America The Evil.
To the extent American exceptionalism was ever justified, it was based on the notion that we are the good guys. We were the world leaders in democracy, the icon of freedom. While we may have often fallen short of our aspirations, we at least tried to fulfill our role as world leader in a morally correct manner. We wanted to be the good example for the world in hopes others would emulate our model of democracy, freedom and doing right to all. Even the Superman comics affirmed that he fought for “truth, justice and the American way” because truth and justice was the American way.
Now we have, as a people, come to embrace untruths and evil. We elected a President whose closest friends are the most brutal and evil dictators in the world. From Kim Jong-un to Putin to Duterte these are the people our President speaks of most fondly and appears to identify with as kindred spirits. Our President has, in a calculated manner, provided propaganda support to these regimes. Most recently he gave the genocidal North Korean leader a propaganda bonanza that justified his reign of terror. With gushing praise, our President described this murderous despot as an honest man who “loves his people.” Our President even justified the brutality of his regime on grounds Kim Jong-un came to power at a young age and was very talented and successful.
Trump’s amoral nature is revealed not only by how he treats America’s enemies, but by how he treats our supposed friends. Trump regularly disparages the leaders of the civilized world in bitter terms. Trump regards men like Justin Trudeau of Canada as enemies imposing economic sanctions against his country and threatening to cost him a lot of money. While lavishing praise upon the likes of Kim Jong-un, he tweets insults at Trudeau and other Western allies. This Administration went so far as to declare “there is a special place in Hell” for the Prime Minister of Canada. He treats our NATO partners like forgotten trash and regularly insults them. His tweets pander to white nationalists even in Great Britain.
At our southern border, he rips children from their parents in the name of “deterrence.” In other words, our nation has now embraced a policy of deliberately traumatizing children to teach their parents a lesson. Among decent and civilized people, traumatizing children to punish their parents must be regarded as among the most barbaric and evil acts imaginable.
More recently, the President has repeatedly suggested he is doing this to gain political leverage for Congress to fund his wall.
Trump is separating children from parents for the “valued added” the cruelty to children provides. The cruelty to children provides added value in deterrence. The cruelty to children provides added value in political leverage to get funding for his wall. The more the cruelty, the more the value added. It’s basically state sponsored terrorism.
This policy is so indefensible that the President dishonestly tries to blame it on the opposing party, claiming it is up to that party (which is in the minority in both Houses) to change the laws. Even Hitler was honest enough to take credit for what Germany was doing to Jews.
Even more frightening is to hear the President’s supporters defend this policy. It’s clear that in their minds they feel this is justified because they don’t regard these people as fully human. Rather, these desperate seekers of America’s opportunities are portrayed as “invaders.” Words like “invaders” and “invasion” are deliberate in their suggestion that these women and children are an enemy to be defeated. Like all enemies, they are dehumanized. This dehumanization includes smearing them collectively as criminals.
As not-quite-humans, stripping parents of their children to warehouse in child concentration camps is justified. It’s okay for kennel puppies, right? While in some academic sense Trump’s supporters will say they understand the immigrants are human, it’s clear they don’t actually feel that way about them. Certainly, they don’t feel compelled to treat them as fellow humans.
America used to be the good guys. We used to advance the causes and values of freedom, truth and the rule of law by at least aspiring to do what was morally right across the world. In terms of truth, we now accept the routine of lying from our President so thoroughly that we just don’t care about it at all anymore. Among his followers it is not a reason to think less of him, and maybe a reason to think more of him.
In Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” a malevolent and evil demagogue takes power in America. He does so legally, by convincing enough voters to elect him. His appeal to voters is a mix of crass language and nativist ideology. He energizes his base by attacking immigrants, people on welfare, and the liberal press. While not a quote from the book, some have summarized Lewis’ story with the line, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
It has happened here. We are now the bad guys. Our President has turned the United States of America into an evil nation. If we continue to accept his actions were are responsible for them.