Bob Franken


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As we arrive at the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidency, we cannot really say that it has been a manic-depressive year. That would suggest that there had been some highs to accompany the low points. Maybe depressive-depressive is more like it.
Whatever you call it, the United States of America is now occupied by an administration led by a man with severe emotional problems. A cognitive test that he took the other day, amid concerns that POTUS’s mind is deteriorating, was focusing on the wrong concern: It’s not dementia that’s worrisome, particularly given his erratic behavior. It’s not that his brain is rotting; it’s more like it’s been rotten the entire time. We are being led by a crazy man — if not mentally impaired, then objectionable to the core.
Our chief executive is a stupid bigot. Are there any smart bigots? We didn’t need his “sh*thole” outburst — or, if you prefer, “sh*thouse” — to demonstrate his severe prejudice; he’s blatant about it. He has a history of it that he’s carried into his campaign and now into the White House. His declarations that he’s “the least racist” human we’ll ever encounter, or words to that effect, are contradicted by his actions, opinions and policies that would restore the Jim Crow era. That’s what he means when he bellows, “Make America great again!” His supporters, the millions of people in his precious “base,” are divided between the outspoken white supremacists and those more polite ones who are willing to accept Trump’s hate-filled policies. By implication, they, indeed, are “deplorable.”
On the other side, you have gradients of a “resistance” that has lost steam since it manifested itself on Day One of the Trump rule, promising to challenge his every toxic move and work toward driving him out of office.

That hasn’t happened, in spite of a determined special counsel investigation to find whether Trump or accomplices colluded with Vladimir Putin (definitely part of the Donald Trump “base”) to alter the U.S. election. On the Trump side, we hear him bleating “no collusion, no collusion” every chance he gets. And it is possible that it was just a matter of Hillary Clinton being such a terrible Democratic candidate that she merely forfeited. Or it could have been a combination of both.
Even more profuse than his “no collusion” mantra is his “fake news” rant, the one he reflexively shouts each time some media organization reports a story that displeases him. As we approached his one-year anniversary, President Trump, ever the huckster, started touting his “Fake News Awards.” When he made his selections known via Twitter (of course), they landed with a soft thud. Nobody cared. For the record, CNN received four, The New York Times two, while ABC, The Washington Post, Time and Newsweek got one each. Yawn.
Some take his media attacks seriously, such as Sen. Jeff Flake, who likens Trump to the murderous Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Stalin would describe journalists as “enemies of the people,” just as Trump has. The independent press is just one of the institutions that define the American experiment. Another would be the court system, which he relentlessly attacks each time there is a ruling to challenge his personal conduct or, more importantly, his autocratic excesses. Flake, by the way, is a Republican, one of a few who has stood up to Trump.
Actually, the history still is being written. Donald Trump still is president. Barring any disclosures too outrageous to gloss over or any cataclysm he causes, he will observe a second anniversary a year from now. True, the midterms conceivably will drive the Republicans from power in Congress, if the Democrats don’t blow that too, but Donald Trump still will be president — both the chief executive, and the nation’s chief embarrassment.

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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