By Ramón Del Castillo, PhD
President Donald Trump has repeatedly crossed the line between América fulfilling its creed of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of the people, for the people and by the people into one that can be characterized as authoritarian. One prime characteristic that is often used to describe authoritarianism is the leader expecting blind submission to his or orders rather than seeking out advice from policy experts, which violates the principle of freedom of thought and action. Trump leans in this direction.
Authoritarian leaders value order and control over personal freedom, dictating commands that ostensibly violate constitutional rights. Trump’s whimsical decision-making has caused international embarrassment—something that he is impervious to. This fits into his narcissistic profile as he incipiently transforms what is left of a spineless government into a dictatorship. Some members of his inner circle have lost trust in his leadership. Some Republicans have spoken out, others have left the party.
Trump displays idiosyncratic characteristics setting him apart from other presidents that have governed this nation. He has continuously insulted his own appointed civil servants through his innocuous statements and outright lies. His words are fraught with inconsistencies, hyperbole when it meets his selfish needs and overt contradictions. His braggadocios statements regarding his wealth—swimming in luxuriant affluence—seems to be contradictory as debtors are waiting in line to be paid. He has filed umpteen bankruptcies, which leads one to believe that his words are inconsistent and illusionary. He has backed himself into a corner with no defenses and continues to make gigantic blunders. His race baiting attacks against immigrants are extensions of his prejudices—now overt manifestations of racism—aimed at anyone outside of his white supremacist model. A good example of this overt behavior is his sole decision on a “zero tolerance” policy on immigration aimed at Central and South Americans and Mexicans– as he paints Latin/o immigrants as thieves, drug dealers and gang bangers. His abhorrent practice of detaining immigrant children and separating families is very insensitive and outright cruel. Children should never be used as pawns in political warfare.
When Do You Cross the Line?
The President has spent billions of dollars financing ICE and privatizing public detention centers for his business cronies—places where human rights abuses occur daily. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports a dramatic increase of the immigrant detention population wherein ICE has contracted with facilities such as for-profit prison corporations to manage detainees. The ACLU further states that many of these facilities “operate outside of the purview of public oversight and accountability.” Conditions are reported as being inhumane. One significant report, accused ICE workers of “roughly 600 instances of sexual and physical abuse.”
Justice should never be compromised in a civil society where free association and associational autonomy are the key ingredients to freedom. Justice should never succumb to irrational arguments, absurd justifications and incorrect interpretations. Justice is not a commodity for sale to the highest bidder. It is an implied contract between freedom loving people and its government working with the populace towards a common good. A civil society depends on collaboration between and among freedom lovers and a government that has established a Constitution—holding it in dear regard as a sacred document. No one should be immune from the rule of law, irrespective of what position he or she holds. To violate the Constitution is to break faith with the people. Any gesture that double crosses the society’s constituents can be construed as treasonous. Justice is not wet clay that can be molded and shaped according to the whims of a malignant and narcissistic autocrat whose behavior resembles a spoiled child. The reality is that we have someone in the United States presidency that meets the criteria of an authoritarian, leanly towards a dictatorship.
And although, the Democrats vow to reclaim the house at midterm elections, they are overshadowed by fear. Being overly cautious can backfire in those races where Democrats are afraid to rock the boat. Politicians have fallen prey to idle threats and becoming apprehensive about standing up for what is right. I think it is fair to say that we should not expect the Republicans to take him on. Republicans are more afraid than the Democrats. His stranglehold on the Dixiecrats in the House and Senate has resulted in an ineffective and inefficient government that resembles an autocracy.
It’s time for us to cross the line.
Dr. Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist. © 7-31-2018 Ramón Del Castillo.