Part two of three
Much of life is perspective, a way of framing the world, of sorting out what is real, what is of value and what is not. It can mean choosing, as Churchill did, between the fire and the fire brigade.
What has been so jarring and unsettling about the election of Donald Trump is the realization that many of us share a starkly different point of view than those of the Trump cohort, meaning some 63 million Americans.
A recent example of this profound difference is the speech Trump made, notifying Americans and the world that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. His rationale was dark and a stunning rejection of climate science. It was also completely disingenuous: the Paris Accord has always been voluntary. Each nation first commits to the given of climate change and the threat it poses to our planet while crafting a way of reducing its carbon footprint. The key word here is voluntary. Non-binding.
The future is with renewables and jobs and technology will follow. This is the future. Which is why 195 nations, other than Syria and Nicaragua, signed on to the accord (Nicaragua did not because the accord did not go far enough).
The above is but one example of how difficult it is to accept that this man is our elected president. But there it is.
Thus far his tenure has demonstrated time and again that he is unfit, both emotionally and intellectually, to be president. Initially pundits were hopeful that he would grow into the office, that the sheer responsibility and solemnity of being POTUS would require that he shed the persona displayed during the campaign and become someone who grasped the import, the seriousness of being president. That hasn’t happened.
Thus far his term has been a fire hose of recklessness, startling accusations and scandal, the unrelenting consequences of his election coming at us like a tsunami.
Of course, every White House receives its share of criticism. But the reaction to Trump’s behavior in office — his outbursts, his inability to comprehend what being president means — well, the word criticism does not capture what are the growing doubts about the man.
For some 60 percent of the nation, his election can seem surreal and the sense of concern and disbelief regarding Trump have morphed into descriptive words such as “hinged” and “unstable,” reinforced by a snowfall of tweets sent forth by a man who relies on cable news for his information and not those who stand ready to share their studied expertise (FBI, CIA, the State Department).
After absorbing the depth and breadth of what can only be described as sustained chaos, brought on by a man who clearly craves above all the adulation and praise derived from campaigning, many have begun to nurture the fantasy that he will simply resign (it is evident that he loved the wedding but hates the marriage). He telegraphs in countless ways that he would rather be golfing or sitting in his office in Trump Tower surrounded by framed magazine covers, or relaxing at Mar-a-Lago, content to assume the moniker of titular head of Trump Inc. while allowing his children to run the company and sell the brand.
It is obvious that he resents not the publicity (which he has nurtured for most of his life) but the scrutiny, the relentless questioning of the “fake news” press, the demands for explanations and rationales, the answers requiring study and preparation and understanding which he is unwilling to commit to doing.
And there is, of course, the expanding investigation into the Byzantine connections of Russia to Trump, his campaign and now his son-in-law.
Embedded in the above is the question of what can be done constitutionally with the man now ensconced in our White House, wandering its corridors late at night, his tweets substituting for policy, some bordering on the bizarre (his most recent tweet ended with the word “covfefe”).
For many, it feels as if the center will not hold and alternatives like impeachment or the 25th Amendment hover on the edge of hope. Impartiality is no longer an option.
— Chris Honoré of Ashland is a Daily Tidings columnist.