Point of View Columns

A Clear and Present Danger

Until very recently, the notion of applying the 25th Amendment as a strategy to oust Donald Trump as president on the grounds of his being psychologically unfit to serve seemed to be just the fevered dream of the most rabid Trump haters. But now, it seems that times have changed.

Before he was elected most Americans who cared knew that he was vulgar, mercurial, sexist and racist. Since he has been inaugurated, Trump has demonstrated a stunning disregard for the truth and a total embrace of ignorance even in the face of overwhelming and indisputable facts.

That he has translated his mendacity and his ignorance into policy is undeniable. But if the truth be told, he is not the first president to lie, although he has set an Olympian-level record for lying that will be difficult to surpass. And Trump is not the first president to be careless about what he knows, or doesn’t know.

The difference with Trump is that his behavior would make most six year olds ashamed as he insults the world, bullies and threatens any opposition and brutalizes anyone foolish enough to think that they can actually work with this man. The further difference is that his character flaws have been converted into damaging policies that literally put this country at risk.

Getting into useless brawls with NATO, the European Union and Iran make it possible that his next tweet could result in the loss of American lives. His denial of climate change and pulling this country out of the Paris Climate Agreement has resulted in the very real possibility that a child born today may not reach adulthood with clean air and clean water being readily available during his/her lifetime.

But now, in shutting down the federal government, and threatening to extend the shutdown for months or years, Trump has shown himself to either be dangerously unstable or possessed of a very real desire to damage this country if he doesn’t get his way over a wall.  A wall.

Even if he knows nothing about the unseen work of the federal government and its multiple agencies and multitudes of public servants, someone in the White House must have explained to him that millions of Americans are being damaged every day. And to even threaten “months or years” of a government shutdown is to bring joyful hope to every enemy of this country.

If a terrorist were to wear a bomb vest and walk into Grand Central Station in New York City and threaten to blow up that iconic landmark, no responsible law enforcement officer would wait to see if the threat was real. The mere utterance of that threat combined with the perceived capability to carry out that threat would be enough cause to neutralize that terrorist.

What we are now seeing is Donald Trump playing the role of a domestic terrorist. His office gives him the ability to carry out his threat to cripple the government of the United States. His threats to have to be taken seriously. And therefore, it is clearly the responsibility of the Congress to neutralize this individual before he actually carries out threats that will bring about unspeakable damage to the men, women and children of this country.

And that is where the 25th Amendment which allows for the removal of a president who is unfit to serve. And if there was ever a man who has demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as president for even another day, it is Donald J. Trump. Playing with the lives of Americans and the future of this country as if were just another one of his mediocre reality shows is all the evidence that anyone needs to realize that he simply should not be president.

One has to wonder if Republicans are so enamored of tax cuts and conservative judges that they are willing to risk the fate of this nation. One has to also wonder if Democrats are so fearful of Fox News and being seen as partisan extremists that they will not act to save this country before it is too late.

To paraphrase the late Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defense of the survival of this country is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of purely partisan goals is no virtue.

Even if the shutdown ends sooner than later, Trump has told everyone who will listen that he only cares about Trump and the rest of us can either act or suffer the consequences of inaction.