Vol. 12    No. 10
May 15, 2017
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                Never a Dull Moment
I’m not sure if this column is going to make any sense. I’ve been up most of the night and it is the last piece that I have to send to the printer by
my press time. It could be a mess.

On the other hand, I don’t know if it would make any sense any how because the subject of the column is President Donald Trump. I can’t decide
if Trump is crazy like a fox or just plain crazy.
And this leadership by an intentionally or unintentionally deranged president could lead to a rather schizophrenic nation, one that is already
severely divided along whatever particular line one wants to look at: the haves and the have nots, the liberal and the conservative, the Black,
White, Latino, Asian and Native American and the Fox News and MSNBC.

We are no longer Americans. We are a divided, multiple personality whose mental health is being severely tested by the “father” of the family,
President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump often said — he said that he wanted to just the other day — that he wanted to “drain the swamp,” a popular conservative phrase
meaning to dismantle the federal government. And he has made a good start of it.

It appears that the first thing that he wants to do is dismantle the presidency. You know how Trump often toots his own horn and remarks about
what a great job that he is doing. Well I don’t know about the rest of what he has done, but he is doing a great job of dismantling the dignity and
respect for the presidency.

I think that Donald Trump is used to being the imperial power that he has enjoyed in his own little world of The Trump Organization where
everyone pretends or actually does jump to his every command. And since the U.S. Presidency has been billed as the most powerful position on
earth, he probably thought the same would happen and even more so since the presidency has more power.

But now that he has the job, while it may be the most powerful position on earth, it also has the most constraints placed on it as well. Who wants
someone pushing the nuclear bomb button because the president is mad at someone? Or who wants the entire agriculture sector of our economy
wiped out simply because the president knows nothing about it and decrees something on whim like we’ll subsidize the planting and growing of
coconut tress across the United States because the president likes the way they look at Mar-a-Lago?

And thank God that he hasn’t found a way to subvert the checks and balances in Washington to make himself an imperial power. I’m sure that he
has people researching how he might be able to do that.

And then there is the double speak that comes with Donald Trump’s version of 1984. We have been exposed to “alternative facts,” which is
made-up information with no connection to reality so that Trump and his minions can pump themselves up like they are the greatest thing since
sliced bread. It started with the estimation with Trump’s inauguration crowd sizes and continues on to this day and it is spreading.

During the current firestorm over Donald Trump’s firing of the FBI director, James Comey, it has been alleged — and Donald Trump seemed to
back it up in a tweet — that Comey was fired because of the investigation into a possible connection between Russian hackers and the Trump
campaign.

And in defense of Trump, his lawyers talked about any possible business dealings with Russia. And they issued a statement along the lines of,
“Donald Trump receives no income from Russia with a couple of exceptions.”

What the heck does that really mean? In my mind, either he drives some of his income from Russian business dealings or he doesn’t. The
statement of the lawyers seems to indicate that Trump does receive income from Russian business dealings, but he considers them to trivial,
incidental. What kind of 1984 mess is that? Again, it just adds to the schizophrenic condition of our country.

Another thing that Trump likes to brag about is how much he has accomplished during the first 100 days of his presidency. I am hard pressed to
think of anything outside of launching a missile attack against a Syrian airport and pass the repeal of Obamacare in the House by ONE vote or
pick on undocumented individuals by picking them up and threatening them with deportation. What has Trump accomplished? Well he has
reinforced his image of being a bully to the weak and vulnerable like the person with disabilities whom he derided on the campaign trail. He has
shown a lot of bluster and hot air and has picked on the defenseless like people with prior conditions and the poor who can’t afford health care.

Donald Trump likes to brag about how quickly he gets things done. Well I know of one thing that Trump has done more quickly than any other
president in my lifetime. And that is to cause a major scandal. Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did it in their second terms with
Watergate, Iran-Contra and Monicagate.

Donald Trump has managed to do it within just about the first 100 days of his presidency with the firing of James Comey as the FBI director, who
was in charge of investigating Trump’s campaign because he was asking for more resources to investigate the Trump campaign’s connections
with Russia. It was like Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre all over again except Trump’s attorney-general and assistant attorney-general did not
resign to avoid making the politically motivated sack that the president wanted. They eagerly placed their fingerprints on Trump’s decision.

So Trump accomplished in 100 days what it took Richard Nixon 1,460 days. What a mess.