Letters to the Editor

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.

Thunderducks win nationals: Women Triumph

Award-winning film scores may abound, but none could be as dramatic as the sound of the final whistle on Nov. 11 at Wedgbury Stadium in Loves Park, Ill. The Richland women’s soccer team edged Delta College from Michigan 1-0 to win the national championship.

Asia Revely strikes the ball against Delta College at Wedgbury Stadium in Loves Park, Ill., Nov. 11. Richland won the championship game 1-0.

Asia Revely strikes the ball against Delta College at Wedgbury Stadium in Loves Park, Ill., Nov. 11. Richland won the championship game 1-0.

Richland took the lead with a rifle from about 30 yards out. A befitting lead for a special occasion.

“When I scored the goal in the final, I was kind of in shock,” forward, Eva Mulligan said.

Twenty-seven minutes into the first half, defender Miranda Ibarra, drove through the Delta midfield before laying it off for a teammate. Mulligan took a deft touch beyond her defender and rifled a bullet into the net.

“It was very exciting to get a goal that meant a lot for our team. It took a lot of stress off of us. When I realized I scored, it was kind of overwhelming.”

“We were trying to figure out why she [Mulligan] didn’t score more goals during the year. I think a lot of it is confidence. I think early on she didn’t want to take the set-pieces because she didn’t want to be the one who messed it up and same thing with finishing; I think she was more concerned about passing the ball,” said women’s soccer coach Scott Toups.

“As the season went on, she got more and more confident. You could see it in her play, she got better and better and all of a sudden, she started shooting and realized she could score goals. For her, I think it’s a confidence thing. She got more confident, she got better.”

The Richland women’s soccer team poses for a photo with the coaches after winning the Div. III national championship in a battle against Delta College in Loves Park, Ill.

The Richland women’s soccer team poses for a photo with the coaches after winning the Div. III national championship in a battle against Delta College in Loves Park, Ill.

Mulligan ended the season with nine goals and five assists. She wasn’t a frequent name on the score sheet at the beginning of the season, but as it wore on, her influence on the team grew. Five of her nine goals came in the last four games.

The road to the finals was relatively easy for Richland. They breezed past Holyoke in the quarterfinals with a 9-0 win.

The semifinal was more of the same. Inclement weather and a frozen field required the game to be moved indoors, but that didn’t deter the Thunderducks. They beat Brookdale 5-1.

The final was where Richland faced its biggest test yet and for the first 45 minutes, Richland looked to be the better side. They threatened, but goals weren’t forthcoming.

“It was just unfortunate we didn’t get a second goal. It went off the cross bar early on, we missed a couple that most of the time we would have scored. Their goal keeper made some really nice saves. Behind Dynastee [Cain], she was the best goalkeeper at the tournament,” said Toups.

An ankle injury sustained by Citlali Gonzalez forced a change in tactic midway through the first half.

“So, we ended up pulling her off and instead of replacing her with another defender off the bench, we moved one of our center midfielders, Cloe, to the back. And that changed the dynamic of the game. We lost control of the midfield, they gained more possession and gave us more trouble,” Toups said.

“I think part of it was they were stronger [than previous opponents] and part of it was, I think, we were just not there,” Ibarra said. “In our heads, some of us had already thought we won, so we were a little bit more relaxed when we shouldn’t have been.”

Ibarra was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament for her display. She was part of a defense that kept a clean sheet in two out of the three games.

“I think I worked pretty hard this season and I was focused as much as I could’ve been in those three games,” Ibarra said.

Coaches from all the schools who participate in the nationals vote for the MVP. Ibarra was shocked that she garnered attention.

“I feel like in the back I didn’t get to play very much. So, I was kind of confused how my abilities were shown [and] how they could notice me. I was very surprised,” Ibarra said. “I think it’s one of the best seasons I’ve had throughout my soccer career. Had a couple losses, but overall, I like the girls, I like the coaching and some games were not that challenging, but I still had fun.”

Ibarra’s teammates, Mulligan and Cain took Offensive and Defensive MVP honors respectively.

The win was the Richland women’s soccer fourth national championship. The team had its last national championship win in 2014.

“We went [to the nationals] with that result in mind and that’s how we left, with what we wanted to accomplish,” Toups said.