I wanted to write about something other than Donald J. Trump, but like everybody else, I am like a moth attracted to flame. Which tweet is going to be the one that goes so far over the line that there is no way to recover? Substituting social media as the venue for executive orders and outrageous attacks, even on his own cabinet members, is paving the way to self-destruction. I fear this is going to end badly.

During one of the local political campaigns that I managed, Stokes for Mayor, the candidate Bill Stokes and I agreed that Facebook and Twitter could be as dangerous as they could be possibly helpful, especially since he was the state’s chief criminal prosecutor and I was a political operative who had made enemies with every successful campaign. We had a great website but did not use social media. For me, the question remains: are Facebook and Twitter the greatest invention ever, or instead a platform for every screwball around to offer scurrilous, unsubstantiated garbage, leading to the ruin of many good people’s reputations? Is Wikileaks merely an exercise in free speech, or a treacherous, slippery slope to anarchy through traitorism?

Use of social media is responsible for successful recruitment by ISIS, the unholy Muslim sect whose mission is to annihilate us. Free speech is an inalienable right, but how do we apply the rule of restraint against shouting “fire” in a crowded theater? Can society survive the massive attack of a malevolent element on the rest of us, without some common-sense restrictions?

Getting back to Trump’s tweets. It is obvious that the president suffers from a psychosis. His egotism is spilling over, generated by his newfound omnipotence as president of the United States. Every day, Trump takes tremendous worldwide risks and imperils his presidency because of his inability to avoid the spotlight on an everyday basis. It is dangerous to engage in threats against an unstable dictator with a growing nuclear capacity in North Korea.

Trump’s total lack of ability to absorb any form of criticism is feeding the public’s belief that he and his campaign colluded with the Russians in the election. His attacks on his most ardent first supporter, attorney general Jeff Sessions; the current and former FBI directors; the CIA and special counsel, investigator Robert Mueller, are making Trump look like he has lost it, and is producing unhealthy impeachment talk. How many more friends, fellow Republicans, and loyal cabinet members can he alienate and turn against him before the proverbial crap hits the fan. Nobody likes a bully.

When Trump threw Attorney General Sessions, his most loyal supporter, under the bus, this administration reached a six-months pivotal point. Sessions had no legal choice but to recuse himself from the Russian investigation. For the president to subsequently charge Sessions recusal an act of disloyalty is an arrogant display of flaunting the law or a purposeful attempt to protect himself from incrimination. The treatment of Sessions by the president drives a permanent wedge between himself and the strongly conservative wing of the Republican Party and voters who admire and respect Sessions for his integrity and positions on the issues.

When Trump attacked Sessions, it reminded me of the time during the McCarthy hearings when Joseph Welch asked Joe McCarthy, “Do you have no sense of decency?”

All of this is deeply disturbing to anyone, including myself, who voted for Trump as a Hobson’s choice, because we agreed with him on the issues. Add to all this the Republicans’ display of political impotence in not offering an acceptable health care plan to replace Obamacare, and it appears that this trainwreck is catastrophic. This failure may poison attempts at tax reform and infrastructure spending, both of which would stimulate the economy.

We can only hope and pray that the eloquent plea made by the revered Sen. John McCain for the return of civility and compromise is somehow answered. McCain’s courageous trip to the Senate a few days after brain surgery probably signaled a farewell address. McCain’s personal sacrifice, first as a POW and then as a great public servant, will always stand as an example of the courage and character of an America that will somehow endure and prevail. The message is, never give up.

McCain is America, still land of the free, home of the brave.

In local political news, Augusta Councilor Anna Blodgett is not expected to run for re-election. Eric Lind is the front-runner to replace her.

Don Roberts is a veteran broadcaster, writer and political consultant. He has served Augusta as a city councilor at-large, charter commission vice chairman and utilities district treasurer.

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