"Have you heard the news?", he said with a grin,
"The president's gone mad."
"Down town."
Last night."
"Hmm, gee, that's too bad."
Bob Dylan (slightly paraphrased)

Well, hey there, America. Gee, I realize that this is somewhat of a touchy subject, but the matter can be ignored no longer. The time has come to have a good old fashioned, national heart-to-heart. As they will tell you in any twelve-step program, the first step in overcoming any problem is simply admitting that one has a problem in the first place. That way, the solution to said problem - though never easy - becomes a lot more achievable. This is the fundamental principle behind Alcoholics Anonymous - and that organization has been performing miracles for eighty-two years. So, let's just give in and just admit was has been palpably obvious for a long time to any of us who have bothered to pay attention:
The president of the United States is out of his fucking mind.
When Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency nearly two years ago, no one with an IQ higher than a box of moldy Milk Duds (myself included) believed that the voters in this broken nation would ever send someone this obviously unhinged to the White House. We had lived through the eight-year trauma of George W. Bush's reign of madness, but there was never any serious doubt that we would survive him. The Donald was something else indeed. Throughout the primaries and campaign of 2016, the very idea of someone this deranged getting within a mile of the Oval Office was enough to send the most stouthearted of us into complete despair. When, in the days leading up to the election, it became clear that Hillary was not gaining an insurmountable lead against him, that despair turned into resigned depression. Early in the morning of November 9 it was all over.
"Always remember that those who hate you only win if you hate them - and then you destroy yourself."
Richard M. Nixon, August 9, 1974
The instability that was all-too-clear to those of us paying attention is starting to become obvious to others. Better late than never, ay? One is reminded of Dick Nixon. No man who ever served as chief-executive was more disturbed than the Trickster himself. It is now pretty much agreed by his biographers that the guy did not possess the psychological temperament to serve in office. To Nixon there was no such thing as a "loyal opposition"; you were either on his side or you were "the enemy". He even kept "an enemies list" which was somehow leaked to the public during the thick of the politically incapacitating Watergate scandal. His profile was a textbook case of screaming paranoia.

But say what you want about Nixon, he wasn't an idiot. His most ardent detractors are forced to concede that - all of that nasty emotional baggage notwithstanding - he was a fairly astute dude. That's not the case as far as Donald Trump is concerned. Just listen to him when he speaks extemporaneously: He has the vocabulary of a not-terribly-bright high school freshman (apologies in advance to all not-terribly-bright high school freshmen). Here's something you can take to the bank: Crazy and stupid is not a particularly good combination. In fact, it can be lethal.

This is new territory we've wondered into as a nation - and it's territory we would have been wise not to enter. I am not in a position to accurately diagnose Donald Trump. But the fact is, several doctors who are qualified psychiatrists have stated for the record that he shows all the classic symptoms of severe mental illness. Trump's psychological "peculiarities" have been a badly kept secret for many decades. How is it that so many Americans missed it in 2016?

You think this administration is off to a bad start? Imagine how badly it's going to end. We'll just leave it at that.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


This column by Paul Krugman appeared in this morning's NY Times. It's worth a read. All of his stuff is.

It's getting darker by the hour.


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