Tomorrow may very well go down in history books as the true beginning of the unraveling of the United States of America. While you might believe I’m being hyperbolic in my declaration of doom, I respectfully disagree. In fact, I’m trying my best to be as calm as possible. Oh, you might want to point out that America has weathered crises before; The Civil War, the Great Depression, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis to name just a few. And yes, the country may have been even more starkly divided in times past than it is now but, and this is important, never before has there been an American President-Elect as ill-prepared for the presidency as Donald J. Trump.
Regardless of how you might personally feel about the man himself, whether you voted for him, against his opponent, for one of his opponents, or for no one at all; it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. And THAT should worry EVERYONE. And it’s not because he’s a thin-skinned, sexist, narcissistic, rude, bombastic, aggressive, obnoxious, lying, buffoon. That’s not really debatable because he has shown over and over and over again, through tweets, speeches, and interviews, that he is all of those things and PROUD of it. And despite all his flaws, the hard truth is that enough people in enough important districts in enough important States were willing to ignore all his negatives and vote for him. So, yes. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.
And no, this isn’t a “not my President” moment.
However, it must be noted that never before in American history has there ever been a President-Elect like Donald Trump. Not only is he frighteningly, WILLFULLY ignorant of nearly EVERY facet of the unimaginably huge bureaucracy he will soon be in charge of, but he’s actively and AGGRESSIVELY attacking the people he should be relying upon for help and guidance. Attacking political enemies is one thing, attacking the press can perhaps be overlooked by his supporters, but attacking the very agencies he’s now supposed lead? Belittling and antagonizing the science and intelligence agencies he’ll need to rely on for unbiased, up-to-the-second, top-secret information? How can even his supporters not feel a little uneasy? If he doesn’t trust anyone in the government now, before he’s receiving the truly scary, life-or-death, wrong-decision-and-the-world-ends reports, who will he trust and when will he trust them? Where will he get the information he needs to make the important decisions the President needs to make every day? His gut? Twitter? Putin?
But, you say, he’s a billionaire, a successful businessman. He must be smart enough to run the country, right?
Wrong. Dangerously, foolishly, horribly wrong.
There are a myriad of reasons that type of thinking is wrong, and nearly all have been hashed to death for the last two years all over the web by nearly every media outlet in America. I won’t even bother to use the usual talking points of his many bankruptcies, poor business decisions or even his failed businesses and fake school to make my point. Instead, I’ll try something a little easier to understand.
Let me give you a hypothetical that will hopefully illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you’re a big fan of flight simulator games. Let’s also say that you’re a huge fan of one of the top players in the world. Let’s also say that player becomes so proud of his flight simulation skills that he decides to get his adoring fans (you) to demand that NASA let him fly the space shuttle. Caving in to massive public pressure, NASA not only agrees, but allows him to fly a shuttle that will carry a payload of 25 armed nuclear warheads. You and millions of other fans cheer him on for taking on, and “beating” NASA and it’s silly rules. Not wanting the mission to fail, NASA tries to help our flight simulator hero prepare for the awesome responsibility of flying such a dangerous mission by offering him private lessons and all the studying materials he could ever need. But our hero not only refuses their help, he actively and publicly mocks and ridicules them for even trying. To make matters even worse, our intrepid hero then chooses a flight and ground crew with absolutely no experience in the positions he gives them. The mechanics he brings in have never even changed the oil in their car. The scientists he hires are “smart” people suggested to him by his sponsors. His head of mission control is his manager. When people in the press point out that he should really study for the upcoming flight and maybe think about hiring people with some actual experience, he just insults the reporters and bans them from future press conferences. When other, more experienced shuttle pilots, control and ground crew personnel voice their concern, he cries that they’re treating him unfairly because he’s going to be the best pilot ever and they’re all just jealous. Then, word gets out that your hero may have won his flight simulation matches because the referees were influenced by a third party and that maybe he’s not quite as successful as people thought…
Now, no matter how much of a fan you might be of this person, and no matter how great he may or may not be at playing flight simulator games, can you honestly say you’d be comfortable letting him fly a nuclear shuttle?
The point is, just because a person is good at one thing does not mean they have ANY aptitude at all in something else. Even if that something else seems superficially similar to their own area of expertise. Especially if that something is VASTLY more complicated than the thing that person is supposedly good at. And even more especially if that person refuses all advice and assistance offered by experts at that new thing.
And this is just the tiniest scratch on the very tip of all the things I see and feel when I think about our President-Elect. As I said before, this goes way, WAY, beyond my personal feelings. Sure, we’ve had Presidents who weren’t very smart before. And of course, some Presidents of the past have done things for selfish reasons, or passed bad laws, or been lousy human beings. But at the very least, all of them, ALL of them, surrounded themselves with smart people who knew what they were doing and had experience in the roles they were cast. And that’s because those past Presidents, no matter how personally incompetent, mentally challenged, or downright evil they may have actually been, NONE of them were truly willing to destroy the country. Each and every one of them believed what they were doing was best for their country. So at the very least, previous generations of the American public that may have opposed their Presidents policies could rest easy knowing that as bad as things might have seemed to them at the time, the Executive branch of the government wouldn’t really destroy America in a fit of anger over an imagined insult.
The question now is; does anyone have 100% confidence that the same will hold true after Donald J. Trump is sworn in tomorrow?