Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

US' sanity could hang in balance


September 18, 2019

I have two brothers who think I’m crazy.

I think they’re nuts, too.

My other two brothers are smarter. They don’t talk about politics.

The two who think I’m crazy are ardent supporters of President Donald Trump.

I think he’s the worst president we’ve ever had. To my mind, the only way Trump is a stable genius is if he’s the only one there who’s not a horse.

My combatant brothers and I are mystified about how we could grow up in the same household yet have such polar-opposite views, and we suspect mental illness as the cause.

But I have to conclude they might have sound, not good but sound, reasons for supporting Trump.

I hope my sentiment is reciprocated with them.

None of us, however, would consider that the others should be committed or forced to wear tracking devices.

Mental health has been on the mind of the president.

A friend of his is launching a program called HARPA, or the Health Advanced Research Programs Agency, which would do the same thing for health as DARPA (just substitute “Defense” for “Health”) does for defense.

That is to test and develop ideas that seem like long shots.

President Trump has decided HARPA should consider developing devices that the dangerously mentally ill could wear that would set off an alarm when the mentally ill person might be on the verge of violence.

This idea, straight out of a science fiction movie called “Minority Report,” would be Trump’s solution to a problem he has declared by fiat. Mental health treatment is faulty, therefore we have mass shootings.

The president’s seeming concern for mental health, I think, hides his pandering to the paranoia of the National Rifle Association, whose possibly corrupt leadership has members believing that the government is going to swoop down and take away their AK-47s.

The members, of course, need these AK- 47s to fend off human-wave attacks by gangster immigrants and win arguments, however pointless or trivial, by standing their ground.

Mental health professionals are already raising objections.

They ask how often will authorities descend on a mentally ill person based on a false positive reading on the monitor? They wonder about the civil rights considerations involving forcing people who have not committed crimes to wear tracking devices.

Because Trump and his supporters are showing increasing contempt for democratic institutions while they gain power, my concerns focus on who is going to define mental illness and on what grounds?

Will the dangerously mentally ill include those crazies who believe that data supports the theory of global warming?

Will the mentally ill include those who have a clinical compulsion to question whether we should dole out military weapons willy nilly to untrained civilians?

Ultimately, and the president’s recent conduct raises this question, will the mentally ill include those who question Donald Trump in any way?

My Trump-ite brothers would tell me I’m overreacting. I hope they’re right.

As I watch the president lose his grasp of reality while the power of his base increases, however, I wonder how far it will go.

Our sanity as well as our democracy might be hanging in the balance.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a semi-retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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