Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Most Basic Trouble With President Trump

Far too often I suddenly stop and try to get my head around the fact that sixty-plus million American voters thought this man would be the correct one to give the nuclear keys to.  He was equally incoherent and narcissistic in his pre-election rallies as he is in his post-election rallies (we have never-ending campaigning to celebrate the Dear Leader now).

Let's set aside the many and complicated explanations for Trump's support aside.  Let's instead ask what his election teaches us about the necessary conditions for a functioning democracy (even a limping one). 

What has gone wrong in the last thirty years or so, to allow a clearly incompetent, ignorant and ill-willed man to be elected to run this country?

Consider this parable:

We are passengers in a long-distance bus, going 120 miles per hour in a dark night up a curving mountain lane. The bus is driven by a deranged maniac who only wants to see how fast he can drive and how daringly.  Some passengers are tied to their seats.  Other passengers are free to move,  but nevertheless refuse to disable the driver, perhaps because they savor the idea of the tied-down ones dying when the bus careens into an abyss (never mind that they will be collateral damage), or perhaps because they enjoy the vicious ride or because they believe in their own immortality.*

That was my parable of the power that only the Republicans in the Congress (the passengers who can move in the bus)  have to control Donald Trump (the deranged bus driver).  The rest of us have much more limited power to influence the events.  In particular, we cannot ask to be let off at a safe stop.

I want to stress that this post is not about criticizing the horrible things Trump wishes to achieve, or says that he wishes to achieve.  Those I cover frequently.

It's about something much more limited:  The failure of the electoral system to stop an utterly incompetent man from being elected as the leader of the country, never mind what his policies might be. 

So how can this be fixed?


*  Or because the alternative would have been a bus driven by a lady, and "everybody" knows that women cannot drive.