In this first quarter of the 21st Century, family’s in America are dealing ever more frequently with the impact of longevity and all too often with the companion devastation and tragedy of aging of the body and mind of its senior members. In public, we all celebrate an aging society where seniors enjoy years of retirement and good health, undergirded by strong retirement savings and improved health outcomes.
But behind all that, behind the curtains of more and more families, are legions of wives, husbands and children devastated by the impact of aging on one or more of their senior family members. Scratch almost any family in America and you will hear stories of overwhelming sadness, caused by the wounded mind and body of a senior family member. People are living longer, but for many, their minds are not and it is one of the great tragedies of our time. Medical science has not, sadly, been successful in identifying cures for senility writ large, and even more for the deadly Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
For most, dealing with dementia is a family affair, and it is hard and heart wrenching. Friends, neighbors, and others are sympathetic but keep a distance. This reality is uniquely personal. Donald Trump joins millions of Americans suffering from the early to middle stage ravages of senility. He’s just doing it all, much I am sure to his family’s chagrin, in public for all to see. It is sad and embarrassing for him and for them.
The press and everyone else in America are trying to evaluate all that they see in terms of criteria that have nothing to do whatsoever with aging. His Republican colleagues are as blind to all of this as are those on the other side, primarily because no president (with the exception of Ronald Reagan) has ever been in this condition while holding office. But, certainly, if you look at President Trump’s language and reasoning skills in the last year and a half since he became President, the decline, the loss of mastery, is dramatic, poignant, and sad. This is a man in his 70s, like so many others in America, who is failing, indeed failing fast and hard.
We need to recognize what is at issue here. We really shouldn’t be relying on a Special Prosecutor, or a bunch of fools in Congress to address the dangers faced by America as a result of Trump’s illness. What we need to expect, demand and see that it happens is that his family rises to the occasion, however hard it may be, and takes the man home. If they do not already have it, they need to obtain powers of attorney, resign on his behalf, and return to New York.
Along with age, the huge stress and pressure of the job have done their work. We do not need more anonymous OpEd’s and tell-all books. What we need, urgently, is for the Trump family to assert power of attorney and take Donald home.