Reader says president Trump is a “dangerous demagogue”
Two years ago, in this newspaper, I declared that Donald Trump was unfit to hold the office of president of the United States. I sincerely wish that his performance since that time had given me reason to admit that I had misjudged him, but sadly, after nearly two years in office, he has more than proven me right.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “demagogue” as “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices, false claims and promises in order to gain power.” In light of his frequent fearmongering rhetoric, I can think of no other person who more closely fits that definition than Donald Trump.
Frankly, I am astonished that he was ever elected president in the first place, or that he was even seriously considered as a candidate. His personal behavior, both before and since taking office, has consistently been that of a narcissistic spoiled juvenile who thinks he knows everything but who actually knows very little, who betrays his lack of even the most basic knowledge every time he opens his mouth and who thinks nothing of mocking disabled people, and belittling women, minorities and decorated military veterans.
Yet the people who make up his base, people who appear to lack either the ability or the willingness to think for themselves, apparently have no problem with the president of the United States exhibiting, on nearly every occasion, the sort of boorish bad behavior that no responsible parent would ever allow their own children to get away with. Why they give the president a pass is entirely baffling to me. If I treated my students the way that Trump treats the press, I’d soon be out of a job.
It is generally conceded that all politicians lie, but let’s face it, some lie a lot more often than others and some a lot more blatantly than others. There can be no question that Trump is one of the latter.
While listening to the speeches that he gives at his rallies, the provocative and outrageous statements he seems to simply make up as he goes along never cease to amaze me. Sometimes, he not only lies but also says things that make absolutely no sense. Recently, at one of his televised rallies, I heard him say that he had kept more promises than he had made. How is that even possible?
Americans seem to have already forgotten that only a few short weeks ago, just before the midterm elections, an ardent Republican, whose van was plastered with pro-Trump stickers and whose social media presence made it clear that he was a big fan of the president, was arrested and charged with sending letter bombs to several high-ranking Democrats including two former presidents.
Yet Trump disavowed any personal responsibility for the divisive, inflammatory language he frequently uses that seems to have animated the alleged would-be assassin. By routinely demonizing Democrats, refugees, legitimate news outlets such as CNN or NBC (which he insultingly calls “Fake News” or “the Enemy of the People”) and just about anyone who either disagrees with his policies or publicly points out the falsity of his often outrageous claims, he has shown himself to be nothing less than a dangerous demagogue.
By sowing the seeds of discord he does nothing to heal the political divide that is so painfully apparent in this country. If anything, he is making it worse by appealing to emotion and fear (most of it baseless), rather than to reasoned, civil discourse.
It is ironic that the president often uses derogatory language to describe the press or his political opponents that is far more applicable to him. By both words and deeds, he almost daily proves that it is he, not they, who is “rude,” an “embarrassment” and a “disgrace.”
I’ll give Trump this: Despite his limited vocabulary (or perhaps because of it), he certainly knows how to work a crowd and get them on his side. But so did Hitler.
– Dr. Steven Butler is an adjunct faculty member in the history department at Richland.