Appeal to the Heartland | Tom H. Hastings

I’m from the Heartland, from the lakes and woods of Minnesota. I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for almost all of the first half century of my life and I turn to you who make your lives working hard in the woodlands and farmlands and towns big and small and ask you, for gosh sakes, can we unite and end this godawful Trump experiment?

There is a chemical, norepinephrine, released into our brains that dials us toward alertness but also potential anxiety. When we sleep and hit the dream state, it is dialed way back in our brain and we can wander mentally in whatever our subconscious ways we do. But if traumatic emotional residuals push it back into our brain we have nightmares. This Trump business is the longest lucid nightmare in our country’s collective mind and it’s time to wake up and smell the 25th Amendment.

Failing is one thing — Trump has done so many times but haven’t we all? This goes way past that into literally mortal danger for millions. This man literally is taunting another fake leader over in North Korea, daring him to kill your children so he can obliterate another country full of humans. My button is bigger than your button? Is this a bad episode of “Get Smart”? Who writes his material? Oh, that’s right, he does, at least the spontaneous stuff.

Artful Dodger Stephen Miller does his real speeches, you know, where he says things that include multisyllabic Latinate phrases and more literate insults. One wonders, by now, when Miller will join Steve Bannon in the Sad (!) affinity cloister of vindictive tell-all ad hominem Bromance Breakups.

After millions of Americans working so hard to make progress in slowing climate chaos, and to recover from floods and fires intensifying from climate change, Trump is doing everything possible to accelerate toward more and worse hurricanes, bigger and more destructive forest fires, more frequent and massive floods, and the rising seas which will wipe out entire coastal cities. Inundation nation. I mean, when National Geographic, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and so many of the staid button-down institutions we trust are all — all — clamoring for some return to a bit of progress against this backslide, can we please recall what Mo Udall said years ago, “Nature bats last.”

I’m old and have enjoyed my decades. Everything now, however, is at risk for the young ones, and that is the crime against humanity being perpetrated right now, with clear intent, by an outlaw regime that just led us into a new tax-you-for-his-benefit era. I think about my favorite little ones — 3-year-old Amolika, 4-year-old Oliver, and 5-year-old Xyler, plus a lot of other precious children — and I know you worry for your favorite small ones too.

This is bizarre beyond belief as we are treated to one shallow bit of petulant braggadocio after the next. He governs by immature, trash-talking tweets, calling himself “a very stable genius.” Is he 12? Indeed, I know no 12-year-old who is like this. By that age, most have learned humility and empathy. Not our Dear Leader.

Can we fix this? I think it will take the folks from across the U.S. who are represented by rock-ribbed Republicans to handle it. Trump is highly unpopular across the country but this is not reflected in our embarrassing reality. Politics are one thing; playing with fire and fury and the fate of millions is another. It’s like watching a toddler pick up a loaded unlocked handgun, except this is a global gun, literally. This is a moment in the history — and especially in the future — of the country and the people. A moment of unity. If we can’t join to terminate this poor rule and go forward together there may not be much left to worry or disagree about.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

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