The best characterization I’ve read to date on Donald Trump described the candidate as what we would get if online comment boards became human and ran for president.
Actually, it’s worse than that, because he’s gone a large step further and is more than willing to attach his name and face to one hateful, paranoid comment after another, as opposed to spewing invective from behind the cloak of anonymity, which is the usual behavior online.
In the Freudian sense, Trump is the voice of the unchecked id, which the psychologist called “the dark, inaccessible part of our personality ... a cauldron full of seething excitations.”
If you can think of a better description of Trump’s sociopathic personality, I’d love to hear it.
But first, let’s set a few things straight:
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1. Donald Trump would be disastrous as the leader of the world’s most powerful country.
At his most basic, he is an arrogant bully. He is the personification of the “ugly American” and exactly opposite from the kind of statesman we need on the world’s stage.
In that sense, he won’t make us safer — despite all the tough talk about banning Muslims from entering the United States — because he will always be a lightning rod for aggression, begetting violence from violence.
Some people want this kind of peacocking and bravado in the Oval Office. He’s a real man, they say.
But stand him next to arguably the toughest person to ever hold the job, Theodore Roosevelt, and Trump doesn’t compare.
Roosevelt’s foreign policy — “Speak softly, and carry a big stick” — should be the model for all modern administrations in how it balances the value of diplomacy and military might while acknowledging the United States’ unique role in world politics.
Trump’s apparent approach: “Act like a jerk, and carry a big stick ... then act like a jerk some more and, oh yeah, don’t forget to act like a jerk.”
2. Donald Trump would be disastrous as president because he is willing to subvert foundational American values in responding to variable crises.
What we are facing today with Islamic radicalism isn’t the greatest threat to world peace we’ve seen in our nation’s history. It is a grave problem, to be sure, but not the gravest.
It is not a threat to Western civilization, despite the potential for random violence. The Islamic State group will not be landing on our beaches. It will not overthrow our culture.
We do need to answer its spread and drain the lifeblood from its viral growth, but not by changing who we are. Never by changing who we are.
When we alter our principles, when we sacrifice the U.S. Constitution and its ideals, we hand the terrorists a greater victory than any of their attacks could ever achieve.
We have witnessed this before, when the policies of xenophobia led to panicked decisions by otherwise responsible leaders. See Franklin Roosevelt and the internment of more than 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry — the majority of whom were American citizens — three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Many years later, President Ronald Reagan apologized for this travesty with the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, which admitted the government’s motivation was not an actual threat but “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”
Does any of that sound familiar to what’s going on now? The internment eventually ended up costing taxpayers $1.6 billion in justifiable reparations to more than 80,000 internees and their heirs.
I thought we had learned from that history and thus would not be doomed to repeat it.
Then came Trump, whose position on this matter alone should be an electoral deal-breaker for the position of dogcatcher, much less president of the United States.
3. Donald Trump has no sense of decency and no filter.
Some people see this as a strength. He’s tellin’ it like it is, unshackled by pesky social expectations. But it’s not a strength, and it makes him look like a pouty 5-year-old, scowling, calling people names and throwing tantrums.
It appears his oversized perception of himself has totally obliterated any ability to view the world through a lens other than his own eyes.
Couple that with the unregulated conduit that links his brain to his mouth, and you have a narcissist whose rhetoric is reckless beyond belief and without a modicum of moderation.
That is not the guy you want with his finger on the button, answering the red phone at 3 a.m.
So those are three good reasons not to give any further credence to this Trump candidacy.
And yet I’m sure a good portion of you think otherwise, and would happily tell me so.
I’d like to hear from you. Why do you support Trump?
Specifically, how do you reconcile with our American values a position like banning all Muslims from entering the country?
How do we preserve America’s greatness if to do so we must employ un-American measures? Or do you not see these measures as un-American?
Send me your thoughts, and I’ll share them in a future column.