The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump

.trumps-inaugaration
Herr Drumpf takes the Oath
A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY, IF CIVILIZATION SURVIVES!

Today Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office, in which he will pledge to “defend the US constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” The problem is that the greatest danger to the Constitution may well be the new President himself. According to Lawrence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, Donald Trump will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause due to his failure to divest his sprawling business holdings by placing them into a blind trust to be liquidated by an anonymous trustee. Indeed, Professor Tribe, who is widely regarded as our most authoritative voice on the evolution and intent of the clauses in the Constitution, has laid out five constitutional violations that will make Trump eligible for Impeachment the moment he takes office in a few hours.

Of course this will not happen immeditely, because impeachment proceedings must begin in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by fanatical ideologues who have placed the interest of the Republican Party – the Grand Obstructionist Party – above the national interest, and privilege a thirst for power over their love for the Constitution – despite the endless lip service they give to its sacred place in American life. However, I predict that just like Richard Nixon with the Watergate affair, Trump’s business interests, and perhaps the relationship of his campaign and subsequent election to Russian intrusion in our presidential election could eventually result in the impeachment of Donald Trump.

The fact that the new President’s commitment to conventional Republican ideological dogma is suspect by party stalwarts, who would much prefer Vice-President Mike Pence in their heart of hearts, makes Trump’s removal from office a real possibility. There is a precedent for this in the history of the Republican Party. Party ideologues – i.e. the leadership and most of the Congress – view this election as a transformative moment in US political history akin to the period following the Civil War.

They see this as a chance to make sweeping fundamental changes in the character of American society, just like the “Radical Republican” Congress that shaped Reconstruction policy. Although the Republican Party had complete control of the government, they had an uncooperative President who was at odds with their agenda. This circumstance was a consequence of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln which propelled Vice -President Andrew Johnson into the Oval Office.

Johnson had been picked by Lincoln as a gesture of conciliation toward the defeated states of the southern confederacy because he was a pro-union southerner; the only southern senator who refused to leave the union when his state seceded. Johnson’s selection was a concrete expression of President Lincoln’s promise in his second inaugural address, when he held out an olive branch to the defeated south with the promise that he would proceed “with malice toward none and charity for all we will bind up the wounds of our nation.”

However despite his pro-union loyalty, Johnson was a racist southern reactionary who did not share the vision of the Radical Republican Congress, and thus he opposed their agenda. And when they had had enough of his obstructionism they found grounds to impeach his contrary ass.
The validity of these charges yet remains a subject of controversy among American historians. However, given Trump’s opposition to conventional Republican wisdom on such fundamental issues as “Free Trade,” fiscal conservatism, and Russian policy, they could decide to remove him in favor of the ideologically pure Pence. And given the sloppy state of President Trump’s business affairs they will have little trouble finding valid grounds for impeachment.But all of this is only gross speculation that must be filed under the category of “what if.”

As it stands in a few hours Donald J. Trump is being sworn in as the 45 President of the United States of America, in an orderly transfer of power that has proceeded unimpeded for two centuries. It is a process that remains the marvel of the world and something in which all Americans can take pride. After all, he was elected, so far as we know, in a free and fair election.

However, there are two investigations underway – conducted by a Senate committee and by the FBI – that may yet reveal that the election was not fair; that the outcome was manipulated by a foreign adversary intent upon destroying the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who was clearly the most qualified candidate for the presidency in American history, in favor of Donald J. Trump who from all appearances is the least qualified candidate in US history!

One need only compare the hostile attitude toward Russia held by Hillary Clinton, with the warm fuzzy bromance between Trump and Putin to fathom why the Russians prefer Donnie. In my view this is modern tragedy, because cultivating better relations with Russia – a nuclear armed nation with the capacity to obliterate every city and town in America in a half hour from now – is one of the most critical problems facing our nation’s survival.

Yet, alas, as Dr. Stephen Cohen – our most learned Russian scholar – has argued, the suspicion that President Trump may be Moscow’s candidate has cast a cloud of suspicion over the Trump presidency before he even takes office and could arrest any progress that he might wish to make in a rapprochement with Russia.

The tragedy lies in the fact that Trump’s refusal to be seduced or coerced into promoting the growing anti-Russian hysteria – fueled by loose talk from politicians and the mindless blather spouted by many in the mass media – is his sole virtue….at least as far as I can see, and I’m watching him like a hawk spying on a chicken. We will have to pay close attention to the investigations and await their verdict before we know for sure if our presidential election was free or fair.

What we do know for sure is that Donald Trump will be our next president, and if he does what he has promised to do, it will be a giant step backward for our nation. If he expands the military budget – which already exceeds those of Russia, China, England and Japan combined – it will add nothing to our safety because we already have the capacity to kill every living thing in the world several times over.

But it is certain to spark a new arms race that will endanger everybody’s security, including ours. And if he succeeds, in league with a compliant congress, in carrying out the tax cuts that he has promised, it has been estimated by neutral experts that it would result in a ten trillion dollar budget deficit within ten years!

If President Trump signs the bill already passed by the Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare it has been estimated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Offic that 18 million American citizens will immediately lose their health care coverage – many of them the very people who voted him into the Oval Office! It will indeed be a bitter pill to swollow to watch billionaires take away the medical care of the poor.  And if he carries out his pledge to defund the National Endowment on the Arts, he will greatly impoverish the cultural life of the nation, injure our spiritual life, deny the nation’s youth of the opportunity to experience the wonder of artistic creativity, and thus diminish our humanity.

If President Trump also carries out his threat to slap a 45% tariff on goods coming from China, he will throw many Americans out of work – because even products manufactured in the US depend upon critical parts produced in China – and dramatically raise the price of goods working class Americans rely on. It will put Walmart as well as your local hardware store out of business! And if he continues with the folly of reinstituting a “two China” policy we could well end up in a war with China, which we have no chance of winning by conventional means, and would thus place us in a nuclear confrontation – which the Chinese believe will result in the extinction of Americans, who only number some 300 million souls, but some of the billion and a half Chinese will survive.

This is why the handing over of the nuclear “football” and the codes to fire our doomsday weapons to Donald Trump – a clueless ignoramus who has cavalierly talked about employing the nuclear option even in Europe – is so terrifying to those of us who recognize their destructive capacity. These doomsday weapons can literally destroy our planet! This is what we now face as a conquence of electing Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the US. It is hard to envision a scenario that will not end badly.

Our only hope for a brighter outcome alas, is that President Trump will experience something akin to the “Beckett Syndrome,” where Thomas Beckett, a flunky for the king of England, was elevated by the King to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, the powerful head of the Church of England, in the belief that he would do the King’s bidding. But once in office Beckett looked at his reflection in the mirror, decked out in the Arch-Bishop’s robes and went through a conversion where he swore to God that he would do all within his power to serve the best interest of the church….the king be dammed!

As I write this morning, the skies are grey and the birds are not singing. Talking to a friend in California I am told that the rains are pouring there, and it’s threatening to rain on the presidential parade in Washington. If I were the sort who believed in the pre-scientific concept of God, I would think that the gods were crying over the catastrophe we face….one of our own making……on this this day that will live in infamy….if we survive!

Donald Trump now has this Power!

a-nuclear-explosion

All he has to do is give the Word!

Witness the Inauguration Ceremony

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 20, 2016

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