Donald Trump, His Administration, And His followers Are Going To Continue Hurting People
As a boy, I discovered the holocaust by accident. I was at a library and, like many boys, I was drawn to the books about war. The books with photos were of particular interest and while thumbing through one about World War II, I stumbled on a photo of a pile of bodies at a German concentration camp. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And when I read the caption, I could not believe what I read - I could not believe that human beings could do such horrible things to other human beings.
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve come to know that though the Holocaust was uniquely horrendous, in both its planning and in its application, it was far from unique in being an example of what human beings are capable of doing to each other.
Human beings have the capacity to be the most brutal of animals. All throughout history and around the world today, one can point to events that confirm this fact. But human beings also have the capacity for great empathy and compassion. And two of the primary things that separate the brutal beast in us from our capacity for empathy and compassion are the conditions within which we live and the social contracts and structures that monitor and manage those conditions.
When our social contracts and structures are based on empathy, compassion, and concern for the general welfare of the people and the environments within which they live, the beast in people is calmed and the best in people is allowed to come forth and thrive. But when those contracts and structures are corrupted, compromised, and unstable, and division, fear, suspicion, and mistrust are allowed to grow, the brutal beast in people begins to come forth, and the potential for a holocaust is increased.
Leadership is a key factor in whether the beast or the best is made manifest in the social relations of the human animal. When leaders exhibit wisdom, intelligence, and effectiveness, and project a calming, reassuring, and unifying aura, the beast in people remains dormant and the best in people is allowed to awaken to meet life’s challenges and flourish. But when leaders behave foolishly, lack intelligence, are mendacious, and project a disturbing, doubtful, and divisive aura, the best in people is discarded and the beast begins to awaken. When this happens, meanness, cruelty, and violence start to increase, and the potential for some form of holocaust becomes more evident.
In properly functioning democracies, the optimum conditions for bringing out the best in people ideally exist. But, by their very nature, democracies are also vulnerable to conditions that can lead to the worst in people being drawn out. The very fact that in a democracy people are allowed to pick their leaders, leaves a democracy open to the people voting for leaders who ultimately may not act in their best interests, or the best interests of the majority of the people, or even in the best interests of democracy itself. This can lead to the potential dissolution of democracy and its replacement by some form of totalitarianism, with the potential for perpetrating some form of a holocaust.
We are now living in a time where the negative conditions of which I write appear to be upon us. And those conditions have allowed an angry minority of the American electorate to place in the White House an apparent demagogue and narcissist, who is foolish, unintelligent, and mendacious and projects a disturbing, doubtful and divisive aura. And what is worse, and most disturbing, is that this man, and the people he is hiring to work with and for him, are now beginning to do things that hurt people.
Donald Trump, and an administration that includes sycophants, neo-fascists, and crooks, all of whom represent the worst human impulses, are committed to actions, starting with the attempted Muslim ban and then with the ICE roundup of undocumented immigrants, that are hurting people. While Trump befuddles politicians, the news media, and the rest of us, with his ridiculous, unstable and mind-numbing executive actions, statements, and tweets, real people are being hurt by real actions. And these actions appear to be coming right out of Mein Kampf, the personal diatribe and playbook left behind by Adolph Hitler, which Donald Trump is said to have read.
The promotion of German nationalism and racial purity, the destruction of liberal democracy and communism, and the bringing of a new order to the world were all priorities of Hitler and the Nazis. And the German People, after the humiliating loss of World War I and the suffering brought on by both the war and the depression, had no faith in the fledgling, ineffective Weimar Republic and no unity with each other. Hitler offered them greatness, unity, and a new world, and they either voluntarily or involuntarily accepted it.
When the Nazis came to power, some folks liked what they were doing, some folks laughed and scoffed at them, some folks went along to get along, and some folks just kept their heads down. And little by little, Hitler and the Nazi Party enacted their mad agenda until it was too late to do anything and a second world war, that killed many millions, through combat, starvation, disease, and murder, was foisted upon the entire world, all in the name of making Germany great again.
When Hitler came to power, he made the German people an offer that they ultimately could not refuse, and he used lies, laws, brutality, and murder to cinch the deal. Donald Trump and his cronies are using lies, laws, the likes of ICE, and, if there was even tacit approval of the Khashoggi fiasco, complicity with murder to move their agenda forward.
Hitler got control of the press. So far the American news media have resisted Trump, but one wonders how long it will be before the press rolls over for him. Hitler convinced the politicians and capitalists to join him. Most Republican politicians have already joined Trump, and though, so far, Democrats are resisting him, one wonders how long before a weak Democratic Party rolls over for him as well. Many crooked capitalists have not only joined him but they are already in his cabinet.
And what about the bulk of the American People? How long before they stop protesting and some start to join those who put Trump in the White House? How long before confusion or fear gets the better of the rest of us and we all roll over just to survive?
Those of us who recognize what is happening must remain united and strong, and we must continue to resist the administration and agenda of Donald Trump. We must never tire and never give up or give in. We must work all day, every day, and in every way, to stop him from hurting people. Whether it’s resisting a Muslim ban, or ICE, or the destruction of Obamacare, or the building of a wall, or the pollution of our environment, or an attack on LGBTQ people, or an attack on a woman’s right to choose, or an attack on people of color, or an attack on Native American rights, or an attack on entitlement programs, we must fight every step of the way - and we must never lose heart or faith in each other, because each other is all we‘ve got.
Mark my words, if we do not nip the insanity of Donald Trump in the bud before it grows any further, we will all regret that we did not act sooner and more decisively, both to save our democracy and ourselves.
This is not a drill. This is not a false alarm. Donald Trump, his administration, and his followers are going to continue hurting people.