No, Donald Trump probably never actually said that, but he might as well have. His tenure in office has been mostly self-serving. At the expense of career public servants. At the expense of American farmers. At the expense of an American ally, the Kurds. At the expense of national security, siphoning off Defense Department funding to fulfill a campaign promise, to build the Wall. At the expense of stability in the Middle East, with the cancellation of the Iran nuclear agreement. At the expense of trust and respect in America, among our allies as well as our adversaries in the world. And recently, Trump is trying to corrupt the Justice Department to exonerate a veteran political ally and friend, Roger Stone. All this and more, just to promote his own personal and political agendas.
Trumpism is alive and well because his supporters live in an alternate universe in which black is white, night is day and 2 + 2 = 10. To Trump’s base, fiction is truth, facts imply ‘treason,’ conservative partisanship is somehow justified, morality is a dirty word and logic is a hopeless pipe dream. This is the diabolical state of mind of roughly forty percent of the American electorate. They are stubborn in their views and positions, and laugh at any rebuke or argument.
So what is America these days? Is it still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Can the world still send us their tired, their poor, their huddled masses, yearning to be free?
Or is America, thanks to Trump, now totally self-serving and locked into Trumpism? Is she immune and apathetic toward justice, real freedom, and the rights of everyone, not just one’s partisan clique?
People that are weak-minded and ill-informed (i.e., Fox news, et al), desperate to be proved absolutely right in their beliefs, are vulnerable to the lies and rhetoric of demagogues, like Trump. He has been using their ideological sentiments and emotions to gain and maintain his political power. He just goes along with their state of mind and attaches his own agenda to that state of mind. He feeds their emotions, and they give him the country.
Trump’s base seems oblivious to the dangers of authoritarianism. Millions of Americans have fought and died in efforts to contain and defeat dictatorships. Will his supporters actually hand their freedom, and that of the rest of America, over to a man like Trump? Do they know the meaning of a big word like Tyranny? Or are they content to exist in their intellectual coma, and pretend God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world? I mean, give me a break!
And the Republicans in Congress, voting on Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. Except for one brave and honorable Senator Mitt Romney, those cowardly politicians were absent from the battlefield of American politics. In total retreat. After all, it’s only our county’s democracy and rule of law, right?
Tyranny should not take root in any country, certainly not the United States of America. But it might.