Columnist Karen Gardner: ‘1984’ is upon us

  • President Donald Trump holds a chart as he talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 4, in Washington. AP photo

Published: 9/10/2019 7:00:13 PM

I know I’m not alone in this, but it feels to me that the world has gone mad and I’m struggling to remain calm and grounded. They say that “the truth is out there,” but unfortunately these days it’s wrapped up in “alternative facts.”

That’s how the president’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway, described his lies way back at the very start of his presidency. George Orwell’s “1984” comes to mind so often these days that I’m afraid I’m living in that world more often than this one.

I know I’m not perfect, far from it, but when I say something that I later realize is wrong or untrue, I attempt to correct the mistake. I mean, OK, I made a mistake, just say so and move on. What’s the big deal? But not our president. There is never a wrong word spoken, or more likely, tweeted. And when, which is so often the case, he is caught lying or making ignorant statements, the cover up and push back is all that matters to him and those around him.

So, what is the latest event that has pulled me back into Orwell’s world? Hurricane Dorian just spent more than a week crawling through the Bahamas and up the eastern coast of the U.S. But instead of focusing on the incredible destruction this category 5 storm had already brought and might still bring to millions of lives, our president was busy lying about something he had said that was untrue.

The president had falsely claimed that Alabama was in danger from the storm. The National Weather Service immediately corrected his statement so that Alabamans would know they were in no danger.

A few days later the president displayed an official NOAA forecast map showing a crudely drawn circle that attempted to back up his Alabama statement. Then to make matters worse, some political appointee at NOAA, though still unnamed, was forced to release a statement that backed the president’s easily provable false statements.

What is that about — this inability to admit error, to always be right, to blatantly and embarrassingly lie to cover it up, no matter how obvious and stupid? Though I’m no psychiatrist, I think I have an answer. The president is a sociopath, suffering from an illness known as antisocial personality disorder.

It’s not like the president’s symptoms aren’t apparent to anyone not living under a rock; it’s just that his supporters don’t seem to care. But they will care when the pain he is inflicting on them becomes too great for even them to ignore.

So, just for fun, let’s take a look at what the Mayo Clinic has to say regarding this disorder and see if any of the symptoms stick. Let’s start with “Disregard for right and wrong.” Hmmm, that covers almost everything he does, where would I start? Perhaps admittedly assaulting women by grabbing them by their “pussies” for one?

Persistent lying and deceit to exploit others.” According to the Washington Post Fact Checkers: “In 928 days President Trump has made 12,019 false or misleading statements.”

Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others.” The president appears to respect no one but Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un. Anyone else that dares to question him, his behavior or even his supposed policies, is viciously attacked with personal smears amid crude and juvenile name calling.

Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others.” We have seen, repeatedly, the president’s inability to show empathy for the victims of the many shootings this country has experienced. Rather, a visit by him to console those who survived these horrific events turns into campaign photo ops, followed by Twitter tirades aimed at those who didn’t sufficiently appreciate the president’s empty shell performance.

Add to that the harm caused by the president’s immigration policies — children separated from parents, left in deplorable conditions, as one example. And let’s not forget his unsuccessful drive to kill the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. This would have left millions without health coverage, though the attempt to undermine the law continues.

Recurring problems with the law including criminal behavior.” I’ll start with the Department of Justice suit against Trump for housing discrimination against black families in New York in the 1970s.

More recently is his use of his office for personal financial enrichment. We’ve just learned that members of the military have been encouraged to stay at Trump-owned properties. This is illegal and so is the president offering one of his properties to host the Group of 7 for next year’s conference. He will make millions more dollars than he’s already made from foreign as well as U.S. government payments from such an event, even though it is unlawful under the Constitution’s Emoluments clause. And crazily, he doesn’t even try to hide these illegal acts.

Arrogance, a sense of superiority, and being extremely opinionated.” Yep; “Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or pleasure.” Think about campaign rallies in which he whips the vulnerable into fits of hatred for other vulnerable people.

And “Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations.” Addictive television watching and, since taking office, spending 252 days at his Trump Hotel properties and 187 days at his golf properties, as of April this year, according to Newsweek. No wonder he misspeaks so often on so many topics — he’s not doing the job we’re paying him to do! He’s golfing or watching Fox or tweeting about everything Fox broadcasts.

There’s more, of course, but I’ve run out of room. For me, knowing all this only sets me back into the upside-down world of “1984,” because if this president is so obviously and dangerously unfit, then why is he still president?

The Democratically-controlled House of Representatives must begin an official impeachment process, as that will, at least, make clear to the voting public why this man needs to be removed, one way or another. In the unlikely case that the House does vote to impeach the president, we know that Republicans will never allow an impeachment trial to proceed in the Senate.

So, it looks like the only way to save ourselves from this sociopath, our president, is the 2020 election. And it needs to be a drubbing of historic proportion. Please, support your chosen candidate and vote!

Karen Gardner of Haydenville, a retired computer programmer, is a bird watcher, nature photographer and ukulele player. She can be reached at opinion@gazettenet.com.


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