We're hearing a lot these days about "existential crisis." That should be "crises" because there are more than one. The two most directly affecting us in America are the chaotic constitutional crisis caused by a president who would be king, and the climatic changes that threaten our planet. They are interlinked because Trump and the deniers are blind to the causes of climate change and ignorant of its life-killing effects.

Taking the first crisis, Trump is acting like the CEO and Chairman of the Board of America, trying to expand the powers of the presidency beyond the limits of the Constitution, and behaving like a petulant child when thwarted. He uses tweets like weapons, denigrating his opponents and lying profusely to attempt to justify his bad decisions and malicious behavior. Have a look at the internet sites for Trump quotes and note the unbounded ego, contempt for women and ludicrous hyperbole.

One of his gross exaggerations is his claim that he is "the most transparent president" in history. In truth, he has refused to release his tax returns, contrary to presidential practice for decades; stonewalled his aides from testifying to the House committees investigating his presidency; complained about the customary practice of closed-door hearings (Republican representatives were present and full transcripts made public); and then declared that open hearings should not be held because it's all a (favorite words) "witch hunt." He claims the "transcript" of his conversation with the Ukrainian president exonerates him, but that "transcript" is full of ellipses omissions and questionable because of its source. Non-partisan career diplomats, appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents, have confirmed Trump's attempted deal to exchange military aid and a White House visit for a shot at Joe Biden.

Our Constitution is in jeopardy. The Supreme Court may be the final arbiter of some issues stemming from Trump's administration; but the Senate, as the decider of impeachment, is controlled by Republicans who thus far have shown no sign of spine in confronting their wayward leader, will in all probability continue to fawn at Trump's feet and clear him.

DICK BAUMAN

BLACKSBURG

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