The Would-Be Dictator
This presidential election contest is getting scarier by the day. Not just because of the behavior of one of the candidates, but for what it says about our country that nearly half the population supports him.
Donald Trump said he would put Hillary Clinton in jail if he became president. One of the women in the long list of those who have accused him of sexually groping them said she plans to leave the country out of fear of his supporters. Perhaps most frightening of all, Trump still declares that the men wrongly accused of rape in the 2002 Central Park Five case are guilty. It makes no difference to him that no DNA was found on any of the five, a man convicted of rape and murder in other cases confessed, and DNA evidence connecting him to the Central Park crime was found. Similarly, it made no difference to Trump that President Obama was proven by his birth certificate to have been born in the United States.
I am promoting my book MURDER IN PALM BEACH: The Homicide That Never Died on my website, and a book marketing expert strongly advised this week that authors maintain absolute neutrality in politics to avoid offending anyone. I disagree. The danger that a man such as this would pose as president demands that people of conscience speak out. If writers won’t, who will
What would this man do if he were president? He sounds for all the world like a strong man dictator. It has become too easy and reckless to cite what happened in Germany in the 1930s, but the parallel between that phenomenon and the current milieu in the United States keeps getting better defined. Adolph Hitler was elected German chancellor at a time of great social discontent, and that is the situation which exists in our country now. Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the media of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against him, and his supporters are buying it. The Boston Globe warned of a possible “violent rebellion” by some of those supporters, who refuse to take truth for an answer.
What’s most disturbing about Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the innocence of the Central Park Five is that it doesn’t deter his fans. That speaks at high volume not just to Trump’s racism, but to the racism of a large segment of the American public. Four of the teenage victims of the false rape charges were black, and one Hispanic. They spent between six and 13 years in prison before being exonerated.
It seems patently obvious that our democratic institutions would be undermined by this man who has shown he will do whatever necessary to get his way, and lashes out at anyone who opposes him. What would happen to freedom of the press under a president who rips into journalists for reporting the facts about him? He would use every means possible to silence and punish them. Indeed, Trump has expressed his admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whose regime controls the media, not to mention its perpetration of imperialistic actions in various parts of the globe.
What would happen to our system of justice under the influence of someone who insists that those found innocent are in fact guilty, despite considerable evidence to the contrary? Trump has given every indication that he would attempt to subvert judicial verdicts that he didn’t agree with.
Some Trump supporters have said they will vote for him simply because they despise Hillary Clinton, whom they distrust. I voted for Bernie Sanders, and was given pause this week when I discovered that cable news channel CNN documented in February that Bill and Hillary became rich from speaking fees totaling more than $153 million between 2001 and May 2015. They made at least $7.7 million in speeches to big banks, of which Hillary’s share was $1.8 million. The average fee for the 729 speeches was $210,795.
While it doesn’t seem as though any illegality occurred, and none was mentioned, it is nonetheless disquieting that corporate interests would pay any politician such huge sums. It stretches credibility to think the institutions exhibiting such largesse expected no favors in return. It was comforting to hear this afternoon, however, that the latest release of the WikiLeaks transcripts of Hillary’s speeches to Goldman Sachs, as with the previous releases, show no smoking gun.
Hillary is flawed in other ways, perhaps most egregiously in the political opportunism she has practiced. But all of her defects pale in comparison to those of her opponent. Many people, even among those who plan to vote for her, regard her as part of an entrenched political establishment that caters more to its own interests than those of the people it represents. Contrary to Trump, who has zero governmental experience, she has vast experience in government, having cobbled together health care legislation while serving as First Lady for eight years, spent eight years in the U.S. Senate, and was secretary of state for four years. She knows how to work with the leaders of other nations, while Trump would alienate with his tough talk of how he wants to deal with the ones out of favor with the United States. He is a dangerous person to have access to the codes for using nuclear weapons.
Trump’s supporters hail mostly from the blue collar class. They are supporting a person who trumpets policies against their interests. He would lower taxes for the rich, who already control a vastly disproportionate amount of this country’s wealth, while Clinton would raise their taxes. She has provided her tax returns going back many years, while he refuses to reveal his, probably because he isn’t nearly as rich as he claims, and knows that revelation would disappoint his wealth-worshipping followers, who might then see him as the phony that he is.
Many cite Trump’s abundant business experience as qualifying him to be president, ignoring his six bankruptcies that left thousands of people out of work. They ignore the countless claims of fraud from people who enrolled in Trump University, and from those who say he denied them required refunds of fees for membership in his golf club in Jupiter, Florida. He’s been accused by many people of being stiffed in payments for services rendered, and that doesn’t seem to matter to his supporters.
As for personal attributes, Trump has bullied those who opposed him, mocked a handicapped person, shown bigotry toward Muslims and Hispanics, and boasted of having his way with women because of his star power. While Clinton is not known for her honesty, Trump has been documented as lying habitually. So it is ironic that he levels the same charge at the parade of women accusing him of unwanted sexual advances.
It isn’t for nothing that Republicans in Congress have withdrawn their support for Trump in numbers unprecedented for a presidential candidate. In every respect, he is woefully unfit to be president.
Clinton leads in the polls, and we can only hope that a sufficient number of those favoring her over Trump turn out to vote. If not, our country faces calamity, and the Trump accuser who decided to go to Canada to avoid the ominous vehicle traffic around her home in Palm Springs, Florida, may have company.
Whether anything would be accomplished by people fleeing the country is an open question. America is seen all over the globe as the leader of the free world. What would become of that role under a Trump presidency?