September 9th, 2016
From across the pond I like to suggest that the coming US elections are among the most divisive in decades, not only for the US but also for Europe and the World. This election will impact the US economic outlook, trade-, fiscal- and foreign policy and will influence stability and security around the World.
In considering the alternatives and possible outcome, a win for Hillary Rodham Clinton would signal broad policy continuity, in a pragmatic and centrist manner.
Donald J Trump on the other hand is a one of a kind candidate like never seen before, one who is simple eminently unqualified – intellectually, morally, emotionally, financially, legally, temperamentally – to serve as President of the United States.
We cannot accuse Donald Trump having much of a coherent thought process and we cannot afford ourselves such uncivilized narcissistic creatures, while his appalling vulgarity sets terrible examples for the younger generations and who make a mockery out of democracy. But even if not elected the present culture has changed and the damage done to society will take years to repair, if ever this is possible.
There is nothing Presidential about Donald Trump, the arrogant little man reminds me of an Ox, “While he grows in size, he does not grow in wisdom.” He brings with him the potential of dramatic changes, self-interest and immense security risks not to be underestimated.
This election takes place in extraordinary- and dangerous times, times in which nationalism; isolation, racism and fascism are again sneaking up their ugly haughty heads. Albert Einstein said: “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
The reality is we live in a world with dangerous “toxic” demagogues, which seek to create populist divisions. But Donald Trump’s popularity and his danger are self-inflicted by the politician in Congress. This is the result of the ugly polarization we have witnessed in Congress during the Obama years. The time is long overdue that responsible Democrats and Republicans come together to find bi-partisan consensus for the problems facing the US and our World. Only by bringing people together, not by dividing them, the present divisions in society can be overcome.
As John Dickinson wrote in the Boston Gazette in 1768 “by uniting we stand, by dividing we fall”. Patrick Henry used the same phrase in his last speech of 1799, shortly before he died.
Our new racist in the room, Donald J Trump is the latest and main representative of this populist movement which is a danger to the US and the World, a danger which should be taken very seriously.
Moreover, the costs to the GOP having Donald Trump, the narcissistic darling of the “know-nothing” voters, at the top of their ticket are unsustainable and this is causing great damage to the US and its standing in the world. As Commander in Chief he is seen as an immense security risk, a risk responsible Republicans have made clear they are turning away from.
I have met the illusionist Donald Trump once in 1982, at first glance a charming New York bully from Queens. Obviously a “New Money” Bully who still after all those years of self-promoting has not received the respect and recognition from the Park Avenue “Old Money” crowd he demands. Donald Trump shows us a pathetic and sad spectacle.
Meeting him is something I would rather forget and was one time too many. His obsessive behaviour towards sophisticated and intelligent ladies, which have the good taste to ignore him or do not show the required admiration for “The Donald“, was already taking hold of him at the time. Today I would cross the street if I saw him again.
From a European perspective Donald Trump is very much like that other philandering populist Silvio Berlusconi in the 1980’s in Italy, and Donald Trump is an immoral illusionist and always others pay the price for his thoughtless strategies. First “The Donald“ was an illusionist in real estate, creating with his bankruptcies havoc to his investors and then hiding behind them; then he was an illusionist on television for the simpletons among us; and now he has become an illusionist in politics.
What Donald Trump shows us daily is the shining surface, with fake glitters and his name in imitation gold, but underneath the wood is rotten and there is only self-interest and no “truth” in what he says? As Tolstoy said, “Truth is like gold, is to be obtained not by growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”
He is a good example of a nationalistic populist, a demagogue who lacks empathy, intellectual capacity and the moral authority or standing to lead. The weapons Donald Trump uses are fear, ignorance, insults, innuendo and disinformation, not knowledge or understanding.
What Donald Trump brings us; “the greatest show in town“ as his supporters calls it, is grossly irresponsible and must be rejected in November. Donald Trump his four corporate bankruptcies show he is immoral and unfit for President of the United States.
Donald Trump suggestions regarding Foreign policy initiatives, trade and torture are totally unacceptable and he has totally disqualified himself from serving as commander in chief. Not even elected and he is already undermining stability in an already unstable world.
Donald Trump does not read books and cannot be accused of having a vision or much understanding about the problems we are facing or how to react to the rapid changes which are taking place in the world.
We in Europe understand the danger of Trump and suffer also under right wing politicians like Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Petri and other populists who have lately come to the surface running on nationalist and often racist platforms. Far right parties, enjoying renewed popularity on local and national levels. They are without exception dangerous populists who seek to divide and have no understanding or solutions to the problems our societies are facing, but they use fear, ignorance, insults and disinformation as weapons, not knowledge or understanding.
Most are pathetic and sizzle out at election time since their perishable date is rather limited and also due to the so called “cordon sanitaire” whereby most serious parties exclude such party from any coalition government, even if that forces the formation of grand coalition government. This makes the influence of extremist anti-Muslim and anti-emigration parties rather limited.
But not so in the GOP were the Donald Trump brand based on ignorance, prejudice, fear and isolation was welcomed and its leadership continues to endorse him. Personally I fail to understand why Donald Trump, who was unwilling to dismiss white supremacists, the KKK or David Duke is still not told to leave the tent. This big tent is becoming smaller daily and McCarthy must me smiling in the dark shadows envisioning the return of his brand of politics should Trump be elected.
Why is that, despite the fact that Donald Trump’s statements are repugnant and unacceptable; with his bigoted and Islamophobia remarks he is allowed by the GOP leadership to seek advantages by means of hate speech? How deeply disappointing the endorsement of Speaker Ryan, lacking courage in putting interest of country and people first. It’s obvious the thirst for power clouds vision and corrupts.
Donald Trump his ignorant anger statements are appalling and more fitting to be expressed in a Münchener Bier hall in the 1930’s. They invoke memories of our darkest hour of our common history when the brown shirts marched our streets and with each new day the similarities become clearer.
It was also a time when tragically Jewish refugees were refused entry and Japanese were interned in the US. Trump his Muslim ban is immoral and in supporting this we have not learned from our history and do not understand how to place events in context.
Donald Trump has opened the “Pandora Box of Hate” and has added different chapters to his gutter-approach and has instigated violence at his rallies. His threats to the GOP leadership “riots might occur if he was not elected” fell into the same “gutter” category, but still were accepted. The anger which he so gladly stimulates increases and might boil over.
Different and so many lines have been crossed by Donald Trump in the spirit of recklessness; his incitement of violence; his behaviour during the debates; his qualification of Mexicans; his John McCain comment; his China bashing; his suggestions for a Muslim ban and waterboarding; his comments about Nuclear weapons, NATO, Russia; his Mexican judge comments; his reaction to the lesson in civility of Mr. Khan;
But at the bottom of the sewer pit is his unmistakable suggestions to assassinate Mrs. Clinton.
All of this and more have created a culture of hate. His ugly rhetoric let the genie out of the bottle and brings back memories to the climate during which MarcolmX, King, JFK, RFK and Yitzhak Rabin in Israel were assassinated.
Yitzhak Rabin was in 1995 the best hope for lasting peace in the Middle East, but was assassinated by Yigal Amir a right wing activist, in a climate of incitement and hate created by Likud. People like Social Affair Minister Ora Namir of Likud, who walked into a cabinet meeting on October 31 1994 with a sign “Rabin must be killed”, created this climate, just like Donald Trump and his supporters are doing now.
Donald Trump his latest speech about emigration reform was black and chilling; with Donald Trump as President there will be no more bright and shining city on the hill, only darkness.
By all means, perhaps the Orange Monster is delusional, flew out of the Cuckoo nest and in the process turned loose the whole asylum.
We must be frank, his rhetoric and methods can be compared to the rhetoric and methods that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to move forward and led to World War II. In no way would I wish to minimize what the Nazi regime did during that dark period, but if we study history there are similarities with the early 1930’s.
With this approach “Trump the Ox” has brought a cancer to the GOP which is eating the GOP alive. Long held values are being destroyed which at least will set the party back for years to come. There is only one conclusion possible, the Republican Party leadership failed in its responsibility, is a disgrace and should have distanced itself from Donald Trump long ago and taken its responsibility by rejecting a “Trump” candidacy for President.
A “Trump” Presidency would be disaster for the US and the World, resulting that the transatlantic relationship, which has brought us peace and stability since WWII will crumble. What is then left from American exceptionalism, despite many strategic mistakes, can be thrown out of the window.
However, I am hopeful that my American friends have the wisdom to vote for the pragmatic centrist Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite her weaknesses to get her elected. She guarantees the required policy continuity and given her years in the Senate shall be able to bring people together in a civil and businesslike manner.
Finishing this, my thoughts go back to a different time when I grew up and to JFK’s “Profiles in Courage” which was one of the first books about US politics I bought on the eve of JFK’s election.
The 1960’s was optimistic and an inspirational period, a time of American exceptionalism, the City on the Hill and Camelot. I remember reading the book from cover to cover on one cold winter day in my parents’ house. At the time the morality which these men propagated, to do what was right impressed and fascinated me greatly.
In this book it is described how some politicians took an unpopular stand against the general view held by the public and their peers. For the stand they took they paid dearly. These were people like John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Robert A Taft and Edmond Ross just to name a few. Most of them lost their seat for re-election in Congress or the Senate.
The US and most other countries in the world of today could use some of these politicians who had the character and courage to follow their conscience. But the times we live in are different; it’s perverse how today the US Presidency is bought by insignificant little people with dubious moral quantities.
Perhaps Ronald Reagan was right when he once observed,
“I used to say that politics was the second lowest profession and I have come to know that it bears a great similarity to the first”.