A piece in the New Republic takes a frightening look at the lust for revenge and paranoia that will sweep into the White House on January 20, 2017, and the danger that Donald Trump poses to anyone that his warped and narcissistic mind may deem and "enemy." Given Trump's pettiness, there could be few limits on his efforts to seek revenge and punish those who see him for what he is and the danger that he poses to the nation. Add to Trump's dangerous personality the surveillance and other powers that will be at his disposal, and all of us have cause to be very afraid. Here are article excerpts:
Donald Trump and Richard Nixon have at least one thing in common: They are the two most paranoid and vindictive men ever to win the presidency. Both came to power armed with enemies lists, vowing to seek revenge against those who stood in their way. Both roamed the mansions of power late at night, raving against every perceived slight. Both were caught on tape describing the ways they enjoyed bending others to their will.
His enforcer, Chuck Colson, drew up “enemies lists” that included such fearsome figures as actress Carol Channing and Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton. The IRS was deployed to audit their taxes or take away the nonprofit status of their organizations.
Donald Trump assembles enemies lists, too; his organs of cognition appear to be structured around the idea of revenge. There are Republicans who voted against him, like Senator Lindsey Graham. (“It’s so great our enemies are making themselves clear,” Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigault exulted, “so that when we get to the White House, we know where we stand.”) There are media organizations he claims have covered him unfairly, like The Washington Post. . . .
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. . . And the head of military intelligence, who could use the Pentagon’s powers to spy on left-wing groups, as it did under Lyndon Johnson and to a vastly expanded degree under the paranoid auspices of Richard Nixon.
What will happen when President Trump orders some eyesore removed from his sight, only to discover the limits of presidential power? Revenge is a narcotic, and Trump of all people will be in need of a regular, ongoing fix. Ordering his people to abuse the surveillance state to harass and destroy his enemies will offer the quickest and most satisfying kick he can get. The tragedy, as James Madison could have told us, is that the good stuff is now lying around everywhere, just waiting for the next aspiring dictator to cop.
Be very, very afraid.