Originally published February 24, 2017 on The Huffington Post
Years ago, Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept of The Tipping Point. This occurs when a system suddenly moves into a dramatically different state. I believe we are confronting a far worse condition, The Ripping Point. We are in a very real danger of ripping apart as a nation. Worst yet, I don’t see any way out.
Differences are the essence of democracy. But some are injurious to its very existence and foundation. Take the issues of a free press and an independent judiciary.
To my knowledge, Trump is the only President who has called the press “The Enemy of the People.” In defending him, Republicans are at best disingenuous. At worst, along with Trump, they are suffering from a collective thought disorder: the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, indeed to make up whatever reality suits them. When they try to excuse his odious remarks by saying that all Presidents have criticized the press for being overly critical of them, they not only distort the truth, but reality itself. It’s one thing to be critical of the press, which at some point all Presidents have been, but quite another to delegitimize it as an institution, which Trump has done repeatedly.
The same goes for the judiciary. One is always entitled to be critical of a court’s decisions, but not to defame individual judges or the entire judicial system.
The tearing down of the basic institutions of democracy begins with the corruption of thought itself.