If Trump Were an Airline Pilot

If Trump Were an Airline Pilot September 11, 2019

Back in 2016, the Right Wing Lie Machine published a famous essay ginning up hysteria among the suckers who have been trained by years and years of Right Wing Lie Machine Panics du Jour to fly into a terror about everything the Lie Machine commands them to fear and lose their sanity about. (Who can forget the Tan Suit Panic du Jour, the Latte Salute Panic du Jour,

or the Paper Clip Panic du Jour?). Indeed, here are a mere 15 more of the countless Panics du Jour to which the Right Wing Noise Machine trained the brainwashing victims in the FOX audience to Pavlovianly respond.

With an audience as mindlessly brainwashed as that, it was child’s play for the Lie Machine to stir up the suckers with the spectre of The Flight 93 Election and play upon all the nativist fears of Trump’s racist base with visions of Brown People Coming to Kill Us All.

But 2 1/2 years into this unstable imbecile’s catastrophic rule, the wheels are coming off and James Fallows returns to precisely the image deployed by the Lie Machine to asks sane people what they would do if a person like Trump were, in fact, an airline pilot:

ut now we’ve had something we didn’t see so clearly during the campaign. These are episodes of what would be called outright lunacy, if they occurred in any other setting: An actually consequential rift with a small but important NATO ally, arising from the idea that the U.S. would “buy Greenland.” Trump’s self-description as “the Chosen One,” and his embrace of a supporter’s description of him as the “second coming of God” and the “King of Israel.” His logorrhea, drift, and fantastical claims in public rallies, and his flashes of belligerence at the slightest challenge in question sessions on the White House lawn. His utter lack of affect or empathy when personally meeting the most recent shooting victims, in Dayton and El Paso. His reduction of any event, whatsoever, into what people are saying about him.

Obviously I have no standing to say what medical pattern we are seeing, and where exactly it might lead. But just from life I know this:

  • If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being “the Chosen One” or “the King of Israel” (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
  • If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
  • If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. (See: Uber, management history of.)
  • If a university, museum, or other public institution had a leader who routinely insulted large parts of its constituency—racial or religious minorities, immigrants or international allies, women—the board would be starting to act.
  • If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in “Chosen One” terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine. (See: The Queeg saga in The Caine Mutiny, which would make ideal late-summer reading or viewing for members of the White House staff.)

Yet now such a  person is in charge not of one nuclear-missile submarine but all of them—and the bombers and ICBMs, and diplomatic military agreements, and the countless other ramifications of executive power.

If Donald Trump were in virtually any other position of responsibility, action would already be under way to remove him from that role.

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