Let’s afford President Donald Trump a simple truth — he’s nuts. Else we must conclude that he is a vile, immoral human being. Neither explanation does justice to the fact that he and his aberrant behavior are bringing America down. As my grandfather once said to me about someone: “He’s simply a bad egg.”
More perplexing are his followers — his “true believers” — and there seem to be many. What are their motives and where is the origin of their acceptance of his thousands of substantiated lies, his vilification of others, his own administration and the press, his penchant for conspiracy theories and his crude and continual innuendos about anyone who has an opinion contrary to his own?
The nature of government is to debate and change policy to suit one’s political persuasions. At times, this can be combative and, frankly, quite ugly. However, the combatants generally argue their points, not the ad hominum attacks initiated by Trump and now employed by the Republican members of Congress (the impeachment hearings are a prime example). In a healthy, vibrant democracy, differences lead to compromise. Heated debate is part of the game, but this character assassination, bullying and intimidation used by Trump and his party — and embraced by his legions — display ignorance at its worst and, more importantly, the destruction of our democratic process.
What is in the minds and souls of this crowd of Trump supporters who, while at his rallies, mimic and cheer his vulgar language, applaud his obvious lies and embrace his encouragement and commands to incite and carry out threatening provocations?
Trump will soon enough be vanquished. His time as president will be penned by scholars with a brief footnote — Donald Trump was the third president of the United States to be impeached by the House of Representatives. And what of the 30-plus percent of the people who supported him? I suspect for them, Trump has been but a metaphor, a symbolic conduit which has given them license to express, in a public arena, their discontent, anger and frustrations concerning their own personal malaise and failures. Trump has been an expert at beating this drum. It’s time for America to march to a different beat.
David McLelland lives in Santa Fe.