“Where is the Republican Party?” a friend asked. I shook my head. “I’m scared” she said. “Me too” I replied.
The modern-day Republican Party is a cabal of fascists. They do not wear white robes and swastikas, but they govern with a xenophobic, nationalist fervor. They collude with the Alt-Right. And most alarmingly they have erected a firewall around a man who has no grip on reality. The GOP of Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II is dead. We are in unchartered waters at a time when we most need a functional two-party system.
Congressional Republicans are fools. They mistakenly believe that supporting Trump’s hashtag agenda serves their personal political interests. That miscalculation- for which we all will suffer- is rooted in ignorance, underestimation and denial of Trump’s fragile emotional state and mental acuity. The Stable Genius is a textbook example- at a minimum- of one suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), meaning he cares about no one but himself. His outbursts are signs of his acute self-obsession, grandiosity and lack of empathy. He knows no other way, and he will not change. On an emotional spectrum he is extremely volatile- the most dangerous person on the planet given the power of his office. Think about that.
Unlike the Watergate era, there are no Republicans like Senators Howard Baker of Tennessee and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. Today we have a craven, cowardly GOP that has relegated the security of the American people to the whims of a man unhinged and disassociated from reality. The GOP is a band of political terrorists: their failure to act will be fatal to many citizens of this nation.
I was a child during the Cuban missile crisis. I have vivid memories of our neighbors on Rockford Road in Greensboro, NC- Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. Fogarty, Mrs. Thurston, Mrs. Marler, Mrs. Laughlin, and my mom- stacking cans of food and filling jugs of water along shelves constructed in the in basement of our home. They heeded warnings from the American Civil Defense Association in choosing our basement as a provisional bunker in the event of nuclear war. At the time there was a proliferation of fallout shelters nationwide, literally underground bunkers constructed beneath neighbors’ lawns- with these ominous yellow signs. At that time I was a five-year-old child who found the experience exciting, like a child playing a video game today. Or like too many social media posts today that simply mock and lampoon Trump, lacking awareness of the the magnitude of the threat this man poses. This crisis is real, meriting more serious and immediate attention than child-like reactions to what many historians and nuclear proliferation scholars like Kal Raustiala, director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations have cited as being as close as the world has come to nuclear war since 1962.
What makes today so dangerous is the addition of an emotionally-unstable President Trump as leader of the most powerful and lethal nation on earth. Kennedy and Khrushchev were rational actors- as has been the Kim dynasty in North Korea. The latter regime, in spite of its jingoistic saber-rattling, has sought safety for over a half-century. Kim Jong Un is not mad, he is strategic. Safety is his imperative and possessing a nuclear arsenal is a logical instrument of such end (see fates of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.) That has and will drive his behavior.
Trump by contrast is completely undecipherable, irrational, unreliable and volatile. Leaders of foreign nations recognize he is disturbed, and toy with his ego to meet their strategic goals. Who other than Trump would- ten minutes into a meeting with President Xi Jinping of China- announce that he understood North Korea better? His state visits to Saudi Arabia and China were orchestrated as ego-fests, unlike any visit of a US president in history. They are playing him like a fiddle and will continue to do so.
Watergate was in many ways one of America’s finest hours: our democracy with its checks and balances worked. Today we are living in a real-time, day-to-day game of Russian Roulette. No pun intended.
Though I have emphasized the risks Trump poses to national security, he is no less dangerous in his domestic policies (climate change denial, fiscal recklessness, xenophobia, alliance with fringe nationalists, islamophobia, misogyny, dismantling of diplomacy, rollback of net neutrality, assault on the First Amendment, etc.) Donald J. Trump is the greatest threat to the national security of the nation of which he is the Commander-in-Chief. No one is standing between his mental instability and our children, families and friends.
I have woken up at night in a cold sweat several times over the past year. I moved to France and tuned out for several months. I gained perspective, yes. But your baggage travels with you as the saying goes. There is no safe haven from Trump and his Republican Party that enables and protects him.
Democrats must own the voting booths come November 6, 2018. Today is T-300. Only by voting and organizing can we can check the nightmare that hovers over America. Relying on the Mueller investigation, a 25th Amendment solution or blind faith is too risky. At the ballot box we must dismantle and destroy the ability of the Republican Party to govern. Freeze Trump into a legislative standstill. Reject him in 2020.
Then and only then can we begin rebuilding. All of us.