Riding on the Trump roller coaster

The American polity and media whipsaw between disclosures, revelations, actions, denials, and dismissals that would have been unthinkable a mere 12 months earlier

BRATTLEBORO — I don't enjoy roller coasters - never have, not since I went on one that looked like a giant squid at Rye Playland when I was about 10 or 11.

I can still recall the sickly smell of cotton candy, salty air, and humidity that greeted me as they opened the door to let us out of the cage we banged around in for three minutes. I felt as though I was walking on marbles until I white-knuckled the railing and ralphed. My friends urged me to hurry up so they could go on the Mighty Mouse or the bumper cars.

In the past two years, I've watched the American polity and media whipsaw between disclosures, revelations, actions, denials, and dismissals that would have been unthinkable a mere 12 months earlier.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the presidency “pre-eminently a place of moral leadership.”

“All our great Presidents were leaders of thought at times when certain historic ideas in the life of the nation had to be clarified,” he said in 1932.

What ideas in the life of the nation is Donald Trump clarifying? America First? White nationalists are “very fine people”? Greed is good?

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On NPR, I heard the other day that immigrants are a boon to the economy, highly law-abiding, and rarely qualify for or receive any government assistance. Trump supporters have been misled to believe they do.

Trumpies have had access to economic growth and education that others are coming here for but, because the information age has passed them by, they seek to deny others this opportunity. Many of the immigrants coming to this country are also running away from terror (and not simply toward economic betterment), but immigrants are a convenient punching bag for The Trump.

The New York Times reported last year that Trump “told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals.”

Take a moment and let that sink in.

The most powerful man on this planet suggests that every day his staff should act as if they were participating in a TV show.

It makes sense that Trump considers television ratings one metric for success. I no longer have the hope that one of the adults in the administration can break through the walls of narcissism that captured their boss.

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Trump expresses no concern that the Russians hacked our elective process. He went so far in a press conference to ask for their help. They did so, it seems to me, in order to favor him. He alone is blessed with the stamp of Vladimir Putin's approval.

The principle that our democracy has been compromised by a hostile foreign power is insignificant to the fact that the Russians helped him win. We live in a country where the self-interest of the one outweigh the needs of all.

I can't afford to be exhausted by Trump's distractions. Our country hangs in the balance. Lately, the reports coming out of the White House are that Trump is increasingly keeping his own counsel, making his own moves, and going on his instinct.

If I believed in God, I'd ask her for help.

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