Hell in a Bucket

I may be going to hell in a bucket
But at least I’m enjoying the ride — Grateful Dead

Donald Trump has always been a vehicle.

Very few people respected his wildly changing politics. But he managed to capture the attention of a huge swath of Americans, and is without a doubt, the greatest show on Earth (It’s no coincidence the circus went out of business this year. It became redundant.) For his base, Trump became the vehicle through which they could express their rage towards a system they felt had forgotten them.

And once the vehicle was in motion, Republican party members, a majority of whom had shunned him, got on board.

For a while, it seemed like a fair trade. You ignore the brash ignorance and relentless lies and Kellyanne and Omarosa and the personal bodyguard and the cable TV obsession and the idiotic tweets and the determined lack of curiosity and the financial conflicts of interest, and pretend the guy has what it takes to be president; and in exchange for that suspension of reality (or in Trump terms, loyalty), Trump becomes the vehicle that would drive forward whatever issues were important to you.

Sessions gets free rein to turn back time at the justice department. Pence gets to push the agenda of the religious right — and no one even laughs when the administration pretends Donald Trump, of all people, is some religious and righteous man. Pence can’t eat dinner with a woman without his wife present. Trump can’t eat dinner with a woman without grabbing her pussy. But none of that matters. Trump has power, and power inevitably and instantaneously attracts a queue of people willing to use it for their own benefit.

Ryan, who was clearly sickened by Trump during the campaign, saw an opportunity to put his name on a health bill (any health bill, as it turned out). McConnell saw an opportunity to confirm conservative judges (and essentially run the country). Bannon saw a person who could be easily-manipulated into promoting a set of beliefs that — until moments before hearing them — would have never occurred to him. International dictators saw in Trump a rube who could be easily handled with a handful of well-timed compliments.

The list goes on. You didn't have to like or respect the vehicle. But if it could drive your agenda and increase your own power, then it made sense to push the pedal to the metal, even if the ride, at times, was as rough as a demolition derby.

But it turns out, there is a downside beyond a few dents and the running over of checks, balances, and other political norms. Those who work for Trump have been repeatedly humiliated. Careers have been ruined. Reputations have been burned to the ground.

The Comey Thing. The Lying About The Comey Thing. The Tapes That Might Exist (even though we all know they don’t) Thing. The Russians in the Oval Office Thing. The Tweeting Thing. The Revealing of Classified Info to the Russians in the Oval Office Thing.

My fellow Americans, I’m only going back a half week…

Full disclosure: I fully expected that the Trump administration would be a disaster. But not a Firing the FBI Director and Sharing Secrets with a Spy in the Oval Office disaster

The administration is out of control — and now it looks like Trump’s childlike arrogance may be threatening national security. The world’s laughter has finally been interrupted because everyone is too scared to laugh; everyone except many of the world’s despots who have been emboldened by Trump.

OK, Trump is your vehicle. But you don’t have to look very far down the road to see that the vehicle is driving off a cliff.

It’s time to put country (and even world) ahead of party and hit the brakes on this ride before it’s too late.

Dave Pell is the Internet’s Managing Editor →

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