The ugliest presidential campaign in the past century is now history. The oldest, wealthiest, least orthodox, most brazen candidate in history now holds the most powerful position in the world.
What should we expect? Should we be concerned?
One need not pierce the veil of secrecy or penetrate the veneer of finery Donald Trump has assiduously constructed around his various ventures and activities to find the answers. One needs only a casual acquaintance with history, a cursory understanding of character, and a general understanding of three primary lusts - - - the three beasts that invariable devour their keeper - - - ego, avarice and ambition.
Examining what Trump says in anticipating what he may do is naive and futile. Throughout his life, in utterances and in writings, he has repeatedly, knowingly, lied, exaggerated, defamed and made false promises. He has brazenly repeated such calumnies in the face of undeniable proof of their falsity. He has never admitted or expressed regret at such transgressions, unless advancement of self interest made it profitable to do so. To give credence to his utterances is foolhardy. To realize what his utterances reveal about his character requires naught but an appreciation of ethics, morality and integrity, along with a modicum of common sense.
None of us can escape the inexorable formation of our character, or the behavior it imposes on us once it has been formed. Understanding character is the best method of determining what to expect from others. When one understands the feline character it is not hard to fathom what the cat on the canary cage is up to. How has Donald Trump composed his character during his seventy four years on the planet?
Before exploring that question, one must admit that he has admirable qualities. It is beyond dispute that he is decisive, confident, pragmatic, without trepidation, and paternally devout.
It is also beyond dispute that he was privileged from the day he was born. He cannot be blamed for that. No child can select their ancestors. None the less, a childhood of wealth and privilege does nothing to build admirable character. It is much more likely to impose obstacles to it.
When contemplating the character of the rich, powerful and famous, we must take care not to confuse cunning or cleverness with intelligence, avarice with ability, and notoriety with merit. History is replete with those who have cloaked a clever mind, depraved character and colossal ego in mendacious charm, and risen to the pinnacle of power, usually with disastrous results for the public whose indifference or gullibility enabled them to rise.
One must also realize that the most addictive drugs are not clinical, chemical or biological. They are wealth power and fame. Of all the delusions that inflame a disorderly mind and deform character, lust for fame is the most grotesque, lust for wealth the most pernicious, and lust for power the most evil. For purposes of this observation, lust for sexual gratification will be set aside, although it is equally debilitating. All forms of lust have these things in common; They are insatiable, they have no virtue, and they have no conscience.
It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has insatiable lust for wealth and has pursued it with unbridled, unremitting intensity his entire life, often at the expense of others when it serves his interest. He disdains and dismisses them as "losers." He has made it clear while seeking and holding office that he intends to continue. He has refused all information about possible conflicts of interest between his private holdings and his public responsibilities. He has refused to liquidate private holdings, or place them in a blind trust. There is nothing in his conduct, past and present, to indicate he will, as president, set the interests of the public ahead of his own. He arrogantly insists insists he be sole judge of whether or not he does so, and insults our intelligence by expecting us to take his word for it. Self interest has always dominated his life. To believe it will no longer do so strains credulity far past the breaking point.
It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has an insatiable lust for power and has pursued it with unbridled, unremitting intensity. His entire life is one, long record of seeing reality in terms of conflict and contention between people, resulting in winners and losers. He admires, emulates and openly praises those who win, regardless of their methods. He rarely fails to excoriate and demean those who lose, regardless of their merits. He has always maintained and often exercised tyrannical power in all his domains. Baron Acton, more than a century ago, put succinctly what we can expect of Trump. "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are usually bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority." It has also been written that "The purpose of wealth is to obtain and enhance power. The purpose of power is to protect and enhance wealth." There is nothing in Trumps conduct, past or present to indicate he will cease efforts to bend others to his will, exercise judicious, ethical restraint of his newly acquired power, or use it for beneficent public interests rather than his own selfish ends.
It is beyond dispute that Donald Trump has an insatiable lust for fame, and has pursued it his entire life with unbridled, unremitting intensity. He has, in every possible way, indicated overweening love of self and extreme narcissism. His pathological aversion to criticism, his desire to punish critics, his litanies of self praise, his persistent search for notoriety, his fascination with media, his obsession to see his name writ huge on every property or product, are all extreme. His characterization of government entities, media, society, cities, elections, minorities, - - - nearly everything other than his own family and companies - - - as horribly inept, corrupt, and misdirected, and his preposterous claim in an unguarded moment while campaigning that, "I am the only one who can fix it," go beyond narcissism. His lifelong behavior is sociopathic - - - a personality disorder that has no known treatment or cure. We can expect Trump to make manic attempts to write his name huge in history, even if he must write it in blood.
Nothing need be said here about his sexual proclivities. His words and deeds, his selection, classification and treatment of women are there for all to observe, then form what opinion they will of his character in that regard.
What he will do with the immense political power he has now obtained may also be deduced from his year and a half long effort to obtain it. It was an unremitting, unabashed effort to inculcate and exploit fear, suspicion, prejudice, hate and xenophobia; a campaign of accusation and incitement to societal turmoil, disaffection, and divisiveness. He has taken it with him into the oval office.
Liberty, equity, justice, and economic well being caught between a crafty ruler and a credulous citizenry are inevitably crushed. A ruler is as different from a leader as a theft is from a gift. True leaders go before and show the way - - - intellectually, emotionally, and physically - - - with honesty, integrity, dependability, and humility. They educe constructive, beneficent behavior. Rulers command, control and compel in accordance with their mental and emotional vagaries.
We now have in the white house a sociopath with all the attributes of a ruler who often regresses to the emotional petulance common among three year old children. Whether the checks and balances our forefathers built into the constitution can withstand and survive the kind of administration Trump's character and inclinations portend is a serious question. Especially in view of a congress dominated by a single party which, in turn, is presently dominated by Trump, and a supreme court the majority of which will soon be inclined in that direction.
In view of his character, and behavior, it is an open question whether his decisiveness, confidence, pragmatism, lack of trepidation and paternal devotion will be mitigating or exacerbating characteristics. Evidence supports the latter.
As citizens of a nation that would be free, equitable, peaceful, and secure, it would be prudent and wise to oppose him in every possible way consistent with integrity and civility. It would be prudent and wise to peacefully remove him from office as quickly as possible.
Donald Trump is a risk the citizens of the United State should not take, and one we should not impose upon other peoples of the world.