some living and most long dead, on that Wikipedia list. It’s because almost all of us, if we were exposed to the words and deeds of those people, would, without having to consult a psychiatrist, judge them as sick. We wouldn’t pretend otherwise. We wouldn’t hesitate. We wouldn’t give them the benefit of any doubt. We could make such a judgment with our own common sense. And we certainly wouldn’t indulge or tolerate their fantasies and delusions if they held important jobs.
Well, Donald Tr-mp holds the world’s most important job. And among the countless other lies and conspiracies he has peddled over the years, he has told us more than once—as President of the United States now—the absolute lie that millions of votes were cast illegally in 2016’s presidential election. His press secretary told us on Monday the following, when asked about that delusion:
The President does believe that, I think he’s stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him.
Unable to cite any of those imaginary studies or offer any imaginary evidence, Spicer, after reporters kept pressing him, continued to maintain that Tr-mp “has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has” and hinted that the new administration might investigate what amounts to a delusion in Tr-mp’s mind. Today at another presser, Spicer suggested there might be something like a “task force” to look at election fraud that, again, is in the imagination of a disturbed man and some of his equally disturbed followers, like Alex Jones and others at Infowars, which is the “source” for many of Tr-mp’s delusions.
I just want to make this clear. We can all see that Tr-mp is peddling a Big Lie. There isn’t any debate at all about that. The question is why is he doing it? There are two possibilities: 1) He either knows it is a lie, in which case he is purposely trying to deceive millions and millions of Americans—and others around the world living in wobbly democracies themselves—as a way of protecting his already-damaged ego, or 2) He actually believes the Big Lie, in which case he is dangerously gullible and deluded. Which is worse? Either way he is, as I said, a disturbed man.
I like the way Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior advisor to President Obama, put it in a Tweet today:
Here’s where we are: Trump is deeply disturbed, his aides enable him, and the US government now makes policy to alleviate his insecurities
You can see how dangerous it is to have a man in charge of a lethal military, not to mention lethal nuclear weapons, to be so disturbed that policy makers and aides have to worry about alleviating his insecurities. But that’s the world in which we now live. We literally have to worry that Tr-mp doesn’t wake up one day and see something on CNN or some other cable news outlet that pisses him off—which outlets he reportedly watches day and night—to such a degree he does something that used to be unthinkable but no longer is.
Even without a medical degree, we who have watched Tr-mp closely for months and months can see he isn’t normal. He isn’t tethered to reality in important ways. His behavior, fairly or unfairly, has been compared to Hitler. He has received a lot of well-deserved criticism for praising Vladimir Putin and has been compared to him in style. But perhaps closer to the truth is that his authoritarian impulses and his emotional instability are more like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who, as reported, also has thin skin:
North Koreans have been warned of strict action if they make any satirical comments directed at their leader Kim Jong-un or his governance. In a bid to clamp down on criticism, the isolated nation told its citizens to not use sarcasm even in their everyday casual conversation for they “will not be forgiven”.
Authorities reportedly organised mass meetings across the country to issue warnings.
We are a long way from becoming a rich version of North Korea, obviously. But we are not a long way from having a leader whose skin is so thin he overreacts to the slightest criticism, whose ego is so fragile and vulnerable that his focus is on counter-punching and vengeance, whose mind is so disordered and detached from reality that he encourages wild conspiracies and “alternative facts,” whose press secretary has said in trying to defend him that “sometimes we can disagree with the facts.” We may be light years away from being North Korea, but we are only a stone’s throw from having a leader who would feel at home governing such a place.