Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Problem of Trump

The problem of Trump isn't Trump. It's the people in charge of stopping Trump. It should not have come as a shock the the head of the Office of Government Ethics resigned this week suggesting that it is nearly pointless to continue in a job whose directives are entirely ignored by the Trump administration.

As a free and independent billionaire, a guy like Trump is very hard to stop if he doesn't want to be stopped. He has lived his life in a manner that is recognizable from people of his sort. He just happens to be the most extreme and visible example. What I mean is that he is not interested in following any rules, he doesn't care what they are, and for the most part, doesn't even know what they are. He does what he wants, the way he wants, when he wants to. He is nearly unaffected by any attempts to box, control, or reign him in. Additionally, he can afford a battalion of attorneys who are on-call 24/7 to beat back with interminable and expensive litigation, anyone who would be so bold as to try it. It costs Trump no more and no less to have these attorneys on-call for him. He only settles when it leads to bad publicity. See the Trump University settlement for an example.

In the private world, there really isn't any entity that can do much to slow down, much less stop any of Trump's abusively piggish behavior.

In the political world though, it's an entirely different story. It's not money that's at stake here, it's power and authority. The US government is designed precisely to contend with an imbecilic and gold-plated power turd like Trump. Checks and balances is a phrase that has real force under the Constitution. Its purpose is to assure that anyone who holds office in government has to work within the bounds of law, tradition, and propriety in order to accomplish anything and retain their position. Their responsibility is not first to themselves or even their constituents. It is to the Constitution. In order to serve and protect the Constitution, all must place a check upon those who refuse to serve and protect it. And the presumption is that all elected officials are jealous enough of their little piece of the power they wield within this system to assure that they aren't taken advantage of by other elected officials.

Here is where we have the problem. And it's a very specifically located problem. It's simply and entirely a problem of the Republican party. The GOP has control of the Legislative and Executive branches of government and are perilously close to having control over the heart of the judicial branch. But relative to the proper behavior in office of the Executive, the Legislative branch - Congress - is doing nothing. The Republican majority in Congress has boxed themselves in so tightly with their extreme right-wing, that they can't restrain or influence a dangerously incompetent administration because to do so MIGHT mean they would have to work in a bipartisan manner and make compromises with the opposition Democrats.

We have a billionaire in office who says and does and exhibits every wrong aspect of the American character, and does so in full view of the world, while clearly violating any number of laws and requirements of the Constitution at a minimum, through the use of family members to engage in policy without supervision or office, but more importantly, by receiving financial benefit from the office from foreign agents in flagrant violation of the spirit AND letter of the Emoluments Clause. Yet the Republicans in Congress, who are the only ones who can do anything, do nothing. The Constitution that they are obligated to protect and defend goes unprotected and undefended because elected Republicans fail to take any enforcement action.

Laws on the books are meaningless if no action to enforce them occurs when they are violated. They become literally worth less than the paper or parchment on which they are printed. We have seen too often in our history, and much too much in our recent history, the abject failure of those in positions of enforcement of the Constitution to actually do so when necessary. The result has been recognition among the wealthiest and most privileged sectors of our nation to behave in the most abusive and profligate manner that we've seen since the days when humans were bought and sold as property on the open market.

Donald Trump has lived his life daring anyone to stop him from doing what he felt like doing. He hasn't changed a bit since being placed into the highest elective office in the land. No one should have been surprised at that and no one should expect anything less - or more - of him. He's been an actor on the public stage his entire adult life; a known quantity. Those who have the ability to check his excess and abuse should have been ready to do so from day one. We're just about 6 months into this 14 karat gold-plated turd of a man and administration, yet still, nothing is being done to correct his behavior.

The only other chance to right the circumstance we find ourselves in is to finally recognize and admit that we are because WE THE PEOPLE both through acts of commission AND omission put all of those failed elected where they are. And ultimately, it's the only way to fix the problem of Trump. When all else fails, it falls to WE THE PEOPLE, under the Constitution to behave responsibly as citizens at every opportunity, to assure that the United States continues to do better than it has in all the time before.

Right now, it's appearing that many in the rest of the world are starting to move on from an era dominated by American influence and ideals. That will be a world that most Americans have no concept of and probably less ability to contend with personally.

The office of President of the United States is supposed to be bigger than the man who occupies it. It's time for those with the power to do so stop respecting the office so much that they let a small man disrespect it so egregiously. And it's up to WE THE PEOPLE to demand it for the sake of ourselves, our country, our children, and the world.

If we continue to fail in our obligations as citizens we should then admit that we are not worthy of those obligations.

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