Published in the St. Louis American on October 31, 2018
Every week, we are forced into the scary and erratic world of Trump. The 45th president has kept late-night TV hosts supplied with unlimited material for comic relief. With each passing day, the Trump administration is less comedic and the nation in need of serious, rather than comic, relief.
Since Trump’s behavior and decisions are on public display, those of us who have a scintilla of sanity know that something is wrong with this man. The chaos in this administration is unparalleled: firings, resignations, indictments, prison. The world has seen it all.
The latest is his decision to let the Kurds and the Turkish army duke it out in Northern Syria. The U.S. has sold arms to both sides, but the Turkish forces are superior.
These pronouncements are in violation of the 1964 American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Goldwater Rule when hundreds of psychiatrists publicly signed off on the disturbing mental state of then presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. The APA issued a policy declaring it was unethical for any member to offer an opinion without the examination of said person.
This 55-year-old edict has muffled mental health professionals. It has also made it challenging for objective journalists and reporters to speak directly to the presidents “lack of truthfulness” which is an attribute related to a given disorder. Before Trump, to call a sitting president a liar in the press was unthinkable. I watched the press dance around the honesty issue for months before some broke ranks and called Trump on his lying. Yes, some offered, he’s a pathological liar.
The president is unethical in his business dealings, immoral in his personal life, and mentally and emotional unstable. Most of these character flaws were known before he stumbled into office. What good is it to know this and be powerless to do anything about?
Herein lies the problem. The checks and balances put in place by the U.S. Constitution and subsequent laws are being ignored and disrespected by those in the executive, judicial and legislative branches. Few have stood up and confronted Trump. Look how long it took to earnestly initiate the impeachment inquiry.
All this craziness is left at the doorstep of folks like me and you to figure out and resolve. We must engage in principled discussions with those who share our vision for a just and peaceful world but for whom there may be differences on strategy and tactics. This may be our uncle, our co-worker or our congregation member. We must build an invincible new majority.
It is painfully clear that we have a man in the White House who is unfit for office. He is destroying any positive gains made in the last quarter century. He is charting a self-serving path and the entire nation is collateral damage. He is dangerous.
The pressures of impending impeachment and legal woes will result in more erratic and destructive behavior from Trump. We will witness more unraveling in the coming months. This is not a reality show. This is our reality which means we must organize to change the outcome. Let’s stay woke and get busy.