“TRUMP: What I’ve done is, I have [sic] absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”
Donald J. Trump to the NY Times yesterday.
Kids, move the hand on the “All Bets Are Off” Doomsday Clock to one second before midnight.
This is not Constitutional. It is an authoritarian, fascistic belief that Trump has concerning the US Presidency: The executive is a dictatorship.
Many people here have the same notion – the presidency of the US is a position of “absolute power.” A dictatorship, in essence. So, the voters were happy to elect a nihilist and autocrat. He has no belief in “limits” which are exactly what definitions are, standards are, and moral values are; and it is the substance of law in a liberal democracy, a republic such as ours.
This man – I use the term both loosely and in its worst sense – believes “the law is in his mouth,” to paraphrase King John just before the English aristocracy forced him to sign Magna Carta — you recall, to limit him and protect themselves.
Trump’s mouth, in turn, is slave to his desires. His empty desire for desire’s sake, what I kept describing [in 2016 essays] as the “empty hole” at the center of his (paradoxically) weak ego, a weak sense of individual identity. His very existence is defined and constituted by “getting his way,” by external praise, adulation, fame, accumulation of things that will pass and go like Nineveh and Tyre. His identity is provided from the ever-shifting, frustrating external world, demanding its – and your – worship and loyalty and submission to his will. A will he does not, probably cannot by this point, master; yes, this is the definition of slavery – to be ruled by the world and desiring whatever one desires.
He – Trump – cannot accurately sense where “he” ends and “the world” or “reality” begins; he is in solution, like salt in warm water, if salt were half-conscious. Reality is an extension of him and vice versa, in practical terms (note how often he refers to himself in the third person, for example: his self-alienation is astounding). Reality should obey his desires and satisfy them as quickly as he waves his hands. Anything else is frustrating.
As “my circumstances,” and yours, and his as well is not “I.” I belong to it and it to me within my life, but it is different than “I.” It resists as well as cooperates with my desires and plans. Mostly, it resists and I plan against the resistance, such as my depending on the floor to resist well enough so that I can walk across the room.
While Trump doubtless has habitually accepted such phenomena – he can walk – much of the rest he misidentifies and misinterprets in the crudest of ways. When it comes to people, it is a matter of time, apparently, before he intends to force those who disagree with his prejudicial desires and beliefs to toe the line he has randomly drawn, or else. He, after all believes he has the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”
Extend that by implication to the military (which he worships and identifies with) and police forces and legislators and the courts. Do you see what I suspect about that Doomsday Clock?
As this is his “identity,” he is as deeply hurt by any slight, insult, perception of disapproval (which is always taken as personal), as he is overjoyed by any sort of praise and flattery, no matter how false. As long as it sounds “good” and can be repeated endlessly he uses any fragment of a message as self-advertising, an addition to his fame. He IS his fame.
Doubt that his fame is founded in veracity or is not valuable in itself must be punished. Right now, verbally. But he has an “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department[…]” and anything else, I fear. That is his belief.
If I must interpret further: He is saying aloud that the Justice Department is his personal Gestapo… he’s just not chosen to use it that way… yet.
[There is more to say. Others will say it better, if they are not afraid to do so. Self-censorship in the USA is rife. So I will continue to explore this later, though I’d rather do other things and people will largely ignore this. Who am I, after all. As an educated citizen, though, I am that much. So I have responsibility to speak and speak accurately, sound alarms, bark a warning at what’s emerged from the darkness and lumbers towards the city gates. Whether others do anything about it or go on sleeping — I cannot do anything about that.]
29 December 2017
Richard Van Ingram
Click on the image to read excerpts from the Trump interview at The New York Times.