“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue [New York] and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said. “It’s, like, incredible.” Donald Trump – January, 2016
This is NOT an anti-Trump post, though there is no doubt how I feel about the man. He is an obnoxious racist, sexist, arrogant megalomaniac who lacks any diplomatic savvy, respect or decorum. And it is NOT an anti-gun spiel. I’m not anti gun. I just believe in rational restrictions on them.
This is about something different. Something that it took his latest tyrade comment to bring to light. Allow his comment to sink in for just a bit. Really sink in. He could stand on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose voters. There is no disclaimer about self defense, no reason given. Just that he could shoot any unnamed person on a city street and not lose voters. Is it beginning to sink in yet? Take Trump’s face out of the picture and replace it with any other politician, then put the words back in. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue [New York] and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters, It’s, like, incredible.”
The thing that frightens me is that I believe he is far too accurate in his statement for my comfort. Not because of “him”, but because this country that has prided itself on independence, freedom, originality, would BLINDLY follow ANY leader, potential leader. Tossing aside their beliefs, their morals, their common sense. That so many could applaud and cheer a man after making such a statement.
Now, please don’t tell me it was in jest. Maybe it was. But, there was truth in his words. And it is the truth that should make us step back and take a good long look at what we have become as a people. That we have gone from a people that honors and touts virtuous behavior, being a champion for good and equality in the world, being the innovative front runners, being educational and science pioneers. We didn’t achieve these things in our past by blindly following the Reality Show flavor of the month. We did so by NOT following a self proclaimed messiah.
Oh, we have had small factions surface with blind devotees. Scientologists, Jonestown, etc. And they should serve as a reminder to us of what comes of following such people. First, the death of the spirit, then the death of freedom, then just death.
Now, as much as many would like to hang this around Trump’s neck, the reality is that he has simply brought to light a phenomenon that has been taking place in our society for quite some time. And he is not alone in claiming the reprehensible of the presidential nominees. We have one that has actually bragged that he tried to attack his own mother with a hammer, that he knifed a fellow student in school. A few that would set Christianity as the national religion. In this land of Jews and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Pagans and Atheists and everything else. In this melting pot, they would make a single dish.
When you add to that the extremes at both ends of the spectrum, the militant combativeness of one side, the don’t say anything that might be uncomfortable to anyone’s ears on the other, it is not surprising that we are seeing the rise of extreme characters in the forums. I have even heard that there are university campuses where free speech zones are in small isolated areas, professors are being forced to not teach areas of a subject because a student has a problem with the subject. Colleges and universities should be a place for debating difficult subjects and not liking a historical event doesn’t negate that it happened. And then we have the other end which takes up armed occupations of federal lands and believes the meaning of religious freedom is the ability to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.
It kind of feels like most of the country has regressed to childhood tantrums between the bullies and the cry babies. Common sense has just been tossed out the window. The lines have been drawn deeply between us and not a one will allow for any blurring of those lines so that we might open a thoughtful discussion, even a loud and shouting one that can lead to some constructive movement. We needn’t give up who we are, what we believe in, to live together. It isn’t necessary for our neighbors to share in our beliefs. In truth, if we but open our minds and hearts a little, we might see the color they bring to our world. Their form of worship, or lack of, only poses a threat to yours if you create one. And as you would fight should they try and deprive you of your right to live according to your mores and interests, so should you refrain from imposing yours upon them.
Saviors are a false delusion. In most instances, they become a very dangerous delusion that lead us into destruction. History is riddled with volumes of examples of such people. And, as I stated earlier, as much as I would like to hang the villain tag around Trump’s neck, the truth is that it could be anyone that has elicited such a following. Even if they begin with good intents. The kind of devotion they create births a messiah delusion that will soon infect them as much as it infects its followers. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Every time.
And we don’t need a messiah. We don’t need someone that we will follow blindly, no matter what they do or have done. Our “leaders” should be our voices condensed. They should speak the voice of the people, all the people. We need to stop listening to their message of fear and hate and remember that we are a people diverse, yet united. We need to remember that our motto is E Pluribus Unum, Out of the Many, One. We are an independent and freedom loving people. We are not followers. No leader of ours should EVER be followed blindly. No leader of ours should ever be above question. Our citizens should never follow blindly.
There is a reason the eagle is our national symbol. He follows no one blindly.