Commentary: Unfit, unqualified, and unwelcome

It is increasingly clear that Donald Trump possesses self-promotion and fortune building skills, but lacks qualities required in a president, or even in a city council member. His abilities made him a reality TV star, but do not translate to governance. Persuasion, empathy, or even the ability to look at the long-term effects of his actions are lacking. Instead of helping the forgotten voters, he has turned their government against them. When challenged, his first response is to strike out, flailing with baseless charges in every direction, empty words with no basis in truth. The erosion of trust in society increases by every utterance he makes against another branch of government.

Clearly, Trump does not command a basic knowledge of how government is structured, shown by his pronouncements about judges, the intelligence communities, or the role of a free press. His repeated admiration for Vladimir Putin is a telltale sign that Trump does not appreciate the ideals of a democracy, or even the basic function of a modern government: to promote the common good. Instead, he sees power and worships it, raising it above the welfare of a nation. His sole interest is the well-being of Donald Trump. Despite Trump’s wishes, we elect presidents not emperors, and time has run out for Trump to become “presidential.”

The actions that brought so much attention to Trump resulted in a strange appeal for his base voters, those so frustrated with the status quo they could not accept a conventional candidate, or those so attracted to what appeared to be a strong candidate that they were willing to overlook the usual slippery morality of politics, and support a man promising to tear down the establishment. Repeatedly, members of his base were quoted as saying that he “says what we are thinking” and he “rejects political correctness,” as if unfiltered speech was somehow more rational than a reasoned opinion.

The post-election period was an opportunity to consider what he accomplished and forge a cohesive direction forward. Winning a presidential election is seen as an extreme trial to prove one’s worthiness to command. Instead, he treated it as a popularity contest, and ignored the most important trust he was given, becoming leader of a whole nation. Instead of reassuring the majority who did not vote for him, he worked to alienate and create more opposition. The vacuum created by his lack of knowledge and morals has caused events to close in around him. His words and deeds have trapped him in a web of his own making.

As if the specter of somehow being involved or beholden to Russia’s current dictator was not enough of a burden, he saddled himself with a man, his closest adviser, whose past contains nothing but division and deceit, a purveyor of alt-right hate. This adviser has expressed his intent to be the ultimate disruptor, and desires to tear down the administrative state.

Prevailing on a platform of tearing down America wasn’t enough, as Trump dragged our national conversation down to a new low. Not content with casting doubt on the state of our institutions, he instinctively used lies and deceit to confuse and distract voters and manipulate the media. The embattled media, desperate for attention, was complicit in not calling out his lies, and in giving him more air time than any other candidate. Despite owing his rise to the media, Trump had no problem turning on them when the term ‘alternative news’ was created to describe his statements. Now there is widespread disbelief in any source. Trump has made the truth subjective. How can a people be governed if they cannot agree on what is true?

How long will the Republican majority in the government enable a man who has repeatedly shown that he has neither the knowledge, temperament, reason or compassion required for such a colossal job? Six weeks into his administration, we have seen how his judgement in choosing people and policy has already resulted in more chaos and scandals than the previous eight years of an administration that faced fierce opposition and world crises. Yet Republicans have no problem backing a man who is morally bankrupt, all for the sake of power for their party and to represent the 1 percent.

What happens when there is a real crisis not caused by Trump or one of his chosen ones? Will there be a reasoned response or will it collapse into an egotistical contest resulting in needless death and destruction?

Steve Foreman is a Warren County resident.