Author’s Note: I have no special expertise or training in health services or in administration of justice. The reader should therefore take a page from Mr. Trump’s book and treat all statements here as if they were “suggestions.”
Background: In 1954, Herman Wouk published a book entitled The Caine Mutiny. It told a story of a WW II destroyer-minesweeper. It was fiction, but several incidents reported in the novel were based on real life war experiences of the author.
The first part of the book recounts the events leading up to the executive officer relieving the captain of his duties on the basis of “mental inability to command a ship.”
The second part of the book describes the court-martial of the executive officer, who is charged with mutiny. The captain testifies at the court-martial and accounts for himself quite well until the defense counsel starts bombarding him with questions challenging his behavior. This eventually unsettles the captain to the point where he rants about his officers and men, including how they were plotting against him. This rant convinces the judges that the executive officer was justified in relieving the captain of command.
This is an interesting book. If you haven’t read it, I suggest that you do so. There was also a film and a Broadway play based on the book, particularly the court-martial.
Currently: We are in an election cycle where one of the candidates is exhibiting significant emotional instability. There are accusations that those who are perceived as foes have lied, betrayed, and otherwise harmed their country, fellow citizens, and (apparently most importantly) the candidate himself. This candidate seems to have difficulty staying on topic, makes bizarre accusations, and sometimes seems to attack others randomly.
Unlike the executive officer in Wouk’s novel, there does not seem to be any way in our situation to relieve this candidate of command (other than by his own resignation which seems unlikely). But it does suggest that there might be a way to contest his legitimacy. That is by continuously throwing his aberrant behavior back at him without giving him time to recover before the next challenge is made. Extrapolating from previous behavior, this will drive that candidate further into public exposure of his mental instability and make it clear to all that he his unfit for the office for which he is running.
Perhaps this is what his opponents are doing already. Certainly there was no threat in a Gold Star parent suggesting that this candidate could benefit from reading the US Constitution. But the candidate reacted violently out of all proportion to the situation. As mentioned above, I do not claim to have special expertise in health services, but from what little I know, this shows all the signs of delusional paranoia. (Previous statements by the candidate would also seem to show a strong paranoia.)
There has been some speculation that the candidate is plowing the path to challenging the outcome of the November election by claiming the election is/will be “rigged.” It is no surprise that this comes at a time when the candidate’s poll numbers are dropping, largely due to his own poor campaigning.
There is concern, however, that some of his supporters are sufficiently avid to provide a violent protest if the candidate is defeated in the election. It seems to me that the best way to blunt some of the violent protest would be to put the candidate in the position of himself exposing his ineptness for the office of president. In any case, I am not proposing that this candidate’s opponent be supported. But I feel it is important that the instability of this candidate be exposed, preferably by himself if possible.
Afterword: In the novel, defense counsel suggested to the executive officer after the verdict that if he and his men had supported the captain, it might have alleviated the fear stimulating the captain’s instability. It might not then have been necessary to relieve the captain of command. In the case of the candidate in front of us now, I will leave it to each of us to decide whether it would be in the best interest of the country to support this candidate and hope his fears are eased, or whether he should be driven to emotional instability extremes to preserve our nation.
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