We should by now know the signs. Disregard for governmental agencies and institutions intended to act as a check on power – you know, like Congress or the rule of law, or common decency.
Or erratic mood wings and foul-mouthed tirades. Or outbursts against the press, and attempts to curtail its access and speech. Or dog whistle political rants aimed at some foreign population – or population of foreigners – same difference to too many people.
Megalomania on steroids, fear-mongering and threats to our way of life – these are straight out of the playbook for every despot, mogul, strong man and dictator since the beginning of time.
The last time the label attached to a U.S. president was with Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon after he’d been caught sabotaging the Democrats and firing the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the situation. Sound familiar?
Back then, the U.S. electorate was outraged at the blatant disregard of the law by Nixon and demanded that Congress do something about it.
Now, half of the country (at least those who vote) wants Trump thrown out into the streets and the other half wants him on a throne. What’s changed?
Well, back then there was a draft. War cost the lives of many Americans who didn’t really want to be there, didn’t understand or believe in the cause (whatever that was) and were treated like shit when they came home. The anti-war movement had coalesced into a major force and was giving the government hell.
Now, we live in a state of endless war and volunteer troops. War has become such a staple in our economy and in our consciousness that we barely remember which countries we’ve invaded. We thank our soldiers for their service, and still treat them like shit (see the high suicide rate of vets and the abysmal state of the V.A.).
Now, we are bombarded by so much information we can’t separate the fact from the lie. And our fifteen-second attention span aligns perfectly with the fifteen-second sound bites we’ve learned to accept as news.
Now, our public education system grinds out graduates like illiterate sausages, and private education is reserved for the moneyed elite. As a result, we mostly lack the ability to engage in critical thinking and have lost the knack of questioning authority.
Now, we’ve been weaned on info-tainment, so it’s only natural that we’d elect a carny-barker reality TV star for president. And that reality star is whipping up the vilest, most intolerant, most ignorant among us as his posse, and will unleash that mob at this command.
He has aspirations to royalty: an imperial president for the twenty-first century. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.