It’s symptomatic of the lengths we humans will go in order to disavow responsibility for our own unique style of evil, when we recruit examples from the animal kingdom to describe ourselves. We sometimes describe uncouth behaviors as beastly, the man behaving so as a pig, a lawyer might be said to be a shark, and so on. We characterize a dangerous person as particularly dangerous when cornered, “like a wild animal.” But isn’t it, in the final analysis, enough that we simply call them human? Besides, is there really anything more dangerous than a cornered human being, particularly when the human being in question is powerful, narcissistic and arguably psychotic?
Much we have learned this week has given many cause to celebrate. I wish I could join in the festivities, I really do, but I am filled with grave foreboding. It is true that a criminal referral has been filed against Donald Trump by a CIA lawyer, additional whistleblowers have come forward, Trump’s popularity is beginning to unravel with Republicans and rank and file supporters alike, and the impeachment inquiry is proceeding apace. But these pressures are being applied to man with a limitless capacity for evil, no conscience and a nearly unlimited supply of power with which to damage the world and everyone in it.
What is more, his behavior is becoming increasingly erratic. I don’t know what to say about this passage from one of Trump’s tweets except that it reads like a message from a steeply deranged man:
As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey …
He didn’t conclude with, “Mr Bond,” but he very well may have. The words, “I, in my great and unmatched wisdom,” sound like something straight out of a psycho ward. That these words are being uttered by the president of the United States, and his followers are okay with it, ought to give us plenty to worry about.
Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist who holds the most powerful job on earth. He has developed a real taste for that job and he wants to keep it. Resignation is not on his agenda. What’s more, all exits from that job are blocked by men with handcuffs. He is Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corp, branches of the military overflowing with people who are attracted to authoritarian figures just like Donald Trump, people who love following orders, particularly when those orders include defending a belief system they are pathologically attached to. That belief system includes the right to bear arms, the notion that abortion is murder, the idea that burning the flag or kneeling before it in protest is one of the most vile things a human being can conceive of doing, and the conviction that God is on their side.I don’t think Donald Trump is in trouble. I think we are.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.