With the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the office of the President, we have come to witness the unmasking of America – a thorough debunking of any idealistic notion we may have had regarding the American character. This man even when campaigning for the nomination for the presidency in the Republican party had shown himself to be a person of almost limitless mendacity. Candidate Trump repeatedly displayed an unambiguous contempt for women and a mocking scorn towards his opponents. He demonstrated on many occasions his lack of an intellectual grasp and understanding of the complexities of national issues both foreign and domestic.
In spite of these apparent limitations, he succeeded in winning the election. With a plurality of the American voters horrified by this outcome, he validated their worst fears. Trump has subjected the nation to a veritable roller coaster ride of crazed policies especially around the issue of immigration that have clearly shown him to be an extreme nationalist and a white-supremacist devoid of any significant measure of compassion or empathy for the American people. He has been described as a narcissistic personality with no true moral center.
The fact that he continues to have a significant following, reveals the great chasm that exists in American life demonstrating that the hallmarks of white supremacy – intense bigotry, hatred and a marked capacity for violence - remain very much with us as a people.
This reality should be no surprise to those who have lived long enough to have experienced first-hand the nadir periods in the recent history of American politics. The periods I refer to revolve around the dark days of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, especially. In each of these unsettling times, the underbelly of American life was thoroughly exposed. In each of these instances, resolutions were ultimately found, and social stability was restored.
The current reality is one of those seminal eras. What makes the present political climate disturbingly different, however, is that both sides of this rift have no desire to find common ground. Without a willingness to compromise, a democratic system of government stagnates and can become totally ineffectual. For a democracy to remain vibrant it is up to its people to demand from those in power that they truly serve the interests, concerns and well-being of everyone.