Opinion: ‘ … a different and diminished country’

(AP)

By now, we have come to know a few things.

We know that it isn’t going to get any better than this, that this heightened state of absurdity can and will be sustained for as long as Donald J. Trump is our president. We know it because we’ve seen it. We’ve seen how Trump feeds off chaos, how he needs something to excite him, validate him, anger or outrage him in every waking moment, and with his powers as president, the world is his plaything. He is unpredictable Zeus, and Twitter provides his lightning bolt.

Our president will provoke controversy where there need not be any; he will create enemies to fight where once there were friends to give assistance, and he will pit American against American because to him, chaos is the fourth essential to life, along with food, water and air. It is his natural element, and he thrives it.

We also know that for all of its constitutional safeguards, the system cannot sustain four full years of this. The stories of dysfunction and barely controlled pandemonium that are coming out of the White House are monumental, and we have to assume that the worst of the stories will be told only after all this has ended. At some point, inevitably, the ongoing effort to constrain Trump is going to fail, because like a drunk on a ledge, you cannot teeter on the precipice forever.

We know that great damage is being done, not just on the surface but deep within the structures that sustain us. Our alliances are under strain, our friends are dismayed. The Republican “leadership” in Congress acts for all the world like an abused spouse, afraid to protect the children for fear that it will become the next target. The State Department has been gutted, the Environmental Protection Agency has been castrated. The Trump administration is doing everything within its power to ensure that Obamacare rates soar and that the health-insurance system collapses, even as it is forced to acknowledge that it has no alternative to replace it.

The same is true of the Iran nuclear deal, of NAFTA, the global climate accord, even NATO … all of the institutions and relationships crafted to contain chaos are under attack, with nothing to replace them. Trump also seems determined to undercut any potential diplomatic solution to the North Korea problem, leaving only a military solution that would leave hundreds of thousands dead at a minimum.

Judging from poll numbers, you could talk yourself into thinking that a tipping point might be approaching. After nine months, a majority of Americans have concluded that the man is simply not fit for the office. In a new AP poll, just 16 percent describe him as level-headed; just 23 percent call him honest. The stock market is still booming; the jobless rate is still at 4.2 percent, yet just 24 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction, a 10-point fall since June. Among Republicans, the fall has been 16 points. The American people are growing sick and tired of Trump, and I see no mechanism by which that process can be reversed.

But a more isolated and unpopular Trump is also an angrier and more unpredictable Trump, and his personal history says that when he goes down, he takes everybody with him, regardless of collateral damage. His appetite for chaos and his ethos of striking back twice as hard when attacked ensure that it will be a struggle to the political death, and I fear that we will emerge from it a different and diminished country. Whether that will be temporary or permanent depends on forces that we are not given to understand.

Reader Comments 0

2839 comments
Jason Lee
Jason Lee

It will all be worth it if America actually learns something from this fiasco. I truly hope so.

Mike Williams
Mike Williams

This opinion spoken by a true Partisan- communist partisan! Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Kruschev would all be duly proud!

Mike Decker
Mike Decker

This country can not be destroyed from the outside, can only be destroyed from the inside. United we stand divided we fall. That was written over 200 years ago and still holds true today. How do you destroy America? You divide it

Phyllis Rampe
Phyllis Rampe

BS..... democrats/leftist r full of hate and anger because they lost...

Lisa Duren
Lisa Duren

Ya.. that was Obama the hunn.. Thank The Lord We Have A True American As President Now....

John Wood
John Wood

AJC is inherently a liberal newspaper......Your viewpoint of the country is contrary to the average American ! For example I would stand for the national anthem in a football game while your newspaper would take a knee in support of protest! I believe in Donald Trump's America! I cannot believe in a liberal utopia that does not exist in reality! If so please show it to me?

David Barker
David Barker

This president is terrible foreign affairs I'm ok with but domestic wise this place is in shambles

Becky Boyd
Becky Boyd

Obama devided the people of this country not Trump apparently he doesn't have the support to achieve that

Jim Reed
Jim Reed

Sounds lika a pretty accurate description of Obama!

Karen LaFarge
Karen LaFarge

Here ya go Sandy \U0001f595\U0001f3fb\U0001f603

Izora Parish Stewart
Izora Parish Stewart

I don't know who said this but it sounds like what Obama has done and seems to stick be doing. The American people aren't as dumb as you might think,we can see through this bull..President Trump is trying to get his mess cleaned up, without much help may I add..Evil is everywhere trying to distroy our country and it started with 8 years of Obama and Hillary was going to finish it if she had gotten elected, people need to wake up. .

Glenn Hirsch
Glenn Hirsch

Hes trying to bring back the law and credibility to America swallow

Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor

Still waiting for our Great President to make sense.

Donna Meraz
Donna Meraz

Your talking about the wrong President. My President is not like

Rick Cook
Rick Cook

Gotta ca bullcrap on this story and it writers. They hate Trump and they are race baiting trash

Syrella Headen
Syrella Headen

Trump, didnt' start this mess, lol God have mercy on your soul.We have to do what is best for ourselves, and think little of some of the people. Because no one else is going to care about you. People are cruel, crazy, and disgusting. We can't wait on the government to look after the US, anymore. Every one is power struck.

Tracy Brooks-Chappell
Tracy Brooks-Chappell

An unfortunate truth where many are lacking humility and education to see the truth.

Syrella Headen
Syrella Headen

When you have a sore, and u don't treat it , it manifest. So what do you expect? ! I feel sorry for the American people who think we're going to get better.

Chris Smart
Chris Smart

All incorrect he is saving America, no more weakness, doing things the right way for ya not others.

Dwight Woods
Dwight Woods

Wrong President, Obama is who you are describing.

Anne White
Anne White

The writer of this editorial is not a "journalist", but an opinion shaper- his opinion. His only so called fact is a poll statistic. Who is so foolish as to accept pool numbers as facts? The AJC has lost its credibility and its ability to provide the news without bias.

Virginia Connolly
Virginia Connolly

Sorry to disagree but I think it's the well orchestrated organized paid for Resistance Movement against our President that is the cause....

Ana CL Santiago
Ana CL Santiago

As usual, the Trumpanzees are out in full force, bleating their pathetic denials. Close on their heels are the Russian trollbots, who continue to pour out their anti-free press & anti-justice propaganda for said Trumpanzees to eagerly lap up & then regurgitate, ad nauseum. And when Mueller's investigation is concluded & the full magnitude of what this human disaster zone has done to us is revealed, none of you idiots will believe it. Your desperation, bigotry and hatred have blinded you to the extent that you're no longer capable of rational thought. I'd say you deserve everything that's going to befall you, but the rest of us are going to suffer for your perfidy.

Dianne Hewitt Swegan
Dianne Hewitt Swegan

The AJC is pathetic and super liberal, that's when I never was a subscriber when I lived in the Atlanta area!

Beverly Mack Johnson
Beverly Mack Johnson

All lies! It was all stirred up 2 presidents ago. At least get the facts right. Obama just fell into it. Donald Trump not helping it out at all. Only himself and the rich man. I blame Bush for all this mess.

Anthony Piccirilli
Anthony Piccirilli

You and people who think like you create controversy and dwell on the negative like Obama has...that statement is pure bull.

Elizabeth Knight
Elizabeth Knight

This is already a different and diminished country, and each day of 45's regime makes it worse. Nothing but lies and chaos, all the way down.

Ellis Lively
Ellis Lively

Fake, fake news, why you all don't report the real news

Janet Wolfrey
Janet Wolfrey

Oh I thought you were talk ing about Obama that describes him to a tee!

Judy Coker
Judy Coker

You are sick people. This the exact thing Obama and Clinton was doing. Our President is for what's right. He is led by God and his convictions to make this Country great again.

Thomas Peck
Thomas Peck

Who comes up with this CRAP??? Talk about trying to devide. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND TRUMP.

Kaye Loughrey
Kaye Loughrey

You are talking about Obama and Clinton's and Soros.

Billie Malek
Billie Malek

Oh let's just let him break our country like OBAMA and enable one race to rule the world. Free for some while the others pay. Yet you hit the right idea. You just forgot to mention the most dominant factor\U0001f44c\U0001f3ff