Last Tuesday marked five months since Donald J. Trump became President of the United States and nine months since his election. Many are asking; how can that be? It seems so much longer. Not a day goes by without a new Trump related revelation or unfathomable tweet. In his short time in office he has broken records for both the lowest poll numbers for a new president and being placed under Federal investigation sooner than any in history. He has effectively confused and frightened our allies and changed the world’s political topography. He has threatened to expel the undocumented and eliminate healthcare for millions. He has consistently denigrated the judiciary and attacked the press. He has rolled back environmental, economic and consumer regulations at an alarming rate. Finally he has ignored political convention and Constitutional mandate regarding his personal financial and business dealings. When Trump says that his administration has accomplished more than any other in such a short time he is right. But in this case his administration has accomplished more destruction and corruption than any other in such a short time.
The rapid speed with which we have gotten to this point is breathtaking and exhausting. Yet, there has been an irresistible quality to it. It is sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Casual conversation with friends seems to inevitably turn to Trump. Whether sitting and watching a little league game or standing by the water cooler at work, the conversation always seems to ultimately move ion the same direction. But it isn’t that the conversations are ubiquitous that is so unusual, but rather the tone. It is uniformly a tone of disbelief and fear. People find it difficult to believe that he really said or tweeted the things being reported. They hear him say them on TV or see copies of the tweets in the paper or in social media, but still there is a sense of disbelief. Once they can no longer deny the veracity of the reported words people often look with concern and ask; “What do you think is going to happen?” This same behavioral pattern has been displayed repeatedly for five months now. Each time you think its gone about as far as it’s going to go, it goes further. I believe, however, that the fascination with the train wreck is beginning to wear off.
I think that people are becoming fatigued with Trump and all of those who surround him. They are really tired of the constant anger, accusations and self-serving interpretation of the facts, so-called “alternative facts” that come out of this White House. It is clear that his rhetoric is polarizing and filled with dog whistles to different segments of his base. Yet, even his base is shrinking as it has become evident that he lacks the ability to turn many of his campaign promises into reality. It has also become clear that he doesn’t have a basic understanding of how the government works and the limits of presidential power and prerogative. Of greatest concern, he seems to lack an appreciation of the power and importance of his words. As the curtain is being pulled on this wizard, he is being exposed as a narcissist with little knowledge, little depth and no moral compass.
While we are rightly fed up and feeling fatigue we must not allow ourselves to become oblivious to what is going on around us. Trump is as dangerous today as he was when he was elected. His adversarial relationship with our allies and his questionable respect for our Constitution must give us pause. While fatigue is sapping our energy and our resolve, we must re-energize ourselves for the sake of our democracy.