BY PROFESSOR RONALD E. SANTONI
How can a human being spew so much venom, speak so many untruths, violate daily so many precepts of morality, civility, and common decency, yet continue to boast of his grandiose abilities? How can a boisterous president, while consistently assassinating truth, be so empty of self awareness that he has the gall to call the most meticulously researched coverage by the world’s most distinguished news outlets “fake news’? Do he or his propagandists not understand this as a technique readily employed by fascist dictators (e.g. Franco, Hitler, and Kim Jong-un)?
How can an official leader of a nation, who professes to be head of the free world, be so jealous of his gracious and gifted predecessor that he would attempt to make the diminishing of the nation’s first Black president a persistent project of his own erratic, racist, and autocratic presidency?
These alone are enough to disqualify Trump as president of an historical democracy. But the list goes on and on. How can the president be so bereft of human compassion that, failing to comprehend the binding love between children and their mothers, he would initiate a frightening policy of separating these grieving souls at border crossings? Moreover, how can a person claiming to be a devout Christian commit repeated adultery and objectification of women, not to mention his devious business manipulations? (Trump’s “fixer” has confessed in court that the President conspired with him to pay multiple thousands of dollars to stop disclosures of two extra-marital affairs.) Finally, how can a US president justify appointing to his cabinet distinctly unqualified political “twins” whose modus operandi is to destroy the concerns for which the offices were created to protect? If this isn’t sickness, vengeance and a nasty, vitriolic use of presidential power- what is?
The answers to these questions are not far from obvious. The US president is, as many have contended, a lover of himself and a lover of power; an extreme narcissist who has an insatiable will to control everybody and everything. He exercises his power to promote himself at the expense of national and world order. Psychology teaches us that narcissists respond to criticism with violence. The president is a psychological, social, and intellectual misfit whose outbursts of craven untruths and emotions, as well as almost daily self-contradictions, make most thoughtful people cringe. He is a man who clearly views money and sex as ultimate concerns, (his “gods”- Tillich), and the presidency as a means for accumulating more of both. His daily preoccupations include watching Fox TV and endlessly tweeting self-defenses against well established claims that he conspired with Russians and that he attempted to cover up his payments for couplings with porn stars. Who should be locked up?.
For the good of the United States and the world, and for his own too, the president needs to resign quickly. He is an insult to the office and makes a mockery of the principles of the founding fathers. We must resist Fascism.
Ronald E. Santoni is Maria Theresa Barney Professor and Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Denison University. Among his books and numerous articles are Bad Faith, Good Faith, and Authenticity, and Sartre on Violence–Curiously Ambivalent.