Trump’s threat proves America unexceptional

Javier Milei, the new strongman in Argentina, brandishes a chainsaw at rallies to show his plans for the political elite. His own people call him “El Loco.” He won not despite his madness, but because of it.
He is but the latest in a series of tough-talking demagogues with destructive impulses to have take power across the globe. And America has proven to be no exception.

One question we would do well to ponder is why there is such hostility toward elites. If you think class-based resentment — which inevitably mixes with racism, misogyny religious bigotry, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia — is a good motivation for voting choices, please give us an example of such decisions leading to a happy result.

Hillary Clinton has her faults, including a tendency to be undiplomatically blunt. But if she had been elected in 2016 we would not now have a right-wing supermajority on the Supreme Court, and we would not be in danger of losing our constitutional republic.
Incidentally, please name a male politician who has been defeated for being blunt.

Another way of putting Hillary’s failure to be more diplomatic is that she is insufficiently demure. Her unapologetic assertion of her right to pursue a political career has been held against her purely due to sexism.

We are in grave danger if we refuse to confront our cornucopia of bigotries. Horrible people all too often gain power by appealing to others’ lowest impulses.

Can you think of a single uplifting sentiment that Donald Trump has ever expressed? He is all lies, grifting and revenge. He thrives on others’ willful ignorance. How is it that a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who refuses to pay his contractors and who hires the very undocumented immigrants he demonizes, exemplifies business success?

He holds up a Bible to display his religiosity while being unable to cite a single scriptural passage and openly embodying the Seven Deadly Sins.

In the end, however, we cannot blame Trump. His crudeness, dishonesty and viciousness were on display from the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 to announce his candidacy.

This is on us.

It is frankly obscene even to mention an aspiration for national greatness without first aspiring to national goodness.

The fake Christians who are determined to turn America into a Christo-fascist theocracy show no more familiarity or respect for the Gospel than does Trump. If you try to tell the “Diapers Over Dems” crowd the parable of the Good Samaritan or invoke the call in Matthew, Chapter 25 to feed the hungry and welcome the stranger, they will curse you or give you the finger. The closest equivalents to the arrogance and pride of Justice Samuel Alito in the New Testament are the Pharisees who despised Jesus.

There is one honest Christian in the presidential race who strives to help others. His name is Joe Biden. He supports abortion rights because he knows that women’s reproductive choices are none of his business. He would never say “It is God’s will” in response to a woman dying of sepsis in a hospital parking lot while the doctors and their attorneys discuss whether she is near enough to death to be given emergency abortion care.

In addition to all the other radical proposals from the far right, there is an effort to overturn the separation of church and state embodied in the First Amendment. If you think I overstate this, you are not paying attention. One example is Justice Alito, in his Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, citing a 17th century British jurist who convicted women of witchcraft.

It is tempting, in the face of the extremists, to laugh them off. I myself have practically been surviving on wisecracks to avoid losing my mind. For example, someone on X/Twitter recently wrote, “Mar-a-Lago is a whorehouse full of old broads who think they are still 25.” I replied, “Please resist your impulse to romanticize the place.”

I love the sorts of people who are dismissed as “old broads.” Plenty of successful movies are centered on older women reliving their youth. Such stories are far more appealing than the prospect of exploring the fevered brain of our 45th president who wishes to be our 47th.

I stress “our” because Trump is our collective responsibility. We must awaken and motivate our friends and family, especially young people who don’t know their history and take their freedoms for granted. We stand on the edge of an abyss. To quote Hillel: If not now, when?

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist at Copyright © 2024 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.