What does a proto-despot look like?

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.



About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.
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7 Responses to What does a proto-despot look like?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Now it’s February 6, 2018, over a year after your first comments, things are just getting worse and solidifying your points. What do you think about the future?

    • Trump may be worse than I expected, but the Republicans are certainly worse than I expected, multiplying his perfidy by their enabling, thereby becoming as shameless as he. I’ve lost faith that they will finally wise up to what is happening to America. I’ve only recently said much about this topic (latest such post was “Aiding and abetting injury to America” on Jan. 6 this year). I almost daily hold back on other topics I’d like to explore, in favor of writing more on Trump . . . but then find the situation so depressing as to hold back on that as well! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Perhaps, just as aircraft are designed to sustain more stress than passengers can tolerate, the U.S. democratic system will withstand the actions of any one particular President. Are there enough checks and balances in place to prevent disaster?

    • Good to hear from you! We can only hope (or, more importantly, seek to assure) that the American Constitutional system is “overbuilt” sufficiently to outlast irresponsible office-holders and enormous threats. Americans are, at least rhetorically, pleased with these “checks and balances” and their having been largely successful so far. Necessary, to be sure, but not sufficient. The persons involved must play their system-disciplined roles. A large problem with Trump, as I see it, is that (a) a number of his behaviors seem calculated to weaken institutions designed to hold that system together and (b) years of the Senate and House valuing partisan benefit over their Constitutional roles have resulted in an enfeebled Congressional job performance. As I implied in the post, Democrats are too few to be counted on; Republicans are either sucking up or cowering.

  3. Daniel D. Hull says:

    Let’s hope that “others of the plane’s crew” will not let Captain Trump crash, but have the courage to risk their jobs by insisting that Mr. Trump correct any obvious errors in judgment that endanger the aircraft (the country) and its passengers (the American people). This assumes he will listen to their advice, of course, and that will be hard for him to do.

  4. Ron Nickle says:

    Right on John. Let’s hope more folks start to take this man seriously!

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