Assassination of a Nation
Yesterday marked the 53rd year since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the beginning of the suffering endured by our nation. Today, we are suffering an assassination of a different sort, but no less significant.
Today, it is the assassination of the honor and ethical foundation of our nation that we endure, and what still remains of our long-standing and accepted protocols, of our collective norms and values, is in a state of critical cardiac arrest.
Disqualification of the Dis-qualifier
According to our Constitution, Donald Trump is technically “qualified” to hold the office of President. You may recall that Donald Trump spent a lot of time and money arguing that President Obama was not qualified under our Constitution because, he said, Obama wasn’t born here. I’ve heard no arguments against Trump regarding his qualifications under our laws.
But qualification is not the same thing as fitness. So when we refer to something being a “disqualifying event,” we mean “something that is so bad as to prove that a person is unfit to hold office.”
During the 2016 election, each and every time there was another jaw-dropping report of “unacceptable” and outrageous behavior by Trump, we thought, “He finally went too far. THIS is a disqualifying event.”
But it wasn’t. Again and again. Comment after comment. Action after action. The only thing that is disqualified is the opinion that certain behaviors are disqualifying. The unacceptable was, in fact, accepted, and continues to be accepted.
There is apparently no end in sight to Trump’s assassination of the nation’s protocols and ethics, values and norms. Trump said it best, ironically, when he said that he could step out into the street, shoot someone, and not lose any support.
We are frightened and appalled and, increasingly, seemingly, powerless.
Normalizing the Assassination
We keep hearing about how this-and-that is being normalized by Trump, his surrogates, and his supporters. It is apparently the new norm to be politically incorrect. It is seemingly the new norm to accept the unacceptable. Long standing protocols no longer matter. It is the social norms theory in action — an action that needs to be prevented.
The outrageous behavior of Donald Trump and the frightening direction he promises to take us reminds me of parenting a toddler. So long as a child is allowed to behave badly, that child will behave badly.
It is also similar to what happens in instances of abuse, for example, when a man physically and mentally abuses a woman. The cycle of abuse is difficult to break for many reasons, including the victim’s normalization of the bad behavior.
Without consequences for bad behavior, the behavior continues to evolve into something that is totally unacceptable but viewed as “normal.” And that is exactly what is happening in our nation.
Blame is being cast in every direction, and most of it is as nonsensical as the election itself. And it is pointless.
Understanding how this happened is necessary — we don’t want to repeat a mistake like this — but I suspect it will take years to truly understand where we went wrong.
Finding fault doesn’t resolve the clear and present danger we face. We have a problem to resolve yet no one, apparently, has any idea how to resolve it.
The system of checks-and-balances is somehow failing us as we watch this assassination unfold. The electoral college is failing us. Social media is failing us. Many of the mainstream media outlets (but not all) are failing us. The list goes on.
Trump is right about one thing: We need change. He’s just dead-wrong in how he is trying to affect that change. The change he is casting upon us is far more than just divisive; it is dark and it is ugly. And, shockingly, according to Michael Wolff who landed the first post-election interview of Steve Bannon, this is by design — that it is their intention to stir up the darkness.
We watched as the kindling was piled up, as the match was struck, as the sparks ignited, the smoke unfurled, and as the flames grew. Our screams did nothing to stop the flames. And the inferno is only in its infancy.
“Holding the president accountable” is the new catch-phrase in the media each time they discuss his protocol breaches. But, how? Do we have to wait until he is literally the POTUS and commits his first impeachable act to be able to stop the assassination? If so, how much will it cost our nation, literally and figuratively? What statement does it make to realize that even many liberals would prefer an ultra-conservative Pence presidency to a Trump presidency?
We like to believe the our Constitution can protect us, but according to former President John Adams, the Constitution can’t protect a society that lacks a moral foundation. It was designed on the premise that we are a people of integrity. So, what happens when that integrity is assassinated?
Like most of you, I am just a lowly citizen. I have my voice, but little else. I listen and I learn, I keep an open mind, I evaluate and investigate — but I’ve not yet discovered an answer to the Trump problem beyond convincing the electoral college to vote for someone else on December 19th. For that reason, I keep pushing the petition.*
I am begging someone, somewhere, to answer the question: How do we stop the assassination of our nation’s character?
~Lynda C. Watts