Strange hair? Small hands? Please forgive my inappropriate levity; my point is deadly serious. President-elect Trump is a proto-despot. Might I be wrong, crying wolf? Will happier events in the next few years lead me to regret the chilling words, “proto-despot” . . . or just to drop the “proto”? After such an intemperate statement, I need to say that drama is not my style; it’s even uncomfortable. My personality and history tend more toward calm and measured. Still. my apprehension might prove unwarranted. But the signals Mr. Trump radiates on an almost daily basis are too frightening to ignore, too reminiscent of historical lessons we’d be foolish not to note.
Trump may yet become truthful, responsible, wise, and worthy of his forthcoming office. But holding my breath about that is getting harder, and surely to fear handing the keys to a dangerous fool is not unreasonable. Even those who voted against him have been willing at each stage of his brief political career to wait a little longer for maturity and rationality, hoping they will show up any day now . . . he’ll be better as soon as the debates are over, then after the next juncture, then another, and so on, amassing a continual stream of embarrassing actions and truth-defying statements broken only occasionally by “looking presidential.”
To be sure, reaching conclusions, particularly critical ones, about anyone should be done fairly and cautiously. If, however, as we board an aircraft, we notice drunk-like behaviors on the part of our pilot, we are wiser to risk making an unfair judgment than to jeopardize the flight. How many drunken signs can we countenance in the president of history’s most powerful country, the one we like pridefully to claim is the world’s city on a hill? Should we not be worried that others of the plane’s crew show negligible ability and scant nerve to protect us from an unfit leader? Republican officials who mouth ridiculous excuses for Trump or simply cower in the background offer no indication they will protect America from a man who virtually advertises his proto-despotism.