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THE MAN IN THE HIGHTOWER: Here's a Thought with Charles Shaughnessy

So, the American people have signaled a disenchantment with their form of government. The checks and balances that prevent one political ideology from overwhelming democracy and imposing it’s will on the  minority of Americans who did not vote for it, have been “weaponized” by Republicans, in recent years, to threaten the country with paralysis if not given their way. McConnell et al’s promise to thwart every proposal emanating from Obama’s desk in order to “forbid him a successful administration” EVEN if they saw benefit for the country as a whole, has de-legitimized this essential “brake” on executive power to the point that the voter simply rejected it. Trump’s campaign promise that “he alone can fix it,” was given short shrift by politicians and media alike, but was, in fact, THE fundamental promise of his entire campaign.

We already see the marginalizing of congressional Republicans. By choosing New York as his centre of power, Trump is doing more than declining to live in a drafty old museum, preferring to hold sway literally and figuratively over his people from an aerie high above the ground and emblazoned with his name. He and his “gang of three” are hard at work outlining exactly how they can transition, not from one administration to another, but from Democracy to a benign dictatorship with minimal fuss, opposition or blood. By wielding his executive orders and power of veto as a kind of “green light/ red light” Trump will shape all legislation to his liking. His geographical distance from The Hill will give him a detached authority, his Will communicated by henchmen and lackeys to the hobbled legislative. If any lawmaker dare stand up to him, he will be buried in a twitter-storm of abuse, innuendo and threat that will be supported by a state-run media campaign to end his or her career. The adoring mob will be his ultimate power base and woe betide any one who gets in their way. Fully politicized arms of government like the FBI, DoJ, IRS and Homeland Security will carry out Trump’s orders without question: patronage will have supplanted patriotism. Modeled closely on Putin’s Russia, it will be a government of one man, with power flowing directly from him through trusted oligarchs, who offer total loyalty in return for massive wealth and influence over all areas of state business. 

He will kick off his reign with a classic, soviet-style show-trial featuring Hillary in the dock. It will provide some red meat to his base of support while sending a chilling message to any would be opponents. Internment camps, set up to house millions of muslims will be expanded to accommodate other “enemies of the State.” With the flurry of law suits, criminal charges, intimidation and arrest of hundreds of journalists, the “free press” will have been driven underground, a whisper of protest in the echo chamber of subversive sentiment. “Truth” and real news will be controlled entirely by the Department of Media under Steve Bannon, who will continue to reflect a “through the looking glass” version of reality to the masses.  Both the country’s and individuals’ wealth will have been transferred to the state where it will be used to keep the mob fed and entertained through relentless Reality shows, low-brow culture and public executions. Future transfers of power will follow a dynastic tradition with the Trump family spawning generations of future leaders.

For anyone seeing this as pure fantasy and wild speculation…you obviously have not been paying attention. All of this is being spoken of in less and less oblique terms. Just today his surrogates were citing Japanese internment in the last war as legal precedent for what they are proposing with regards to muslims. Trump’s “take no prisoners” style has been in evidence already with a number of “out-of-favor” political careers jettisoned out of the penthouse windows of Trump Tower. The worst part of all this is that it wasn’t a coup. Trump did not seize power. America handed it to him. In an election that reached a dizzying zenith of manipulation, hate-mongering, distortion and outright lies, all allowed to go relatively un-checked by a lazy, cowed or incompetent news- media, the American voter in certain key states, handed Donald Trump the keys to his kingdom. For the first time in centuries we Americans had better all get used to bending a knee.

These are my thoughts, please share your thoughts in the comments section.


  1. I believe he is a good person because the country is in a big mess we need all the help we can get but who am I to say think I did the right thing but you're a smart man charlie and knowledge is well respected from me you teach to learn thanks again my friend

  2. Charles,
    I must say that I openly agree with the argument that you have presented. A man with a large ego and even larger pockets will soon be running our great nation. I think it's vital that we keep in mind what America is and what it stands for. There's something to be said about "Liberty and justice for all." I can not imagine the indignities that people and our country will suffer at his hands. Many people thought Hitler was brilliant, and supported his Antisemetic beliefs. It's my fear that we will fall victim to someone who is much the same.

  3. Even though you're a citizen, I would imagine that as a member of nobility, you're permitted to go home again and be considered one of Her Majesty's subjects. Sadly, I think I will envy you that freedom in the coming days...

  4. I agree with you. I still can't believe that my fellow Americans voted this mess in. It does not send a good message to the world. All President Obama was trying to do was get us all to work together for all our greater good. We were held hostage by a Republican congress. Feel sorry that people don't see how it is going to be now.

  5. Charles,
    I don't have a clue as to what the remedy is, but we have 60+ days to anull this unholy marriage. To future readers of this, we MUST resist however we can...

  6. Very well said! It is terrifying, and yet we are heading to the world you describe very quickly!
    Apart from the loss of my parents and brother, this loss has been the most devastating thing that has happened to me! I was crushed and so very sad. I cried often, and got an inkling of what it must be like to suffer from depression. And no! It was not because the Republicans won! I have lived through Republican wins many times, and though disappointing, it was not devastating! This was devastating because this particular person, who lied and bullied his way through a campaign that was degrading to all of us, had won, despite losing the popular vote. This power hungry, autocrat is now going to be the leader of the our great country. This person, who wants to take away so many of the freedoms we have fought so hard for; who wants to ban Muslims for no other reason except their religion; who wants to build a wall; who treats women as sexual objects; who listens to and trusts a white supremacist, anti-Jewish advisor; this person will be the President! It is unfathomable to me how people could have voted for him. There is not one argument I have heard that can convince me that this person was the better choice! Things are going to get shaken up for sure, to the detriment of his supporters! He will help first, himself and his family, second, his business and third, the wealthy Americans.
    This election has changed the world we live in forever. We are in for so many changes, and none of them will be for the better. If you doubt this, just look at the people he surrounds himself with! It is frightening!
    There are so many things wrong with his Presidency, before he even gets sworn in! One of the biggest problems is his business holdings. There are so many conflicts of interest, but nothing can or will be done. He will be in charge of our country while doing everything in his power to help his businesses. And that is only one of the major issues! For the past 50 years, our Presidents have all done what they were supposed to do before being sworn in, voluntarily! Because of that, there are no specific laws as to what the President elect is supposed to do or how they are supposed to act. There was no need for one, until now! Therefore, the present President elect, can pretty much do what he wants to!!
    I hope, with every fiber of my being, that we will be proved wrong, but I don't think that will happen! The sadness here in California is palpable! A friend, who volunteered with me during the campaign, was also heartbroken after the results and made a comment that she wished she could hibernate for the next four years! One of my girls is seriously thinking of moving to Europe for awhile! But we are needed here! We have to do what we can to protect what we have. But we are stronger together!

  7. One thing I forgot to mention, the freedom of the press! We might not always like it and the media can irritate us beyond belief, but how terrible it would be if we didn't have it! And right now, that freedom is in danger! One of the many!

  8. Like so many others, I was baffled by the fact that Trump is our president-elect. I still am, though I am trying to understand more of the reasons why he garnered as many votes as he did, no matter how difficult it is for me to do so. I'm no expert, and I don't pretend to have all the answers as to how we have ended up where we are. I also cannot predict the future, though I see many disturbing parts of it written in history books, based entirely on the platforms on which he ran his campaign, and based on the direction he seems to be pointing his cabinet. It not only makes me nervous, it makes me fear for whatever the future could hold for this country. I find myself caught between the people I love who I know to be very loving and accepting people, far from the hateful, bigoted profile promoted within his entire campaign, but who are pleased because their side won, and the other people I love who are legitimately scared because of the direction the country appears to be headed. I find myself trying to understand how those good people could be pleased just because the one who wore the label of their political party won, despite everything his policies promote. On the other side, I find myself facing others whom I love and for whom I care deeply, who are caught in a seemingly endless mire of dread and despair because of their fear for what they see coming down the line. For them, my heart aches as I feel the fear and pain emanating from everything they do. They, too, are good, loving people who only want to see the country move forward, rather than backward. I find myself fighting many of those same fears and worries. I find myself praying fervently that, somehow beyond my own current vision and understanding, Trump proves me, and so many others, wrong. However, I cannot allow myself to fall into the despair and depression so easily rampant right now. Many of my students are scared, just the same as so many adults. For them, I am strong. The light I force myself to see is that within my own community, that found within the good people around me, who, regardless of political affiliation, religion or nationality are willing to work to strengthen the community. I will work to make the world immediately around me better, no matter much I fear for what could happen as a nation. I will work to make my students feel safe, and to combat the fears and hatred they may face every day because of the direction this country appears to be heading. If I don't do so, I could easily find myself pulled into fear and sucked into a negative and bleak outlook with little light and no apparent end. I can't let that happen. Too many of my students need me to be a positive adult influence in their lives.

  9. It's no secret that I voted for Gary Johnson(which apparently puts me right below child molesters on the Liberal Sh*t List, though there does seem to be some acceptance of the fact that 3rd party voters would NEVER have voted for Hillary so we didn't steal it from her). I would never have voted for Trump either. But, we are stuck with him. I am furious with him for bringing Steve Bannon into this. Great way to show people who worry that you are a racist, by bringing one into the fold, Donald. I hope that the public outrage will work like it did for Van Jones in 2008. That said, the other names that are being floated out are NOT racists. There are women, people of color, gay men,those who strongly criticized Trump. That tells me Bannon is not running the show. We need to see how this all pans out.
    Perhaps this is a silver lining, the American people have become complacent(and trust the news they can find that verifies what they already believe, without doing research), and have long stopped holding their politicians accountable. That has lead to a big cess-pool of corruption and lies in Washington, and Trump was basically a giant middle finger. Hillary had to overcome her own baggage plus the anger at the Washington Establishment. The Clintons are the poster children for that.
    Trump voters are not evil people who are every -ist and -phobe. Of course, the alt-right fringe is, but they are small in number. Every single Trump voter I know doesn't like him, but they had to choose the lesser of 2 evils, and they see politicians as evil. I know Hillary voters who did so because they chose the lesser of 2 evils.I know Stein voters who were holding their nose and voting for Hillary, UNTIL they found out that the primary was rigged against Bernie and that Hillary had been given debate questions. The DNC has lost two chairs over all of this.
    Before I end this novella...the Electoral College. Getting almost 5 million votes from California and New York does not equal "winning the popular vote by 1 million votes". NYC and CA do not get to force their will on the rest of us. They HAVE their democracies in local, city, state, and Congressional elections. Donning my flame-proof suit as we speak LOL

    1. I respect that. I voted against the Clinton's.

    2. Steve Bannon, claims to be a Leninist and wants to destroy the establishment, that is a whole lot scarier than being a racist.

      Rudy Giuliani, who has publicly stated that there wasn't any terrorist attacks under Bush.

      David Clarke who has had 2 people die in his jail--a mentally ill person and an infant.

      And that is just a few, several of his rich buddies have made his short-list and all have companies that will benefit as much as Halliburton did under the Bush administration.

  10. Hillary wasn't a choice, look her up, the baggage is too much. People that deny what she's done either ignore it or accept it. If you read up on her in other than leftist media, you are simply without information. George Soros is a backer and relative of her son inlaw, therein more bankster relation and fraud scheme. Truth.

  11. If you don't like it then leave the country, you Hollywood people are so bitter

  12. I'm not sure where to begin to respond to this argument, except to say that checks and balances refer to one branch of the government not being dominant over the other two, not one political party being dominant (if that was the case, we didn't have checks and balances when Obama was elected president in 2008 and the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, so what we will have is nothing new). We have already seen checks and balances affected by executive orders issued by the president that have the effect of legislation, even if the legislation was not passed by Congress (as required by the Constitution). Anything Trump does as president will build upon this aspect of Obama's legacy, not destroy it, even if some of Trump's executive orders replace those issued by Obama.

    One final thought for now, as it's going to take time for me to digest fully the argument made in this blog: A little more than twenty years ago, on an episode of "The Nanny" Maxwell Sheffield (who probably would have voted for Trump as a good Republican) met Donald Trump. I wonder who thought at the time that twenty years later, a guest on "The Nanny" would be elected president.

  13. We should all hope for better than status quo in past decade. Warmongers are taking in profits. Hilary was part of it.

  14. I can't necessarily agree with you I voted for the lesser of the two terrible candidates, I'm supporting Trump as the president elect. Time will be the judge, I don't think this will play out as as desperate as you would appear to state. Checks & Balances are in place in this constitutional republic, that have keep the will of just one man from being carried out. They still work perfectly well. I still really love you as a individual and actor.

  15. Hello :) Back in 09 I used to join in your conversations with a conservative voice. So much has happened since then that there is no way I can support this current conservative agenda. I just have a hard time supporting a side that complained about the privatization of the internet but completely support the privatization of Medicare, Social Security, and the Veterans Administration. Or the side that supports abolishing minimum wage and overtime pay. There is no balance when the government leans completely one way--a conservative Congress, a conservative President and both appointing a conservative Supreme Court with today's extreme rhetoric is scary as hell.

  16. As a Republican, I'm honestly pretty upset that Trump will be our President. I've been watching the news WAY more than I probably should during this election, and I don't understand how a bully could be President. I am a woman and have a mental disability (Asperger's Syndrome), and I did NOT feel that Trump earned my vote AT ALL. I knew it when he mocked a disabled reporter on TV, and when the indescribable things he has said about women, and what he did to women. He was not my choice. That's why, as a Republican woman, I casted my vote for Hillary Clinton, and I'm still very proud to have done so. Now that this is, sadly, a reality, I lie in bed every night wondering whether I keep my rights as a disabled woman, as well as the rights and safety of every one of my disabled Americans and the many women in this country. As well as the Press and Media, whose job is to keep us all informed and up to date with news stories and current events so we know what's going on. I have been through the ridicule and bullying from strangers so much as a child, and I REFUSE to go through it again. Reason why I said that is because at the moment Trump mocked that disabled reporter, his supporters were laughing, and they began to mock the reporter too. Trump is not what I want for this country, and, by the looks of it, so many people didn't either. I'm going to keep fighting for my rights, as well as many rights that are possibly at stake over the next four years, and, as I always have and will, I choose love instead of hatred.

    1. Taylor, you are definitely not alone in a worry that your rights will be at stake, or that Trump does not seem to want what's best for the country, especially if it makes him look bad. While I'm definitely not a Republican, I echo your concerns about the freedom of the press and the media. Since the election, the news has been like watching a slow train wreck: as much as you want to not watch, it's extremely difficult to pull your eyes away. The most important thing we can do right now is to recognize the importance of striving to keep him from tweeting away the freedom of the press and the fundamental right that we have as citizens to disagree with him. I may not have voted for him, but I respect the position of the President the same now as I always have. But we must also, as the American people, insist on holding him to the same standard as we have for every other president. As much as everything we have seen both during the election as well as since has been riddled with bullying, fear-mongering and hatred, we don't have to sit quietly and take it. We can subscribe to and support legitimate and relatively non-partisan news sources that are designed to keep the government in check by keeping us informed of everything they are doing. We CAN choose love over hate. We can look around our own communities and find ways to build bridges that any bully tries to tear down. Especially since his bullying behavior is so easily echoed and mimicked by his supporters. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that THAT kind of behavior is not normal, no matter how much it will start to feel that way as he tweets from the helm and tries to silence any who disagree with him or show any signs of dissent. Especially as he learns he will not always get his way and that things in our government are designed to take time and not be instantaneous, we have to remember that the temper tantrums and rants are not the way that most people behave when things don't go exactly according to plan. Just know that you are NOT alone in your concerns and that you will also NOT be alone in the desire and striving to maintain the liberties that have acted as a hallmark of the American Constitution. As you said, we must choose love rather than hatred, for unyielding love, respect and kindness are the antitheses of bullying, hatred and disrespect.


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