Donald Trump and a Dream about America's Possible Future
A number of years ago, I had a brief dream in which a background voice said, “Conditions in the United Sates are now like those in Germany prior to the rise of the Third Reich.” At that time, I didn’t see the similarity and did not think it was possible, but things have changed rapidly. Now we are beset by great political turmoil, and many of President Trump’s words sound like the ones Hitler used in his promises to make Germany great again. He is an opponent of the free press, and he has demonized certain groups, just as Hitler opposed a free press and needed enemies such as the Jews and communists to serve his purposes.
President Trump has focused on journalists, liberals, immigrants, and any other person or group who he deems unworthy to live in the United States. He says he has done much to help the African Americans, but he doesn’t say or do anything to support their protests against racist police, substandard living conditions, and lack of job opportunity. He claims he is for law and order, and is a great supporter of the police. But his version of law and order means suppressing any opposition to him and his programs.
I have watched numerous educational programs that traced the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. (I wanted to understand how a society could go down such a ruinous path.) Hitler manufactured crises, and used them to scare people into turning more power over to him to deal with the crises. He was a master at creating enemies, instilling fear in the broader population, and then focusing people’s hate against those enemies.
President Trump seeks to unite his base; he does not seek to unite the country. In fact, he has sought to accomplish his goals and achieve reelection by dividing the country and introducing chaos. Now he urges the country to elect him to fix the chaos he has helped create.
If Trump is reelected, I suspect we will see a brutal crackdown on any opposition and we will see overt attempts on his part to seize greater power. Some may think that is great, but the resulting America will not be recognizable anymore. And those who think he is taking things in the right direction better hope they do not find themselves among those he suddenly decides are expendable. He is not interested in meeting the needs of the people; he is only interested in what he perceives is best for him.
I think there is a natural tendency for people to look outside of themselves when things go wrong. They want someone or something to blame. Some never reach the point of understanding their own involvement in creating the problems they face. People such as Hitler and Trump understand that very well and provide a scapegoat. They then direct people’s anger toward the scapegoat in a way that serves their purpose.
To get people to move in the direction they want, the master seducers like Hitler and Trump must get people to accept their vision. One very well known method for doing this is to imprint a thought upon people’s subconscious using repetition. Advertisers use it all the time. Trump used it very effectively during the last election with the phrase “crooked Hilary.” He wanted people to immediately think crooked or criminal whenever they heard her name. He wanted that thought firmly embedded in their subconscious minds. The truth or falsehood of it didn’t matter.
Another way he used this technique is his proclamation of fake news whenever he mentions the New York Times or CNN. He wants it so firmly embedded in your subconscious that you immediately dismiss anything those news sources have to say. And Trump, like Hitler, loves rallies with huge crowds. They just help to bolster his ego and reinforce his message to his base.
Trump’s use of well know techniques for manipulation means that many people who have long been frustrated by their circumstances become ready converts to his cause. He gives them enemies to blame, and through exaggeration, and more repetition, he makes them believe he is their salvation. He touts successes with such hyperbole that even modest successes appear to be major victories.
People who watched his TV show The Apprentice or Celebrity Apprentice often did not realize it was staged with the winner most likely predetermined by the producers based on ratings. (According to at least one contestant, Donald Trump did not pick the winners on Celebrity Apprentice and barely knew what was happening. See https://entertainment.ie/tv/tv-news/donald-trump-didnt-actually-pick-the-winners-in-the-apprentice-according-to-a-former-contestant-205210/.) Many people came to believe that Trump was a business genius. In fact, the history of his business career tells a different story. Many of his business ventures were monumental failures. Michael Bloomberg is a true business goliath; Donald Trump is not a business genius any more than Hitler was a military genius. His version of his greatness is just more of how he presents the story of his life.
I have watched interviews with some of the Trump supporters. One of the reasons often given for their continued support is his follow through on campaign promises. I will acknowledge a degree of consistency there. However, I do not share his vision. The tax cuts gave us a trillion dollars a year budget deficit and most of the benefit went to the wealthy. The 4% GDP growth promised never materialized, even before the coronavirus. He has consistently tried to kill Obama Care, but I have yet to see a coherent replacement plan from the Republicans. He has opposed immigration, which built this country. He has promised us law and order, and has given us division and chaos.
Now, Trump threatens the very democratic voting process employing his usual technique. He claims mail-in voting is rife with fraud, despite no evidence to support his claim. If he loses the election, he now has a scapegoat for his loss. If he wins the election, he will claim he won in spite of the fraud, which he will claim benefited Joe Biden. He is creating more chaos and making the voting process itself suspect to retain his power. His attacks on our very foundation of democracy are outrageous, and he may very well be the most dangerous man to ever serve as President.
I believe that historians will someday judge one of his biggest failures his lack of recognition of the threat of global warming. He has downplayed it and even called it a “hoax” on more than one occasion; he referred to the coronavirus as the Democrats “new hoax.” Some have interpreted those comments as referring to the Democrats’ attacks on him, not the virus itself. However, the damage was done and many of his base considered and still consider the coronavirus as a hoax manufactured by the Democrats.
We can’t get his years of inactivity in response to climate change back, and as a nation, we will pay a price, just as we have paid a price for his delayed and inadequate response to the coronavirus. For those who want four more years of him, I say wake up and examine the facts. Study his business background and history on his TV shows, and you will find the real Donald Trump. It is not a pretty picture. If you think his character does not matter, look at the state of our nation today. I have lived a long time and see many turbulent times from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, but I have never seen this nation more divided than now.
Politically, I am an independent. During the last election, I did not vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I exercised my right to write in a candidate of my choice because I could not accept either of the two main candidates. In this next election, I will vote for Joe Biden. I believe he will try to unite the country and address critical issues ignored by Trump and the Republicans. He may raise taxes on the wealthy and high-income earners. Taxes are necessary to pay for the many things our country needs from health care and infrastructure repair to environmental protection and opportunities for the disadvantaged. There is great wealth in this country and several well-known billionaires have said they are willing to pay more in taxes for the benefit of all. We just need the right leadership to make it happen in a fair way.
In deciding how to vote in the next presidential election, don’t just think about who will make you better off in your personal life. Think also about who will make the country as a whole better off. And no, the Democrats are not going to take all the guns away from gun owners any more than they did under Clinton and Obama. But maybe we can prevent those mentally ill and/or with a history of violence from purchasing guns. We need sensible legislation for the protection of all.
The future of this country is created by all of us. You have to decide if you want to live in a Third Reich, or to live in a country of hope and freedom for all. The vision that Donald Trump offers will not give you freedom, but it may give you concentration camps. Hitler’s Third Reich was supposed to be the resurrection of Germany to a new, greater destiny, but it was not for the nonwhite, disabled, Jews, or any members of a political opposition party. Do you want this approach for America? Trump may consider different groups than Hitler’s selections as unacceptable, but his approach is the same.