“God wanted Trump to become president.”
“Trump was chosen by God to protect religious values.”
“He’s on an assignment from God.”
“President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”
All of these are real quotes said in defense of Donald Trump. Some came from politicians, some from people within his administration, and others from prominent Evangelical supporters. Such defenses have been trumpeted since the 2016 election, and they’ve only grown more frequent. They view Trump as some sort of savior, likening him to Queen Esther or King Cyrus. They maintain that he saved the country from the tyranny of Hillary and the Democrats by coming to protect the soul of our country during its hour of need.
It all sounds completely ludicrous, right?
I scoffed at these laughable quotes as well. Trump is the antithesis of everything Christians believe in. He is a criminal, a racist, and a misogynistic philanderer. He is an incompetent, corrupt, greedy buffoon. He completely lacks decency, humility, empathy, and intelligence, which are traits one needs in order to be a good leader. He is a pathological liar, a man incapable of telling the truth, and when confronted with irrefutable evidence that he lied, he doubles down and lashes out, screaming “FAKE NEWS!” or worse, does/says something even worse in an attempt to distract. Most of his policies are rooted in hatred and ignorance, and he refuses to listen to evidence to the contrary, no matter how overwhelming and damning that evidence may be.
Trump is, by any measure, a deplorable excuse for a human being. He is precisely the kind of person that Christians point to as an example of the worst ills of humanity, the sinner who will burn in Hell for eternity. According to Christian theology, he can’t even be a true Christian because he’s never asked God for forgiveness. Surely, no God would choose such a man to be our president, would they?
After my initial reaction of laughing, I started to examine this claim in more detail. Maybe there was a degree of truth to it in some strange way. I am agnostic, preferring spirituality to faith or religion, but I believe that everything happens for a reason; whether it is the work of God or Gods or simply fate, I do not know, but I believe a reason exists nonetheless. We aren’t always meant to know those reasons, and even when there’s something to be learned, it isn’t always easy to discern. So I asked the question: could there be a lesson we need to learn from Trump being president?
The first answer I came to was somewhat superficial, but I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong. Given his record support among the Evangelical community and his inability to tell even the simplest truth, many, myself included, view him as a sort of false prophet. When I first started examining this question, I began to wonder if Trump’s candidacy could have been a test; could God or fate be testing people to see if they can recognize a false prophet? Within the texts of most religions are parables that serve as warnings about the dangers of false prophets, so I don’t see this as very far-fetched.
There may be some truth to this, but I don’t think it’s the real answer to my question, instead being an unrelated secondary reason. It’s too narrow an answer to be applicable to the country as a whole. Trump’s candidacy and presidency do exist for a reason, but I’ve come to realize that it’s one few people realize because it has to do with the uncomfortable and painful truths we work so hard to suppress and bury.
In short, Trump is president because it’s a chance for us to come face to face with the fact that our country’s entire history is one of darkness, greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, narcissism, and violence. He ran on the promise to “Make America Great Again”, but he is actually a mirror for our country. He shows the worst parts of who we are and have been, particularly those things we still avoid coming to terms with. Having such a prominent example of the worst ills of our country lead it may seem counterintuitive, but I believe this happened because these are things we cannot continue to ignore. We must face these difficult truths so that we can finally make our country and the world a better place.
So the question now is, what terrible misdeeds and traits of our country does Trump represent? Given the countless number of terrible, dark stains on our country’s history, a full accounting of how Trump represents them could easily fill an entire book. However, given the kind of person and president Trump is, there are three particularly egregious areas that cannot go unnoticed: Hatred and Racism, Greed, and Reliability.
- Hatred and Racism
The first area, hatred and racism, is perhaps the most obvious. Trump is indisputably a racist, and his rhetoric proves it. He has demonized immigrants since declaring his candidacy (remember him calling them “rapists and thugs”?). He called African countries “shitholes”. He was one of the most ardent proponents of the racist Birther conspiracy. Former aides, as well as his former lawyer Michael Cohen, have noted that he regularly denigrates and mocks minorities, even using vile racial slurs. Even before he ran for office, he was known to be a racist; in the 1970s, both he and his father were sued for violating the Fair Housing Act in their discriminatory housing practices, which they later settled (though they refused to admit any wrongdoing). Their racism was so vile and blatant that folk singer Woody Guthrie, who once rented an apartment from them, wrote a song about it.
Trump doesn’t stop at just being racist, however. He also pushes policies that are anti-LGBTQ and misogynistic. He has pushed for a ban on transgender people in the military (which is still working its way through the courts as of this writing). His administration has undone rules and regulations put in place by Obama to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace and in healthcare. His HUD secretary, Ben Carson, is currently pushing through a regulation to ban transgender people from being able to use federally funded shelters. He’s supportive of virtually eliminating abortion access (despite the fact that he was pro-choice for his entire life until he declared his candidacy in 2015, something that should have raise a red flag with his supporters) and is on record as saying he will not nominate any judge unless they are anti-abortion. He is on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, and has also been proven to have paid off at least two women during the 2016 election.
These are just a few of the ways in which Trump is a hateful, bigoted, racist, misogynistic man; a full accounting would likely fill a book or two. But it cannot be said that our country as a whole is necessarily much better. Things have improved immensely over the past few decades, but under Trump, we’ve actually taken several steps back. Racists and white supremacists have been emboldened by his hateful rhetoric and refusal to call them out, which has led to a spike in hate crimes since the election. Islamophobia is once again becoming mainstream, as is anti-LGBTQ sentiment. Trump hasn’t made America great again; he’s simply made it okay to hate again.
Given his propensity for hatred, how can we not see the parallels between Trump and our country’s history of racism and hatred? He is the symbol of the truth we have tried to ignore and bury for so long. We like to pretend that racism and sexism are relics of the past, but they’re still very much part of our society.Innocent black people are still being pulled over simply for driving while black and are still being murdered by our police. A massive wage gap still exists for minorities and women (and particularly for women of color). Women are still subjected to a great deal of sexual harassment in the workplace (though this appears to be changing, albeit slowly, thanks to the #MeToo movement). LGBTQ people still have no guarantee that they won’t be fired, be able to get healthcare, or even be able to buy a wedding cake. The rights and sovereignty of Native Americans are under attack once again as corrupt politicians (including Trump himself) are pushing to build an ill-conceived oil pipeline through sacred land.
All of these deplorable things and more continue to happen every single day because we refuse to address the truth. We continually refuse to come to terms with the hateful, racist deeds of our past, which guarantees they will continue to be repeated. This isn’t about atonement or making reparations, but about learning both why things are wrong, and how they continually lead to problems within society. America today is still rife with systemic racism and sexism, and all of it can be directly traced to our refusal to actually admit that we were wrong or truly understand the consequences of our actions.
Think about the major steps our country has taken in the fight for civil rights. The abolition of slavery, granting citizenship to African-Americans, the right to vote being granted to non-whites and then to women, the striking down of anti-miscegenation laws and the end of legally sanctioned segregation. All of these came only after a long and difficult fight. Blood was shed and lives were lost to move our country forward. But that movement was slow and begrudging. Yes, over time, the country largely accepted that things had changed, but that doesn’t mean we actually accepted the change itself; rather, many simply accepted that continued fighting was pointless. Those opposed to these changes continued to be opposed. Few people actually changed their views. As a result, society at large never actually addressed the underlying problem or even admitted it was wrong; this is why racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia are still so embedded in our society. We accepted these things and normalized them because we never admitted they were wrong.
Trump is the embodiment of this problem for three distinct reasons. First, he is without a doubt a racist. However, I do not believe his racial views are born from malice; instead, they are born of ignorance, which is the second reason. Trump is a remarkably ignorant and dim human being. He cannot grasp simple concepts, and his vocabulary level is among the lowest of any president in history. This in turn creates the third reason, which is that because he is so astonishingly ignorant, he has never in his life admitted he was wrong. Because he cannot admit he was wrong about something, Trump is thus incapable of learning from his mistakes, which makes it certain he’ll continue to make them.
It should. This is the cycle we’ve been trapped in with regards to racism for our country’s entire history. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, whether they are born of ignorance or malice, aren’t questioned by the masses, which leads to ignorance about whether they are right or wrong. This in turn leads to an inability to admit that such things are wrong, meaning we can’t learn from the mistake. Not learning from mistakes guarantees that they will happen again. Many even defend such views because they were taught not to question them; to quote Thomas Paine, “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Trump is a pertinent example of this because he was quite literally taught to never admit he was wrong, and his narcissism and ego make it impossible for him to even admit it to himself. He holds the same archaic and ignorant attitudes towards race, gender, and sexuality that continue to hold our society back from achieving true equality. He shows how so many people in this country refuse to admit they are wrong, even when faced with overwhelming evidence, facts, and science. He is showing us exactly the mentality we must get rid of if we ever hope to create a more just and equal world.
The second flaw Trump represents is perhaps the most obvious. It is impossible to look at his history as a businessman, real estate magnate, and casino mogul without practically seeing his name as a synonym for greed. While we can’t fault him for wanting to be profitable in his ventures, we can and should fault him for his lifelong lust for money and power.
Trump has always bragged about his success as a businessman, but his record shows a man who failed at nearly every venture he engaged in. He constantly entered into grandiose schemes designed to bring him vast amounts of wealth, and when they inevitably failed, he blamed others and was bailed out by his father. Many of his businesses failed so badly that their names are now used as jokes and pejoratives, such as Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, and the Trump Shuttle.
We now know that much of his wealth was derived from fraud, which is why he has refused to release his tax returns. The New York Times examined the few returns of his that are accessible, as well as decades of his fathers, and found a level of fraud and theft rarely seen. Some of it was actually legal, such as writing off his substantial losses on his taxes; from 1985 to 1995, he accrued nearly $1 billion in losses, and due to a quirk in the tax code passed in 1995 (which was, to Congress’ credit, fixed quite rapidly), he was able to write them off and avoid paying taxes. Under the 1995 tax code, he was legally able to do this each year for as long as there were losses to write off, and given that his 2005 return (the next year available) does not have these losses listed, it isn’t unreasonable to assume he didn’t pay taxes for as much as a decade.
This was, however, just the tip of the iceberg. Most of his father’s bailouts (which total more than $400 million in today’s dollars) came in the form of illicit tax schemes and illegal gifts; one of the more notorious examples was his father having an associate buy several million dollars’ worth of chips at one of Donald’s casinos without using them or cashing them in, which actually resulted in a hefty fine for violating New Jersey gaming laws. The New York Times investigation found that Trump also repeatedly cheated on taxes by intentionally undervaluing his assets, in some cases by tens of millions of dollars. All told, the Times estimated that Trump and his family defrauded both the Federal government and the state of New York out of hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of decades.
As if such blatant fraud wasn’t damning enough, Trump also tried to steal from his father, the same person who repeatedly bailed him out of financial trouble. Per the New York Times:
“In December 1990, Donald Trump sent his father a document that left him both angered and alarmed. It was a codicil seeking to make a variety of changes to Fred Trump’s will. Among them: strengthening provisions that made Donald Trump sole executor of his estate. But amid Mr. Trump’s financial shambles — it was the month of the $3.5 million Trump’s Castle rescue — Fred Trump feared that the document potentially put his life’s work at risk, that his son might use the empire as collateral to save his own failing businesses, according to depositions given years later during a family dispute.
Fred Trump rebuffed the maneuver, refusing to sign the codicil. But the episode prompted a family reckoning: Fred Trump was aging and ailing. Without speedy intervention, he could die leaving a vast estate — not just his real estate empire, but also tens of millions of dollars in cash — vulnerable to the 55 percent inheritance tax.
So with Donald Trump playing a central role, the family formulated a plan that included unorthodox tax strategies that experts told The Times were legally dubious and, in some cases, appeared to be fraudulent.”
Trump quite literally tried to force his father to rewrite his will to better benefit himself. It seems like something out of a movie, but it actually happened. Moreover, the family was still able to ensure that Fred’s vast fortune was passed in a way that avoided the inheritance tax, and at least some the tactics used appear to have been illegal. This is a level of greed and selfishness rarely seen.
Sadly, our country’s history is mired in an even worse level of greed. This country was founded on land that was already inhabited by Native Americans who had lived here for thousands of years. The country expanded by taking that land from them, usually by force. Millions of Natives were slaughtered simply because we wanted the land they lived on. Lust for land and physical resources hasn’t been limited to just this continent, however; we have invaded numerous countries in just the last century PURELY because they had some resource we wanted. There have been two wars in Iraq in my lifetime, and it is widely believed that the true motivation of both was oil (at the very least, it is now common knowledge that George W. Bush lied about the true motivations of the second Iraq War). When the monarchy was reinstalled in Iran in 1953 during a coup d’état orchestrated by both the US and Britain, we openly admitted that it was about maintaining access to their oil reserves. During the 1960s through the 1990s, we backed multiple coups and insurgencies throughout South and Central America, mostly under the guise of combatting Communism, but in actuality to install dictators that would be more amenable to our interests.
The numerous invasions we’ve committed and coups we’ve backed have cost millions of lives, both American and foreign, both during the invasion and in the years following due to the brutality of the governments we install. However, we’ve done just as much damage by cozying up to dictators already in place. Brutal African warlords, who have committed some of the worst human rights abuses imaginable, control many of the mines from which we get precious metals and gemstones, but we continue buying from them nonetheless. Most rare earth metals, which are used in many things from common electronics to specialized scientific equipment, are currently produced by China, whose human rights record speaks for itself, yet we continue buying them.
Our country’s hands are stained a deep shade of red from the blood of the dead and suffering because we care more about the almighty dollar than a human life. Our own citizens suffer needlessly because our government can’t be bothered to help them. Greed has sapped us of our ability to empathize, which means we willing turn a blind eye to those who are most vulnerable and most in need. Tens of millions of people in this country are living at or below the poverty line, struggling to shelter, food, and medicine. Hundreds of thousands sleep on the streets every night. Veterans, thousands of whom are homeless, have great difficulty getting even routine healthcare, despite being promised coverage by our government. Our entire economic system has long been designed for enriching and empowering the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.
We’ve had these problems for most of our country’s history, but under Trump’s leadership, these policies have proliferated and worsened.Greed is more blatant now than it has been in decades. The growth and wealth created by his new tax code was concentrated almost entirely among billionaires.His administration has rolled back regulations on banks, credit card companies, and payday lenders that protect consumers. The wealth gap has widened and wage growth has largely stagnated. The majority of middle class taxpayers saw substantial net decreases in their tax refunds this year, yet corporations and the ultra-wealthy enjoyed massive tax cuts, with many paying nothing. With so much pandering to the wealthy and corporations, many are now suggesting we’ve entered a “New Gilded Age”, and this probably isn’t far from the truth (though there are fortunately still many laws and regulations preventing the kind of abuses we saw during the original Gilded Age of the late 19th century).
Trump caused this latest surge of wealth to the top, but he’s also the symbol of the greed that has plagued our country from the beginning. He was a millionaire before he could walk, and was raised with the sense of entitlement that is so common among the wealthy. He believes that if he wants something, he has a right to have it, and to hell with what anyone thinks. He believes that rules and consequences, and even the law, do not apply to him. The only things that matter to him are his own ego and finding ways to enrich himself, particularly at the expense of others. This mentality is a perfect description of how our country’s economy and foreign affairs have worked for over 200 years.
Ironically, Trump’s numerous and spectacular failures are equally symbolic of our country’s obsession with greed. Most of his business ventures were abject failures, and many have suggested that he would have made more money had he simply invested his inheritance in index funds instead of using it for his own business ventures (there’s a lot of debate on this, but no conclusive answer because it depends on how you run the math; additionally, it’s hard to compare because we still don’t know his true net worth due to his refusal to release his tax returns, though available records suggest it to be around $2.3 billion). His business have declared bankruptcy at least six times, and no bank in the United States will loan him a penny because of his appalling business record. He has been involved in thousands of lawsuits for things ranging from failing to pay people to cheating people to devaluing property and assets all the way to flagrantly violating labor and civil rights laws. Yet, despite this, he was able to continue doing business and is still doing business even now (and yes, he is still doing business even while president; he may not be overseeing day-to-day operations, but he has never divested himself from his companies, meaning he is still involved to at least some degree and still making money).
The survival of Trump as a businessman despite so many abject failures shows how our country has always rewarded the wealthy and powerful, even when they fail. Trump should have lost everything on numerous occasions, but he was bailed out every time. Sometimes it was his father, sometimes it was banks giving him money he didn’t deserve, and on many occasions, it was taxpayers, but he was never allowed to truly fail. As such, he’s never learned the powerful lessons that can only come with failing, but neither have we. We continually allow the wealthy to lie, cheat, steal, and abuse their power in every way imaginable, but we don’t do anything to stop such behavior. Even when we have, such efforts inevitably get undone; after the 2008 recession, President Obama helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and passed rules and regulations designed to help rein in some of the abuses, but Trump has worked tirelessly to undo all of this. The CFPB still exists, but it has done virtually nothing since he came into power (and has in fact dropped several investigations) and he has rolled back dozens of regulations that were specifically designed to protect consumers. Unfortunately, this isn’t even new; this is a vicious cycle that has happened time and time again.
Greed has been a constant, toxic companion since before our country was founded. One cannot look at Trump without seeing greed. Given our country’s long obsession with greed, it almost makes sense for such a man to be so prominent because we must come to terms with our own history of greed. We cannot continue to ignore the stains of blood and the terrible deeds we’ve done in the name of enriching ourselves. Just as with racism, we cannot create a more equal and just society until we stop giving into our lust for power and wealth. Having such an undeniable example of this right before our eyes might just be what we need to finally come to terms with our dark past.
Reliability is perhaps the least obvious of these points, but it is no less important. For the purposes of this essay, I am referring to two kinds of reliability: the ability to keep a promise, and the ability to tell the truth.
The first category, keeping promises, is not quite as obvious, but it’s quite possibly the more important of the two. Our country’s history is riddled with broken promises, and Trump is the perfect symbol of this because his own history is one of total unreliability. During the campaign, he styled himself as a master deal maker, and most of his books (most notably “The Art of The Deal”) go out of their way to praise his supposed skill, but most of the deals he was involved in throughout his career were terrible by any objective measure. More to the point, he has reneged on more deals than anyone could begin to count.
Trump’s legal history alone shows how incapable of keeping even a simple promise he is. Analysts have found that he and his companies have been involved in no less than 3,500 lawsuits during his career, most of which involved him reneging on a deal. Hundreds of these were from employees and contractors that he hired and then didn’t pay. Dozens more were for not paying companies, local and state governments, and even his own legal bills. He settled several high-profile cases involving investors and tenants who had put down deposits for units in planned buildings that were never built that he refused to reimburse. In many of these cases, Trump angrily filed spurious countersuits in an attempt to bully those he cheated into backing down, and most of them were settled for undisclosed terms (which proves his claim that he “never settles” to be a flagrant lie).
Perhaps one of the most legendary (yet seemingly unknown today) examples of Trump’s willingness to break a deal occurred when he built Trump Tower in New York City. The lot the tower is on was previously occupied by a Bonwit Teller store, and the building was renowned around the city for its architecture and its two beautiful limestone reliefs. When Trump bought the building in 1980 with the intention of demolishing it to build his tower, he promised to save the limestone reliefs and donate them to the Metropolitan Opera. But in an act of petty vengeance towards all of those who had tried to keep him out of Manhattan, he broke the deal. The reliefs were destroyed with jackhammers. He later made excuses about it being too expensive to remove them, but it is widely known in New York that this is a lie.
Unsurprisingly, Trump has brought this same sense of pettiness about deals to the presidency. He has pulled out of numerous deals since becoming president (and in fact campaigned on doing exactly this), such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Iran Nuclear deal (and in a truly baffling display of pettiness and idiocy, slammed Iran for announcing their intention to enrich uranium above the levels set by the deal over a year after he had already pulled out of the deal), for absolutely no legitimate reason. He has also withdrawn us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA trade agreements, the UN Human Rights Council, and has threatened to leave the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and has given no viable reason for any of these moves aside from crying about “political bias” and how “unfairly” we’ve been treated.
These moves, which have no logic behind them other than pettiness, have shocked the country and the world, and have made us fundamentally less safe. Geopolitical tensions have skyrocketed, our relations with even our closest allies have soured, and the consequences of climate change may already be irreversible. Withdrawing us from so many deals and treaties also makes it difficult for us to enter into deals in the future because countries can no longer trust that we will stay in a deal after a new president comes into office. Why should any country sign a deal with us when a future president could undo it with a stroke of their pen?
Sadly, questions about our reliability are nothing new. As with racism and greed, even a cursory look at our history shows that we have no qualms about breaking a deal if it suits us. Some of the violations are obvious and well-known, such as the Bush-era torture program being in blatant defiance of the Geneva Conventions. Others are practically unknown today, but speak worlds about how unreliable our foreign policy has always been. A prominent example is our violation of the Mallarino-Bidlack treaty during the construction of the Panama Canal; the treaty, signed decades before, granted us certain transit rights in what is now Panama (it was still part of Columbia, then New Granada, at the time) in exchange for promising to help suppress any attempts at independence. When Panama declared independence from Columbia in 1903, we backed them, despite promising to do precisely the opposite. Moreover, we actively stymied Columbia’s attempt to quell the rebellion by slowing down their troops. We willfully broke a treaty simply because building the canal was easier if we negotiated directly with Panama.
Unfortunately, the most powerful and terrible example of our unwillingness to respect our own deals didn’t happen abroad. It happened as our country forced Native Americans off of their ancestral lands. As the United States expanded westward, there were countless confrontations between settlers and tribes, some of which actually erupted into wars. Until 1871 (when the US Code was amended to no longer recognize tribes as sovereign entities), we entered into hundreds of treaties with various tribes (the exact number is somewhat disputed, though an exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian found at least 370 ratified treaties) to end such confrontations and open up new lands for settlement, and we violated or broke every single one of them in some way.
Think about that for a second. Out of nearly 400 treaties with Native Americans (some sources say there have been more than 500), there isn’t a SINGLE ONE that we didn’t break. Untold thousands died because we decided to ignore treaties. In at least one instance, we even willfully violated a Supreme Court ruling; in Worcester v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that Native American tribes were sovereign entities, meaning that only the federal government could engage in any kind of negotiation with them and that they were outside the jurisdictions of states (the case was specifically about a Georgia law prohibiting non-Natives from being on Native land). President Andrew Jackson willfully and intentionally ignored this ruling and forcibly relocated Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears. With such a vile history of unreliability and violence, it’s nothing short of miraculous that any country is willing to sign any kind of deal with us.
Unfortunately, an inability to keep a promise or adhere to a deal is only part of the problem Trump symbolizes. As I noted in the beginning of this section, reliability also refers to being able to trust that what someone says is truthful. Trump is, to quote Ted Cruz, “a pathological liar.” We all know that politicians lie with ease, but Trump has taken this to a previously inconceivable level. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has examined Trump’s many statements, speeches, and tweets, and has found that as of June 7, 2019, he “has made 10,796 false or misleading claims” since taking office. This number is from more than a month ago, but one only has to turn on the television to know it’s grown considerably since then. Analyses of some of his recent tweets and statements have shown yet more lies; for example, on July 22, Trump talked briefly about Mueller’s scheduled Congressional testimony, and managed to lie six times in 90 seconds.
We’ve had plenty of previous presidents who had difficulty in telling the truth. Clinton was impeached for lying, and Nixon would have been impeached had he not resigned (the first Article of Impeachment against him specifically notes that he obstructed justice by, among many other acts, knowingly and intentionally making false statements to the American people). But we’ve never had a president that was this dishonest, that was this incapable of admitting even the simplest of truths. Trump clearly believes that what he says IS the truth, even when the facts say otherwise. He seems to believe that his words can somehow transmute the fabric of reality so that what he says is magically true. The danger of such delusion cannot be overstated, and it is just one of many things that renders him completely unfit to be president.
Whether or not he is fit to serve is beyond the bounds of this essay, however. The point I’m making here is that like his racism and greed, his inability to adhere to a deal or tell even the simplest truth are a symbol of our own failures. We have intentionally ignored our country’s unreliability, both at home and abroad, for most of our history, preferring to paint ourselves as some golden example for the rest of the world to follow. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We break deals whenever we feel like it, and we lie about the true motivations behind our actions constantly. I grant that sometimes bending the truth is warranted, given the complexity of geopolitical relations, but there’s a time and a place for such things. We have done this far more than we ever should have, and we have lied not just to other countries, but to ourselves as well. There is no better symbol of this than Trump, and we must learn from his example that we cannot continue down this path.
Too many have already suffered and died because we refuse to admit the truth, and we cannot continue this cycle indefinitely. Trump shows us that not adhering to deals and lying aren’t the way forward; such behavior will only continue to make relations both domestic and foreign difficult and tense. We must end the cycle if we ever hope to have a more unified country and world.
Now that I’ve laid out my primary points, this is normally the part of the essay where I start wrapping things up. Unfortunately, recent events must be taken into account, and they necessitate a re-examination of my first point. A little over a week ago, Trump sent out a tweet suggesting that four Congresswomen, all of whom are women of color, should go back to the “places from which they came”. Since then, he has been roundly condemned by most of the country as a racist (though Fox News and his supporters have stood staunchly by him). To add insult to injury, at a rally a few days later, he attacked these Congresswomen again, and after attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar, the audience chanted “Send her back!” Trump did nothing to stop this disgusting display of racism; on the contrary, he stood in silence for a full 15 seconds, looking around the room while they chanted. In the days since, he has changed his story multiple times, from first claiming he tried to stop the chant (a blatant lie) to saying he wasn’t happy with it (also a lie, as evidenced by his continued attacks on the four Congresswomen that use precisely the same language) to defending the audience as “great patriots.”
He, along with his supporters, has defended himself with semantics arguments, claiming that his intent wasn’t a racial attack. But as someone who grew up being severely bullied, I know that words can hurt as much as a fist and that intent isn’t as relevant as how people hear and interpret words. Every single person that bullied me used intent as a defense when they were caught by a parent or teacher; it was a pathetic excuse then, just as it is now. It doesn’t matter what Trump says about this display or his tweets. They are the dictionary definition of racist. Telling someone to “go back to where [they] came from” is a racist trope nearly as old as the United States. Nearly every person of color has heard this bigotry. It’s such a well-known racist line that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission LITERALLY DEFINES it as racist harassment. Wikipedia has an ENTIRE PAGE discussing the meaning and history behind the phrase. Most news outlets are now outright referring to his tweets and the chant as racist (though they have largely refrained from calling Trump himself a racist), which is astounding because they generally refrain from such judgment, and I for one applaud them for doing so.
Given this vile, naked racism, I must reexamine my point about racism because this somewhat alters my conclusion (though it doesn’t render it inaccurate). I opined that Trump’s racism wasn’t born of ignorance, and I stand by that opinion, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a malicious person. He is a petty, vengeful narcissist who can’t let even a tiny insult or slight on his character slide. As such, though his racism was born of ignorance, it is empowered by his malice. He can’t stop himself from lashing out, and he’s willing to use any tools at his disposal to do it, regardless of how amoral they may be. That he is willing to stoop to such amorality, let alone defend it, shows that he truly has no moral center whatsoever, and there’s only one word to describe such a person: evil.
I don’t use that word lightly. Nor do I use it simply because I oppose Trump. I use it because it is true. Only an evil person could say what Trump has said and see nothing wrong with it. Only an evil person could say that a statement that is LITERALLY DEFINED AS RACISM BY A FEDERAL AGENCY as racial harassment isn’t racist. The Oxford English Dictionary defines evil as “Morally depraved, bad, wicked, vicious,” and there can be no better description of Trump. This makes him a truly perfect symbol of the racism that has always plagued our country; racism may more often than not be born of ignorance, but it often breeds malice and evil. We must learn from this example because we cannot allow such hatred to continue to exist.
Trump’s recent displays of vile racism make my first point perhaps the most important in this essay, but it doesn’t render my other two points less important. Our country’s history of greed and unreliability cannot be ignored. Those traits have caused just as much suffering and death as racism, if not more. Moreover, all three of these traits often comingle; the Trail of Tears, for example, was a combination of all three. These traits are reprehensible by themselves, but when they combine, they show just how despicable both a country and a single human being can be.
That’s the real reason Trump is president. It isn’t because God chose him as some sort of savior. It’s because he is the lesson we need to learn. He symbolizes us at our absolute worst. We cannot created a more unified country or world so long as we cling to racism, greed, and unreliability. But we also cannot move forward so long as we deny these things. To deny one’s own history is to ensure it happens again, and our country’s history is mired in exactly this kind of cycle. One only needs to open a history book to see it.
The fact that so many still defend Trump, despite the overwhelming evidence that he is racist, that he cares only about enriching himself, and that he cannot stay in a deal or tell even a simple truth shows how far we still have to go. We must see Trump for exactly what he is, and we must learn from his despotic nature.
History shows us the darkness that awaits if we don’t.
Originally published at http://uncoveringthemanwithin.blogspot.com.