Saturday, May 20, 2017

How authoritarian is Trump?

The president shows alarming tendencies toward  authoritarianism. By firing the FBI Director who was investigating his campaign connections to the hostile foreaign power, Russia, by showing admiration for authoritarian rulers like Putin and Erdogan, by telling the FBI Director that journalists should be imprisoned, he gives me reason to fear him. 

But, I have reason to hope that his desires for authoritarian rule will peter out, for two reasons. 

First, Trump himself doesn't seem to have the gravitas to be a dictator. He has no passionate agenda other than ego gratification in him. Plus, he doesn't have the focus and stamina to follow through to create a totalitarian state. 

Second, and more importantly, the country doesn't want a dictator. 

Without the Nazis, Hitler was just a loud mouthed nut. The Hitler Youth, the Brown Shirts, were authoritarian thugs driven be racist pride and love of cruelty to carry out their leader's quest for racial supremacy.  Hitler had enough of the vicious to support him that he was able to take over the country and slaughter tens of millions. 

It is true that actual white supremacists support Trump, that actual people longing for authoritarian leadership support him, but I believe they are very much just a scary minority. I believe the bulk of Trump support comes from just plain old fashioned conseratives trying to establish the agenda of the Conservative Movement. 

Trump is being, and will be, thwarted by men and women of integrity and honor who see the threat of authoritarianism. America, and the ideals and honor of American democracy, will prevail, I am convinced.