4th of July weekend – the time we commemorate the moment American patriots threw off the shackles of a crazy English King George III and began the world’s longest experiment in democratic republican government.
While the rockets are firing into the sky, we should take a moment to wonder much longer we can claim to be a functioning democratic republic unless our elected officials turn from fighting each other to fighting for us.
Average earnings of Americans have continuously declined since the late 1970s.
The health care industry puts profits over the quality and quantity of American lives.
Our tax system favors the richest among us against everyone else.
Our infrastructure is decaying and crumbling:
- Water Supplies
- Flood Control
- Power Grid
- Public Transit
- Sea Ports
Good, middle class American industrial jobs are disappearing faster than innovation can replace them.
Immigration is flooding the top and bottom of our society sandwiching and compressing the middle class – upon which the fabric of democratic government depends.
Our nation is not secure – not from foreign adversaries, not from domestic terrorism, not from a debt crisis much worse than 2008.
Enter King Donald
In complete frustration the American people took a chance – electing a businessman/TV personality best known for the phrase “you’re fired” to occupy the highest office in the land.
A business person, voters reasoned, would shake up the impenetrable institutional government – Washington, D.C. – and might bring opportunity back to the American heartland.
Hillary Clinton was the epitome of that fossilized, institutional government – explaining why Donald Trump is now residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Accepting the Republican nomination, Donald Trump promised to be the “voice of the forgotten” American.
But he has forgotten that promise.
This man — whose actions have the potential to impact every person on earth — listens only to the voice of accolades and acolytes.
Fail to flatter and you will be fired. Ask James Comey!
Personal presidential loyalty tests have stalled State Department policy nominees denying Secretary Tillerson the staff he needs to navigate a world fraught with challenges – several of which could easily erupt into shooting wars involving the United States.
Presidential briefings must be kept short because the president has a “limited attention span” – when he listens to his advisers at all.
The Trump Cabinet agenda includes some praise worthy ideas and initiatives but they are completely subsumed by President’s impetus behavior, incoherent tweets, and blatant nepotism.
This Form of Governance Can’t Continue
The President’s tweets demonstrate the significant mismatch between the skills the President gained as the “boss” of a small, family-owned business with a deceptively large bottom-line and those needed by the Chief-Executive-Officer of the United States – the titular “leader of the free world”.
The celebrity business man had a reputation for personal charm that masked unethical business practices and a penchant for “getting even”.
His tweets attacking the press call into question his understanding of the roll of the press. As far back as the 1763 Tea Party the press has been an institutional “opponent” intended to keep the government honest.
Following his Inauguration, @realDonaldTrump tweets demonstrated the depth of the President’s narcissism and how much of that narcissism is driven by deep seated insecurity. Something that voters did not expect!
Some tweets have been simply self-destructive, while others demonstrate a lack of impulse control. The tweeted potential of White House tapes gave James Comey the idea to leak a contemporaneous memo to New York Times (via a cutout).
Voila – instead of suppressing the “Russia investigation” those tweets prompted the appointment of a special counsel more interested in determining whether the President “obstructed justice” than clearing him of charges of “collusion” in the 2016 election.
This week’s tweets concerning the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe are further evidence of the President’s lack of self-discipline, lack of self-awareness, misogyny, bullying and limited acquaintance with the truth.
Those are not the skills of a national leader. Leaders accept the role of criticism as part of the job! Criticism forces self-awareness, begs the question “what-if”.
History demonstrates criticism becomes the genesis of consensus – which has been the life’s blood of the American experiment with representative democracy.
Criticism forces our leaders to re-examine their own beliefs and – perhaps — to alter them. They are not, after all, infallible.
American democracy flourishes when our leaders acknowledge their own fallibility and, as a result, are able to listen, facilitate and bring together the people and their representatives — whose disparate ideas and experiences hold the common kernel of solution.
Instead, this President’s tweets have, sadly, become the “bright shiny object” sowing confrontation and confusion instead of building consensus.
Donald Trump has no real beliefs and no grasp of policy. For example – one day championing a Republican health care plan and the next day calling it cruel and on day three championing total repeal of the law it claims to “fix”.
Convene the President’s Club
It is time for the Presidents’ Club to convene a meeting with their latest member. These five former Presidents are best positioned to evaluate the potential of this President to grow into the office he now inhabits.
They will put the best interests of the nation before all other considerations.
If they conclude the President is “unfit” – that he lacks the skills and personality characteristics needed to learn to lead the nation and is unwilling to learn – he must go.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified for just such a situation.
Some Democrats in the House of Representatives have formed a committee to investigate invoking the 25th Amendment against President Trump. They should stand down – their efforts are blatantly political and this is not a time for politics – but for patriotism.
In this case, if the five members of the Presidents’ Club were to find Mr. Trump “unfit” to discharge the duties of the office of President of the United States, they could petition the Congress to create a law to empower them to petition for the President’s removal.
Such a law would have to have some stringent requirements for removal that would protect the process from accusations that the motives were political.
And the five former Presidents (3 Democrats and 2 Republicans) would need to meet directly with the American people and make a detailed, objective and impartial case for removal.
Then Congress would need to vote yes or no to remove the President
in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity —
Fireworks photo courtesy of mountvernon.org