Surviving the Trump Threat and Moving Forward

There is a question we no longer need to ask. You know what it is. It’s that question we asked Germans for decades after WWII. How did Germany allow themselves to succumb to Adolf Hitler?

We don’t need to ask any longer because we are seeing how it happened, as it happens right here. In America. In the 21st century. Trump is taking America down that same road, and all we do is watch.

Trump has a rabid core of supporters formed of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and fake ‘Christians’ who call themselves evangelicals. He has the support of a Republican party that has lost all sense of either ethics or morality. They are dismantling the core values of the Constitution. They have already made America a laughing stock on the world stage. Now Trump and his National Socialists are taking America from laughing stock to world terror.

And all we do is watch. Because, you see, we depend on our democratic underpinnings to save the day. First the mid-terms, then the ouster of Trump in 2020. Hopefully.

*Hopefully*

Just like all those Germans in the 1930’s who were sure reason would triumph before Hitler and his Nazis took over completely. Oh, and the hopeful ones were in the majority, too. Because, you see, their democracy had two fatal flaws. It was too democratic. It really had no built-in safeguards against a takeover by a charismatic psychopath. And there were insufficient restraints on the power of a single man.

Our own forefathers made exactly the same mistakes. There are no provisions in our Constitution to keep an immoral tyrant from seeking control. And there are roadblocks sufficient to stop a determined Hitler persona from doing whatever he (or she) wants, once in office? The Congress can serve that purpose only if the President’s own party doesn’t also control both houses. The Supreme Court holds no enforcement powers. The nation’s top law enforcement officials serve at the pleasure of the President and his party. The emoluments clause has as much real substance as a Marvel comic book hero. There is no Superman.

IF the United States does manage to survive Donald Trump, these failings need to corrected by Congressional action up to and including Constitutional amendment. It needs to be done with a sense of immediacy. Yes, I have suggestions. They may need to be refined, of course.

1. Psychiatric testing for all Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate. This can be done by a panel made up of an equal number of psychiatrists from each party. They should also all be teaching level psychiatrists at respected Universities and medical schools, not just anybody with a shingle.

2. No party shall be allowed to control both houses of Congress. The easy fix is for the Supreme Court to allot ‘extra’ votes to the minority party in one of the houses. This is not unfair. Having a single group viewpoint in charge of both houses of Congress is unfair, and dangerous.

3. Abolish the Electoral College.

4. Give the Supreme Court enforcement powers.

5 Reduce the power of the President to make war. He/she should not be able to initiate military action alone except as a direct act of defense/retaliation against a specifically identified hostile force/country in response to a clear act of hostility against America itself. This must be limited to defensive action not to include American forces invading foreign nations. Anything other than this must be authorized by Congress.

6. Once justice department officials have been appointed, the President must not be able to fire them without the concurrence of both houses of Congress.

7. The emoluments clause must be re-written and given teeth. A majority of either house of Congress should be able to instigate the opening of an evaluation. The President’s cabinet, since they have been appointed by the President, can have no part in the process, other than opening an evaluation process by simple majority.

8. No individual who has ever lobbied for industry can be placed in charge of a government agency.

9. The Vice-President cannot serve as the tie breaker in a tied Senate vote. A tied vote must send the questionable legislation to a select committee made up of an equal number of Senators from each party to reach an equitable solution.

10. The President must not have the ability to single-handedly push the nuclear button. He/she must have the concurrence of the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs. To this end, That individual’s office must be located in the White House instead of the Pentagon.

11. Congress must take immediate action on legislation which spells out clearly that the government shall have no connection whatsoever to any religion or religious body or group.

12. Citizens United must be revisited and overturned. Congress. must take corporate and lobbyist donations completely out of American elections.

13. Congress must review every area of Presidential executive authority and determine legislation to limit it.

Musings on the New Fascism in America

Re: This Disastrous Election and the Fall of the Constitution. Mother Liberty Cries Today.

The morning after November 8, the newest day that will live in infamy, someone texted to me “You’re disappointed. I get that,” then went on to chastise me a bit, in a kind and caring manner. Allow me to correct their initial assumption.

I’m not disappointed. Don’t even think I’m disappointed. I get disappointed when the Cardinals lose. I get disappointed and upset when Mizzou loses. And loses.  And I then make bad jokes about it.  That’s disappointment.  This election is far different from that.
I am not disappointed. I am afraid. I am afraid for my, and your, America. I am afraid for my children and their children. I am afraid for the people of the world who depend on the strength and freedom and example that is America to support and help them through their own darkness and who now fear us.
I am not disappointed. I am mad as hell. I am beyond angry. I. am. furious. I am furious at the hateful people who think that if you’re black or brown or anything other than white you are second class, that you don’t deserve the same rights as white people.
I am enraged at people who think that LGBT people don’t deserve the same rights as ‘straight’ people. I am enraged that supposedly Godly people choose to denigrate and persecute and relegate to the shadows people who are not just exactly like them. I am livid that these people try to blame God and Jesus for their hatefulness and prejudice and persecution of people who are not members of their personal club.
I am livid that these people claim it’s God’s will when a woman dies in childbirth or gets raped or a child is born with horrible defects that ensure a lifetime of misery, but don’t care to consider it’s God’s will when a pregnancy is aborted for the mother’s health or to prevent a tragedy.
I am angry and horrified to realize that I live in a country where more than half the people ascribe to beliefs and hatefulness and persecution that can only be described as those of a Christian Taliban. Tulsa, say hello to Aleppo.
When these ‘people’ who claim God and Jesus as their own personal puppets, and try to force everyone in the country to accept and obey their own personal distortions, install as our President a man who has no scruples, who has been shown to be an abuser of women and of all those who fall under his power; a hot tempered bully who has no respect for anyone or anything but himself and has been shown to be devoid of any character or morality whatsoever, I am terrified. I boil when I see my country being overcome by the practitioners of exclusion, of hate and bigotry and racism, to the cheers of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
I shake my head and wonder if some people were out of the room when logic and reason were distributed, when I hear someone say, as they vote for a tyrant in waiting, “Well, you know, maybe a change is good.” A change from ‘love your neighbor,’ to ‘beat the hell out of your neighbor if they are not exactly like you,’ is a good change how, exactly.
And I know we are lost when I see how many people in the aftermath are willing to just sit back, flip the channel to a rerun of a ‘reality’ show, and blithely proclaim “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just be quiet and float along with it until the next election.” 
I am in dismay for our Republic and for all of the nations in the world that depend on us for their hope, our help, and  our example. I marvel darkly at the ignorance and self-satisfaction of people who wanted this, and now say, “Oh man up.  You just lost an election. It’s not a big deal.” I know then that I’m having a conversation with someone I never want to have behind me. I know I’m talking to someone who champions the bullies and the exclusionists and thugs.
Because it is a big deal. Because it was not just another election, it was an election that put every great ideal our country rests upon at risk.  Because it was an election that instantly changed the world from one looking up to us,  to one peeking fearfully at us from behind their drapes with their lights turned off. Because it was an election that refuted freedom and equality and chimed in the believers of repression, bigotry, racism, and a single-minded,  extremist, hateful  arm of Christianity: The Christian Taliban. And because other Christians helped it to happen. Because it was an election that assured there will be a lot more room in that streets of gold in the Heaven Christians profess to believe in, because the other place suddenly looks a lot more attractive. Because huge numbers of those supposed Christians just looked Jesus in the face, and spat. Because it was an election that warned us you can just look at the photo above and change the names to Trump, and McConnell, and Ryan, and Pence and their cohorts. Good Christians all. Because now, once again, a hate and intolerance and brutal pettiness which we thought we had moved beyond, has risen again and threatens to consume us. Because millions of good Americans and immigrants now fear for their lives and their neighbors have ordained it.

Because even as you sip your beer and check the TV guide and sagely say it couldn’t happen here, it’s starting to happen here. France may want its statue back. I couldn’t blame them. But no, I’m not disappointed.