Please, if you find this just weird or just absurd or just funny in a sick way or just typical for Trump and for Fox, stop. This is dangerous. This is a danger to our system. It wouldn't be if it was just one disturbed damaged man, but he has an entire party apparatus behind him.
Powerful people are supporting him because he advances their narrow, typically greedy or hateful needs. Some are supporting him because they are weak or think he can protect them or because they think if they don't, he will attack them. (Because they know he will.)
But what these means is that vital checks in our system to prevent the empowerment of people who are so evil, so contemptuous of our democracy, so toxic are not working. Each day this makes this enemy in our midst feel more empowered even as he feels more aggrieved.
He now feels freer than ever to broadcast his racism. He now feels free to attempt to use the power of his office to attack his enemies. He feels freer to lie (if such a thing is imaginable.) He feels free to ignore laws, law enforcement or the Congress of the United States.
He has no vision for this country. He did not set out to destroy or weaken or rig our system (although many of his supporters may have.) He is purely and exclusively self-interested. Scared and desperate to preserve his skin, his wealth, what reputation he perceives he has.
But a man like this, this damaged, this afraid, this at risk for very good reasons, is a cancer in our system. He may not have set out to destroy our democracy but he is in a better position to do just that than anyone since the American Civil War.
We know he knows no conscience or boundaries when it comes to self-advancement and preservation. Why else would he have sought and embraced and defended and rewarded the support of a foreign enemy? That may be the most stunning thing about Trump and Russia.
He was completely willing to sell out the country to our most active enemy to advance his narrow personal goals. He is that devoid of character, loyalty, patriotism or foresight. And for the same reason, he won't think twice about seeking to destroy those he perceives as enemies.
And for that same reason, he won't think twice about seeking to further damage and ultimately fatally undermine our system. And so many people in his party support him and so many aspects of our system have been rigged to empower our president and those close to him...
...that he is well on his way to that goal. Right now, he is above the law...and will be until he held to account. Many realize this, but some in the Democratic Party are hesitant to undertake the divisive business of confronting him. This is a dangerous mistake.
It is exactly like refusing to fight an enemy who threatens us because war is ugly and risky. But when the threat is so real and profound that is the time to stand up and accept those risks as the price we must pay to preserve what we hold dear.
Laugh at him, dismiss him, insult him, simmer in your own disgust for him and you aid him. Try to change the subject and you aid him. Go slow and you aid him. And do all this and you put our system at greater risk with each passing minute.
Now is the time to enforce the law, put violators in jail, launch intensive impeachment hearings, dig for new evidence of his many crimes, make the case and then make it again and again. If the Senate doesn't convict him, fine...a well made case will persuade the public to do so.
If officials ignore their obligations to appear before Congress, seek to obstruct justice further, prosecute them. If they lie to Congress, prosecute them. If they won't cooperate, withhold funding for their programs and salaries.
Trump and McConnell & Co. think playing hardball, trampling over laws and traditions and standards, is just smart politics. We who oppose them must recognize this and that the only thing that will stop them is to successfully use the law to stop them and make them pay a price.
They see hesitation as an invitation to further abuse. We see the evidence for this daily. So, please, this is not the time for hand-wringing. It is past the time even for alarms. It is the time for tough, assertive, aggressive Congressional action.
It is time for the same from federal and state prosecutors. It is time for Democratic candidates to coalesce around agreement that Trump is an existential threat to our country and that impeachment is not a choice but an obligation.
It is time. Or the time the damage done can be easily reversed will pass...soon, much sooner than many seem willing to acknowledge. It is time. Donald Trump and his supporters are a clear and present danger to the United States. It is time.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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