IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE

06/08/2017 03:07 am ET Updated Jun 08, 2017

No one, not even our President, gets a pass on ignorance of the law as an excuse for violating it. As a former practicing Catholic from an era where Latin was required in order to serve mass as an altar boy I cannot help but lapse back into it from time to time. Ignorantia legit neminem excusat, effectively meaning ignorance of law excuses no one, is something students in my generation, including Mr. Trump, learned at an early age.

Thus it is not only implausible but inexcusable for those wishing to either hide behind or justify his actions with regard to possible obstruction of justice to assert that he did not know better. It is the height of absurdity that the best those still at least attempting to protect him from himself can reach for is that he is still learning. Let there be no doubt that this is a prime example for why we should never even countenance let alone accede to on the job training for one selected to be our Chief Executive. The world simply cannot wait for this man-child to grow up. We cannot afford the pitfalls of one on an extended learning curve.

Trump is arrogant, stubborn, narcissistic, and largely ignorant of history or democratic governance. For his seventy years on Earth this formula of blissful existence has served him well, but he is so wholly unsuited for the position we all find him in today that catastrophic consequences are literally just a temper tantrum away. But I do not believe that he is stupid. He may be mentally unbalanced but he masks his insecurities behind brute force and a disdain for diplomacy. He is a contrarian, endearing to some by annoying to most. He is quite simply a bully and in the end may leave his mark on history by cementing the notion that the last thing in the world that is even remotely acceptable in a democratic society is a leader who brings the brute force of an overbearing business mentality to the Oval Office.

This is especially important when the business person has never mastered the art of delegation of authority, the hallmark of effective management that is supposedly the strong card for business leadership. He may have been keen at running his real estate empire without the need for argument or differing opinions but in government the ability to delegate and rely upon expert opinions is crucial. No one individual can fully master the intricacies of complex public policies across the broad spectrum of domestic and international affairs. Yet here we are into the fifth month of the Trump era and fully 85 percent or more political positions not only not filled but still awaiting nominations.

Trump not only has not drained the swamp but he is so far under water at this point that he cannot even see the dim light of the surface. He trusts no one. The loyalty oaths he extracts from his staff are a one-way ticket to oblivion, personally and professionally. His penchant for impulsive decision-making and a seeming inability to stay on message place uncertainty and inconsistency front an center as the guiding forces of what passes for policy.

I am convinced that he is irrational and incapable of discerning the consequences of his actions. This is not stupidity rather it is symptomatic of a personality disorder that shuts off oxygen to the brain. He simply is not sophisticated enough to think in three dimensions, to recognize potential reactions to his actions and think in the long-term. He is a transactional thinker, only capable of seeing what is either right in front of him or has already happened. He has neither the inclination nor the attention span to digest competing ideas or comprehend detailed analysis. Quite simply he is incapable of coloring between the lines. His inattention to details and reliance upon the advice of the last person he talks too if reflective of an attention deficit disorder. He is quite possibly the laziest thinker to have occupied the Office of President of the United States.

It is indeed possible and maybe even likely that his overanxious desire to seek immediate gratification will be his ultimate undoing. In the process of his inappropriate handling of the Russia investigation he may have met his match because someone by the name of James Comey showed the foresight to realize the President’s weaknesses, captured his fears in documentary fashion, and had the fortitude or integrity to take him on.

I do not know enough about Mr. Comey to be able to comment one way or another as to his integrity and indeed have found some of his judgments to be seriously lacking, i.e. his mishandling of the Clinton email server affair that even he admitted made him “mildly nauseous” that he may have had an impact on the Presidential election. But as an individual who is a student of history and government and who has spent his entire adult life in the pursuit of effective and judicious public policies I appreciate devotion to the nobility of public service and placing loyalty to the nation above loyalty to a person even if that person is the President of the United States.

I believe in the power of confidence in our elected officials and institutions of government, something that is so foreign to Mr. Trump as to not even register on his radar screen. We must return to a place where citizens believe in themselves and their government. Trump represents the antithesis of this philosophy and panders to fear while promoting self-aggrandizement. As reflected in recent polls, a majority of people simply feel that Trump is out for Trump not them.

I believe we are today entering into an era where we have an opportunity to place the ultimate check on a growing trajectory towards authoritarianism. It will be painful but necessary and the sooner we get started the better the world will be. Ignorance is no excuse and if Trump pays the ultimate price for either real or contrived ignorance it will be a lesson well needed and heeded in a time of inner turmoil.

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