Trump undercuts American democracy

By Donald A. Collins | 20 November 2020
Church and State


Once years ago, I had the personal pleasure of dining with Norman Lear at his home in LA thanks to the recommendation of his able aide Virginia Carter. Only 6 of us and Norman and it was a delightful experience. What a creative genius and he is still alive at 98.

His multiple creations still resonate today, but especially for me his “All In The Family” series with Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker. That Norman is at 98 a proven feminist was evident as when he divorced his 2nd wife Frances, she got over $100 million. Ok, maybe community property law prevailed but still…

I was reminded of Archie Bunker’s personal characteristics when on November 18th, Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump was being interviewed by Don Lemon on his late night CNN program.

Mary’s 2020 insider tell all book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” proved to be a powerfully insightful and comprehensive expose about President Trump’s inner psyche.

It doubtless took courage by her in exposing herself to what doubtless has been difficult attacks, not only from other Trumps and Donald’s inner circle, but also likely from some of those 73 million presumably loyal Americans who voted for Donald Trump despite his well publicized idiosyncrasies.

The continuing likely loyalty of too many of these 73 million who drank Trump’s “cool aid” propaganda stands starkly out as something that could exacerbate the future survival of our democracy. By continuing his manic behavior, Trump keeps trying to agitate and motivate these voters against the overwhelmingly effective democracy we enjoy.

Are these Trump supporting voters largely white uneducated rural Americans? I don’t know. However, the ones I have seen screaming on TV saying Trump won the election or lost because of fraud seem to be mostly white males and females who are either conscious or unconscious of being racists, who continue to believe his lies about how he and they are being screwed by a corrupt system.

Democratic government is certainly not perfect, but as Winston Churchill commented in 1947 “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

This failure to realize the fragility of democracy, Folks, eases the ability of aspiring dictators, who have used that formula throughout history to gain their anti-democratic goals. You recall Yale Professor Timothy D. Snyder’s November 11, 2020 Boston Globe column which you can read again here. The article’s opening title is worth repeating: Trump’s Big Election Lie pushes America toward autocracy; Clinging to power by claiming you are the victim of internal enemies is a very dangerous tactic; Don’t underestimate where this can go.

A 2019 paperback book, “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky is also well worth reading.

In short, as Trump’s niece Mary Trump in effect told TV host Don Lemon in her interview on CNN on November 18th the President cares nothing about his supporters except as they will give him the necessary political clout after he leaves office to perhaps run again—the law permits 2 terms only so Obama or some attractive alternative candidate for example can’t run again.

Meantime his niece is convinced Trump won’t concede defeat or facilitate an orderly transition that since George Washington’s time has historically until now occurred! Obama made Trump’s accession as easy as possible in 2016. The outrage many feel at Trump’s present behavior has not been replicated by most of his party members including Mitch McConnell.

Mary Trump is further convinced he cares nothing about the 250 thousand deaths from COVID.

It has been reported that his White House, where he hunkers down because, as Mary noted “losing” was the worst thing one could do as a Trump, he will be content to ignore any actions on the pandemic except to laud (and claim credit for) the vaccines which are coming but likely not widely available for months!

You could easily and gladly embrace and even laugh at all those characters on Lear’s tv show All In he Family, but not at so many of those in the Trump family. Have Trump’s supporters no shame or embarrassment? Let’s see!

If his current behavior doesn’t tip off his voters about his objective which is to gain great personal undemocratic power, our democratic future will be seriously affected by his ominous presence.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

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