With his unruly, mean-spirited, fascist-leaning, veiled racist jargon, guarded in the euphemistic idea that “we need to make America great again,” Donald Trump is foolishly playing a dangerous game. He’s using his reality-show television persona to promote a certain “Trumpology” to the American people that engages the basest levels of humanity.
Unfortunately, he seems to think he can spew vitriol without regard to the repercussions of his messages. If he ever had the semblance of a policy platform, it surely has become clouded by his distasteful language and uncivil tone. Doesn’t he know that our democracy depends on civility?
Are we not complicit in Trump’s disgraceful behavior if we do not speak out when spiteful rhetoric turns into disturbing acts of hatred, bullying and physical violence? My conscience says yes.
The March 3 Republican debate was the most outrageous and uncivil display of American politics that I can remember. The only things missing were chairs and debris being flung onto the stage. Fortunately, Ohio Gov. John Kasich refused to succumb to the darkness.
I applaud him for this, even though I wished he would have refused to support a Trump nomination. Who would have blamed him for a reversal on his “party unity pledge,” given the fact that Trump’s vitriol has gone way over the cliff of sensibility into a gutter of mud?
Troublingly, Trump’s bombastic rhetoric champions a delusional reality: shunning Islam, polarizing Hispanic Americans, and publicly bullying and condoning violence toward anyone protesting at his rallies.
Let’s not forget Trump’s disparaging remarks about John McCain being less than a war hero. And this is the same Trump who, in classic charlatan fashion, promulgated a “birther war” against President Barack Obama.
Trump’s rallies and campaign stops have included the manhandling of a female journalist by a member of his team, the wearing of racially charged T-shirts and the delivery of sucker punches to protesters by his followers. The Chicago rally became an all-out brawl.
This is despicable, surreal and beyond disturbing. For a moment, I had a flashback to the 1960s, wondering if this was a riot battling segregation and inequality.
Perhaps, as Eugene Robinson stated in his column (TNT, 3-15), the Chicago protest may very well be noted as “the dawn of the resistance” to this caustic Trumpology. The remaining campaign months will be the deciding moments for the current Republican Party.
But let us not forget the divisive nature of this party over the last eight years. Its tenor has not been that of the party of Abraham Lincoln, or of the party of George H.W. Bush. Remember, it was Bush who spoke of the need for “a thousand points of light,” making a communal call for service and volunteerism in America.
Today’s Republicans have allowed an obstructionist faction to block any initiative Obama presents. I wonder if this has been pure backlash to an African-American president and all of the emotions associated with leadership change and political progress or pure arrogance.
This form of gridlock has created a disillusioned populace that no longer accepts politics as usual. So, yes, politicians on both sides of the aisle should be listening to the whispers behind the wind.
If the Republicans want to ensure that civility, humanity, grace and benevolence are brought back to their party, perhaps they should rally around Kasich. He has not been pitching polarizing angles, vitriol and mean-spiritedness. He seems to possess a genuinely grounded moral compass, embodying forward-thinking policy ideas. And he has absolutely refused to grovel in the mud or to volley venomous ad hominem attacks against his opponents.
Let us hope that Trump’s pandering to the dark side – and his exploiting the angst of a country struggling with how to govern itself – has not opened a Pandora’s box. Please, vote with your conscience in our May 24 presidential preference primary.
Sam Chandler of Tacoma has been an educator for more than 30 years. He is a former News Tribune reader columnist.