If only President Donald Trump were removed from office, would America get back to normal?
You might want to think on it, now that the president is home from his impressive foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe, and is beginning to lop off political heads in his troubled and leaky White House.
The Democrats and Beltway media elites are back at it, driven to skin Trump alive, either through impeachment or just to hold the flayed man aloft as their sigil for the 2018 elections.
And the Republican establishment, which loathes him, eggs them on, hoping to be rid of their mad, accursed priest.
But if their dreams ever came true and Trump were to be removed, either by impeachment or through the invocation of the 25th Amendment (a rhetorical fantasy of Republican #NeverTrumpers), would things slowly get back normal?
No. Things would get worse.
Trump, the vulgar showman, is perhaps the most (publicly) unsuitable personality to inhabit the White House in the modern era. Perhaps the only personality who would be even less suitable is Hillary Rodham Clinton and her basket of deplorables.
But Trump is president now. Yes, he's been caught in repeated lies. And yes, he exudes chaos, not stability, playing the Oval Office with his ridiculous Twitter account like some teenage drama queen.
As a recent Harvard University study shows, the news media have hosed him in 80 percent negative coverage in his first 100 days. Some of this, of course, is due to his own making.
But much of that occurs because the Washington establishment loathes him and never thought it possible that Trump would win election.
They're still bitterly angry that their wisdom was spat upon by the voters. And they refuse to come to grips with their own blindness.
As much as America's media, political and economic elite insist we have a Trump problem, they're mistaken. Theirs is a three-card monte diversion, a hide-the-pea game, with fast talking and sleight of hand.
Because if you step back from the carnival drama — away from the mark trying to follow the cards and the slickster chatting while hiding the pea under the shell — you might achieve some perspective.
And you might see something moving along the edges of it all, something darker and menacing to the republic:
It is the profound failure of the elites, scurrying to cover themselves.
You might almost say we are two countries now joined only by loathing and mistrust, a nation of coastal media/political elites marked in blue, and a nation of red states in the middle.
True, Clinton received about 3 million more votes than Trump. But almost 63 million people voted for the president. And forcing them to their knees in capitulation is not a prescription for unification but a prospect for disaster.
Trump voters didn't create the divided nation. The elites divided it over time, through economic dislocation and abandonment of the working class, and a mad push for endless wars in which soldiers returned to find no jobs or economic future.
Now America is reaping what the elites have sown.
Months and months before the presidential election, I began thinking of Trump not as a cause of American disruption but a symptom of it. And as much as I don't like quoting myself, here is something from March 2016:
"It's obvious the American political system is breaking down. It's been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they're properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect."
The establishment pushed the wars and free trade and their partners in the corporate-government matrix agreed to the sending off of capital (and jobs) to foreign lands.
For all the talk of partisanship, Democrats and Republicans were the two horns on the head of the goat.
And Trump voters? They were forgotten, left behind, mocked as deplorable.
Would Trump the barbarian have been elected president of the United States even 10 or 20 years ago?
No. He seems determined to prove he is socially unfit for the office. His rude personal style ruffles the feathers of many who see him as a pretender or a huckster. But he's not dumb.
And neither are the almost 63 million people who voted for him. They've long been dismissed as stupid or unlettered or unsophisticated. They'd been written off as pathologically angry by the media that cleave to the establishment and see distrust in government as some kind of mental disorder.
I grew up with these people. They don't deserve the shaming that comes their way.
They were betrayed. And all they want, really, is meaningful work and to not be told they're idiotic or hateful simply because they dare support traditional values, and that a nation should shape its culture by controlling its own borders.
They knew Trump was loud, they knew he was vulgar, they knew he was trouble. And they voted for him because they wanted him to make trouble.
They wanted him to punch the Washington elites in the mouth, to kick them and stomp on them as they had been kicked and stomped on. They detest the ruling elites in the modern Versailles so much that they installed a character like Trump.
Fixating on Trump doesn't really address this.
And you might want to ask yourselves, what happens 10 years from now, with the next Trump, from the right or from the left?
Because things aren't going back to normal, are they?
John Kass has covered a variety of topics since arriving at the Chicago Tribune in 1983. Kass has received several awards for commentary and journalism, from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Press Club of Atlantic City, the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist. In 1992, Kass won the Chicago Tribune's Beck Award for writing. to readmore of his reports, Click Here Now.