There is a word that some have doggedly dismissed that the news of last Tuesday – July 11 – demands not be ignored.

It starts with a “c” and ends with “–ollusion.”

On July 11, we learned that Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the president of the United States, had emails that cracked open the Trump campaign’s walnut of willful deceit concerning its potential collusion with Russians to harm the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

(One must consider, at this point, whether the word “potential” is any longer necessary in the preceding sentence.)

In fact, Trump Jr. himself produced the damning emails!

When he joyfully (“I love it,” the president’s namesake son said in one of the emails he made public) accepted a meeting with a Russian attorney who claimed to have information that would likely damage his father’s Democratic opponent, Trump Jr. was, at the very least, guilty of, in a manner of speaking, sleeping with the enemy. Call it what you will – collusion, cooperation, collaboration, naïveté, treason or by some wholly different name – but Trump Jr.’s action in that acceptance ran counter to some 240 years of principled democracy in our great republic.

His action was unprecedented, if not unlawful. And though Trump Jr. contends the meeting turned out to be about adoptions Russia’s end to American adoptions of Russian children in response to sanctions levied against the Putin regime and, he said, was a waste of 20 minutes (after all, discussions of adoption are wasteful, right? But destruction of a political opponent? Now, that’s a big deal!), he clearly accepted the meeting expecting far more.

What must Vladimir Putin, a man who doesn’t think twice about ridding himself of whatever opposition within his own country rankles him before snuffing life from them, be thinking?

He’s likely enjoying a potato soda and a constant stream of hearty laughter thinking, “We are destroying them from within.” What’s more, they’re doing it without any real effort.

It’s all Trump and his gene-pool-centric “gang that couldn’t shoot straight,” as the late great Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jimmy Breslin referred to schizophrenic New York hoodlum Joseph Gallo’s crew. In fact, there have been schizophrenic episodes in Trump’s seven-month presidency, too, where he says one thing and then tweets something totally counter from his easy chair and cell phone.

Frankly, I am more worried about my beloved country than ever. Trump Jr.’s emails are the latest in a string of disturbing developments from this administration, though many of the president’s own tweets and actions have been equally so.

But, for me, it’s not that Hillary or Bernie Sanders lost the election to the New York megalomaniac that is the root of my worry.

It’s the large chunks of our population who have fallen in lockstep with this president, believing his side of every story despite his history of lies and half-truths, supporting him in every loony legislative logarithm he posits (read: TrumpCare, which has apparently died another agonizing death) regardless of how ridiculous, heartless and/or self-serving whatever the man says or does may be.

A convenient and disheartening close-to-home example is Alabama’s own junior Sen. Luther Strange, who recently told a Montgomery candidate forum, “President Trump is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country. I consider it a biblical miracle that he’s there.”

Strange read a different Bible than the one from which I was taught as a child. In mine, no philandering, lying, vain individual would ever have been called a “miracle,” much less a “biblical” one.

But Strange’s strange comment serves him politically. Unfortunately, Alabama politics seems to have devolved into a contest to see which candidate can out-Trump the other, the latest in a frightening accumulation of evidence that we need a new Age of Enlightenment in this country to illumine both our hearts and our minds.

And, now more than ever, we need an unfettered free press to point us in the direction of the truth, despite whatever attempts at distraction and denigration Trump, Trump Jr. and their minions may concoct.