Trump derangement syndrome or love of country?

This is the text of a letter to the editor of the Rockwall Herald Banner. I hope I don’t need to have permission to post as I am the original author.

I wonder if I am suffering from Trump derangement syndrome – described as irrational, virulent hatred of our president. I walked in the Women’s March hoping it might send a message that Americans would not tolerate misogyny, racism and xenophobia. Surely, with the help of a competent cabinet, Mr. Trump would moderate his views and rhetoric and become president of ALL Americans.

Why dislike Mr. Trump?

He profits from the presidency, having put his assets in an “eyes-wide-open” blind trust run by his adult sons. His Washington hotel sucked the life out of DC eateries that used to cater to foreign diplomats and government staff. They now dine at Trump’s to curry favor. The same goes for his Florida estate and his golf courses.

Corruption extends to some of the cabinet. Mr. Trump has staffed it with people who want to destroy the agencies they are charged with and some who want to use their position as a piggy bank. Scott Pruitt is gone from EPA, but his legacy of ignoring science in favor of big donors is carried on by Ryan Zinke at Interior. Scientists’ papers are reviewed by political hacks and mentions of climate change are deleted. National monuments are under attack by drilling and logging companies. Betsy deVos at Education is doing her best to defund public schools in favor of private institutions and vouchers.

When Obama ran for president in 2008, an argument against him was that he would “redistribute the wealth”. We are now at the beginning of epic wealth redistribution. The main beneficiaries of the Trump tax cuts are already at the top of the wealth pyramid. The threatened new tax cuts would accelerate the flight of money to the top. Less tax money in government coffers means less money for social programs for all of us. Meanwhile, wages are only marginally improving and the tariffs already in place (and those threatened on China) are endangering farmers’ and manufacturers’ livelihood. The $12 B aid package to farmers is a band aid if we enter a real trade war.

Mr. Trump vowed to “Make America Great Again”. But our standing in the world is diminished by bullying our allies (EU and NATO) and neighbors (Canada and Mexico). Have the values of our country, embodied in the Statue of Liberty, been replaced by a Wall and cascades of angry tweets? Is the separation of children from families fleeing crime and poverty the new normal?

Finally, Mr. Trump displays every trait of an autocrat. He cozies up to Putin, who runs cyber attacks on our elections. He attacks the press. He expects his cabinet to implement whatever he tweets. The Republican-led Congress has been supine, and, together with voters, the judicial branch is the last rampart against authoritarianism.

I don’t have Trump derangement syndrome. I think America was pretty great to start with and I really don’t like what Mr. Trump is doing to the country I love.

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