Which is Worse….A Madman, or a Fool, With Their Finger on the Nuclear Trigger? I pondered this question as I read an article posted my longtime collaborator,  SwarthmoreMom, in yesterday’s comments section.  As President the unstable Trump is followed around by the Nuclear Football,  which provides him the unilateral ability to rain death and destruction upon any area of our planet.  In America,  we have long bandied about the cautionary phrase “elections have consequences” whose clear meaning is that we should be very careful who we vote for because our vote may boomerang with personal disasters.  Trump receive 62,979,879 votes to become President and while Clinton received  65,844,954the anti-democratic Electoral College gave him victory.  We may justifiably rail about the racist Constitutional origins of the Electoral College, but the more important and most chilling point is that 62,979,879 deluded, or despicable people cast their votes for this obviously dangerous individual.  We see why, in this current North Korean Crisis, exactly the danger these Trump enthusiasts put our country and the entire human race in, with their ill-considered votes. Many would criticize my hyperbole in calling the Trump voter deluded, or despicable for their preference, but I stand by my judgment and will defend it.  

The Deluded Trump voter watched this inarticulate bully make a complete joke of the American Electoral Process by scurrilous lies and attacks upon his opponents that mirrored the worst in our American political history.  The watched this, applauding and approving his performance in wild enthusiasm in the same way they see stars of reality TV, like the Kardashians, as having  meaning for them in their personal lives.  Their delusion is in the belief that acting the powerful bully behaving in a narcissistic fashion, is a true indication of exemplary heroism, power and strength,  rather than a sign of cowardice, inability and impotence.  I think it is apt to call this preference a delusion since the word is defined as:

“an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument”

Looking at the above, I posit that in American Culture and in American Mythology, the generally accepted reality is that a heroic figure exhibits power through a stoic mien, uncluttered with braggadocio and exuding humility. Our American mythic heroes like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln were men whose behavior was the antithesis of arrogance.  No American President, from after Theodore Roosevelt, came across as arrogant and bullying. This vile man exhibited clown-like behavior providing a parody  of competent strength and so many caught in the throes of delusion bought it.

So we have what I see as the deluded Trump voter, but what of those I deem despicable and Clinton was criticized for calling them deplorable? This voting bloc consist of Racists enthralled by the rhetoric of fear this candidate opened his campaign with.  It also consisted of the pro-gun voter,  who believes that specifically “White Americans” should be able to possess any weapon they choose, to “protect” themselves against “those” people.  Those who voted for Trump because he promised to lower their taxes, or lower their health care premiums, or “Make America Great Again” are despicable in my mind because their voting wasn’t for any conception of the common good, but merely a selfish expression of their own self-centered nature.

As I said though “elections have consequences” and we see one dire consequence in the midst of 33% of the people still supporting this vitriolically, unstable narcissist. The article posted by SwM is by is Trump is the real nuclear threat, and we can’t just fantasise him away.  In discussing the unfettered power the American President has been given over our nuclear arsenal    explains that on a whim an American President is able to unleash our nuclear weaponry anywhere in the world:

“Among the many terrifying facts that have emerged in the last several days, perhaps the scariest relate to the nuclear button over which now hovers the finger of Donald Trump. It turns out that, of all the powers held by this or any other US president, the least checked or balanced is his authority over the world’s mightiest arsenal. He exercises this awesome, civilization-ending power alone.

As Trump has learned in recent months, the man in the Oval Office cannot simply issue a decree changing, say, the US healthcare system. He has to build majorities in the House and Senate, which is harder than it looks. If he wants to change immigration policy, a mere order is not enough. He can be stopped by the courts, as Trump saw with his travel ban. But if he wants to rain fire and fury on a distant enemy, bringing more fire and fury down on his own citizens and many hundreds of millions of others, there is no one standing in his way. Not for nothing does the geopolitical literature refer to the US president as the “nuclear monarch.”

The more you hear of the simplicity of the system, the more frightening it becomes. If Trump decides he has had enough of Kim Jong-un’s verbal threats, he merely has to turn to the low-level military aide at his side and ask them to open up the black briefcase that officer keeps permanently in their grasp. The bag is known as the nuclear “football”. (It gets its name from the code word for the very first set of nuclear war plans: dropkick.) Inside the bag is a menu of options, explained in detail in a “black book,” but also set out in a single, cartoon-like page for speedy comprehension. Trump has only to make his choice, pick up the phone to the Pentagon war room, utter the code words that identify him as the president and give the order. That’s it.

The officer who receives the call at the Pentagon has no authority to question or challenge the order

There is no need for consultation with anyone else. Not the secretary of state or the secretary of defense, nor the head of the military. The officer who receives the call at the Pentagon has no authority to question or challenge the order. His or her duty is only to implement it. Thirty minutes after the president gave the instruction, the nuclear missiles would be hitting their targets. There is no way of turning them back. Such power in the hands of a single individual would be a horrifying prospect even if it were Solomon himself whose finger was on the trigger. But as Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer, and seasoned military analyst wrote during the 2016 campaign, Trump’s “quick temper, defensiveness bordering on paranoia and disdain for anyone who criticizes him do not inspire deep confidence in his prudence.”

 What’s more, Trump is the man who said in 2015, “For me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me,” and who bellowed from the campaign podium, “I love war”. In last year’s election campaign, the former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough reported on a briefing a foreign policy expert had given Trump. “Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’ … Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?”

This clown, who these deluded and despicable people voted for and apparently still support, has the power to start a nuclear holocaust,  without any hope of wiser heads intervening.  Some might say my hyperbolic descriptions of the Trump voter are impolitic because we may need their votes in future elections and therefore shouldn’t defame them. My response is that these deluded and despicable people are immune from persuasion because they feel the same way about US and will continue to.  However, WE are in the majority in this country and can expect that as time goes on (barring nuclear disaster, or the ravages of climate change) we can expect our majority to increase.  I can only believe and hope that our Resistance will not be a matter of too little, too late.

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