Why we won’t let Trump crash the plane

One version of the inexplicably popular meme (Graphic Credit: whisper)

Since the election, Trump apologists have invoked versions of this analogy to discourage resistance to the new administration:

“Wanting Trump to fail is like wanting the pilot of the plane we are all on to crash.”

Though deployed almost invariably as a conversation-ending mic drop, this simplistic analogy rings resoundingly false on multiple levels.

I. Trump is not alone in the cockpit

If the federal government were a plane, then it would be a jumbo jet with a three-member flight crew: Congress, the judiciary and the Executive Branch. The flight manual specifies a careful division of labor, plus constitutional checks and balances. If one of the crewmen proves incapable, then the other two must take responsibility, sideline him, and safely operate the plane pending his replacement.

Fortunately, the Framers installed sensible system failsafes to prevent any single member of the crew from crashing the aircraft. By design, no individual is indispensable.

II. Trump is flying blind

Our new captain inhabits an alternate reality. Where the rest of us perceive the world as it is, he and his supporters hallucinate, seeing nothing but flat plains where mountains loom, and imagining typhoons in clear blue skies.

Sure that he knows the terrain ahead, Trump accepts only assent and flattery, flatly rejecting all contrary evidence. He ignores the air traffic controllers (“most dishonest human beings on earth”), refuses to read the instruments before him (“fake news”), does not even deign to glance out the cockpit windows, and thus will never know that he has charted a collision course with reality — until it is too late.

Trump made his penchant for magical thinking clear throughout the campaign, and reiterated many of those delusions in his absurd inaugural address:

  1. He describes our country as impoverished, overtaxed and overregulated, when the truth is low unemployment, low taxes, light regulation, and a longstanding (if modest and uneven) economic recovery.

III. We own this airline

As citizens of a constitutional republic, we are more than mere passengers. We own this plane. We hire members of the flight crew at intervals specified by the Constitution, and if they disgrace themselves in the meantime, we can summarily impeach and remove them.

Trump disqualified himself from the cockpit throughout the campaign by lying, denying objective reality, inciting hatred, and coddling foreign dictators.

His sycophants shoved him into the cockpit, anyway.

Consequently, he has continued all of that bad behavior, and then compounded it with audacious corruption: Trump keeps his finances secret and refuses to divest from his businesses, thus ensuring unprecedented conflicts of interest and potentially unlimited exploitation of public power for private gain.

IV. Sometimes the pilot needs to fail

If a pilot charts a course that will crash the plane, then it is our duty to ensure that he fails.

Trump is not consciously trying to crash this plane. Like all the best snake oil salesmen, he believes his own con. Sincere in his delusions, he genuinely thinks his plans will make America great again while affirming his bloated Messiah complex.

We cannot share in those hallucinations.

If we allow Trump to do even half of what he promises, then he will wreck the economy, violate human rights here and abroad, and replace our democracy with a Fascist state.

He will crash this plane, as surely as that suicidal Germanwings pilot or a 9/11 hijacker.

We need to break into the cockpit and stop him before he even takes off.

If you enjoyed this article, then please hit the little heart down there to help others find it. I invite your comments. Thank you for reading.

History, politics, education, music, culture. Award-winning high school teacher, former principal. College instructor. Seahawks Diehard. Twitter: @brian_mrbmkz

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