The time for joking about Donald Trump is over. In spite of the failed crash landing of a convention the Republicans just executed in Cleveland, Trump means to be the 45th President of the United States. And the odds are even he’ll succeed. There’s no need to let that become a reality, though, America, no percentage in giving Trump a chance, or waiting to see “what it looks like”. We already know what Donald Trump’s America will look like.
Blatant racism and coarse sexism will be the new norms. Tests of religion will govern immigration and citizenship. And then there’s the maniacal whimsy of this man’s foreign policy: friendly with Putin one day, his supposed enemy the next; the suggested use of nuclear weapons; decades-old alliances treated with the reverence of a dirty joke on a cocktail napkin; war crimes that make waterboarding seem quaint an ever-ready option in Trump’s dubious bag of tricks.
You’ve seen Donald Trump’s America reflected back in the steely imperium of his gaze, heard it in the way he can talk about himself in glowing terms for hours, felt its chill in the way he strips credentials from journalists who disagree with him and threatens uncooperative “Mexican” judges with reprisals should he win the presidency, the way he embraces violence against protesters and reduces his political enemies to figures fit only for jail, makes anyone who disagrees with him into a liar, a crook, or worse, the way he’s spent his life using lawsuits to abuse our judicial system, throwing frivolous actions against his fellow citizens for no reason greater than that he can, no nobler goal than to win at all costs.
In this coming nation built on lies and ego, in Donald Trump’s America, there is one man with our country’s best interests at heart, one man good and just enough for his word to be law. In Third World countries, he might be known as The Colonel or The General, El Jefe or Dear Leader. And, in America, if we’re not careful, he might be as well. For now, America’s Dear Leader answers to Mr. Trump, the odd insistence that others treat him with respectful formality doubly disturbing when read against the blithe disrespect with which he treats the rest of us.
Don’t fool yourselves, Republicans. Don’t think for a second you need to support the team on this, that once Trump is in power the apparatus of government will rein him in. For once, Ted Cruz has actually shown you the way. Did Cruz himself have the best intentions in making that petulant convention speech? Of course not. He acted out of pique. But who can blame him after Trump gave him the sobriquet Lyin’ Ted, after he mocked Cruz’s wife’s looks, and suggested Cruz’s father had somehow been involved with the JFK assassination? And the truth of Cruz’s assessment of his party’s candidate is undeniable: Donald Trump is not a man who will defend the American Constitution. This is a man who will accumulate as much power as he can. And who knows what means he might employ to do that once he’s president? If character is destiny, and past prologue, we’ve already seen the means he’ll employ: hatred, violence, lies, and the corruption of our judicial system.
Don’t fool yourselves, Democrats. Don’t tell yourselves that no one in their right mind could possibly support Trump, that at any rate, there’s no way enough people will vote for Trump to elect him president. Didn’t you feel that way about George W. Bush? Things were good, you thought, back in 2000. Al Gore was obviously way better qualified than Bush. And you thought if W. did win, how much harm could he possibly do? He seemed nice enough, right; a compassionate conservative and all that? But W. did untold damage. In many ways, he laid the groundwork for so many of today’s troubles, from our fiscal mess and our endless entanglements in the Middle East, to the rise of a would-be despot like Donald Trump.
Don’t fool yourselves, Independents, into thinking there will be any liberty once you’re under Trump’s thumb. You will live at the caprice of our Dear Leader. Can loyalty oaths be far off? What about religious questionnaires for all to fill out, just to make sure you’re not one of “them”, you know, a Muslim? And as we know from history, once there’s a perceived, state-sanctioned “them”, it’s easy for that group to expand. Maybe someday soon atheists and Jews will join that select group? Perhaps Marxists and social democrats? Maybe even liberals?
Don’t fool yourselves, America, into thinking there are any “safe” or “uncontested” states. Wasn’t it Bernie Sanders who won the Michigan primary even though all the polls agreed he wouldn’t? Don’t listen to the people who voted for Nader in 2000 and still haven’t learned their lesson. Bush and Gore were the same, they said, back then. But they weren’t, were they? Not even close. We can’t afford to take a chance again with our country and our lives. Yet still, they make the same old arguments, trying to fool people into going along with their “statement” vote. But to what end? Do these people want to see our form of government strengthened, our country improved, or do they see America as so flawed that real political unrest (read, violent revolution) is a worthy alternative? Do they see fascism as a painful necessary step on the way to something better? And what would that something better be? Totalitarian Marxism? Anarchy?
Donald Trump recently signaled that his first act as President would be to request special powers from Congress, to make it easier for him to fire civil servants, particularly anyone hired during the Obama Administration. He wants to get rid of those whose loyalty he questions, simple as that. And where did Trump get this idea? It was the first thing Adolf Hitler did when he took power in Germany, a way to cinch an iron grip on the levers of government, a way to make the entire German state beholden to him. Nor is this the first time we’ve heard of Trump pulling a move or two from the Fuhrer’s playbook. Remember, this guy spent twenty years with Hitler’s speeches at his bedside, dipping in from time to time, reading, studying. And now he accepts the support of Klansmen and Nazis with a wink and a nod. (Hoping to capitalize on the current wave of Trumpian racism, KKK Grand Dragon David Duke has reemerged, declaring his candidacy for the United States Senate.) It’s time to stand up, America. It’s time to refuse to give any more comfort to Donald Trump, those who follow him, and those who can’t be bothered to oppose him.
I see people cheering Trump on Facebook, even a few liberals saying, “Well, thank God someone is going to bring all the troops home. Enough of America being involved in far-flung conflicts and wars of empire.” And what do you think Herr Trump, this man who proudly describes himself as “militaristic”, will do with these hundreds of thousands of troops once he brings them home? Do you think he will simply dismiss them, swell the ranks of America’s unemployed? Or, will he use them to tamp down unrest at home, to deport eleven (or twelve, or thirteen) million “illegal” immigrants? And who else might Trump deport? Who else might become a member of his unholy “them”? Just recently, we’ve heard reports that Rudy Giuliani (tipped as Trump’s Anti-Terrorism Czar) has suggested an additional 800,000 anti-terrorism police and that Trump has agreed. Could these initiatives be linked? Could all our returning service-men and -women be employed by America’s Dear Leader as his special anti-terrorism (and anti-unrest and anti-dissent) police force?
The time for debate is over—the time for boutique issues, pet positions, and fringe candidates; the time for putting your mythical, intellectual integrity above the real danger America faces. The time is over for considerations of conscience with a small c. Let’s think about conscience with a big C. Let’s think about the country as a whole, try to imagine the dangers in putting a would-be strongman like Donald Trump in power. Now that the Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump for President we, the voters, are the only thing left between him and power. If we fail now, who knows when we might get another chance? Who knows just how much blood and treasure that chance might cost?