Reader's View: Trump seems to want to be a totalitarian
The creators of the U.S. Constitution strongly opposed excessive power in the hands of any one person. They framed a representative democracy, divided authority among three branches of government, reserved power for the states, and provided means for removing the president.
My father earned a bronze star in World War II, serving in the South Pacific with a company whose casualties were listed at 100%, in a struggle against a nation ruled by an emperor. My Uncle Mel served in Europe as part of the effort to defeat a nation that had fallen under the spell of the totalitarian Adolph Hitler. My Uncle Johnny gave his life in that same effort. What would these relatives of mine make of President Donald Trump if they were alive today? I often ask myself this, even though I know: They would shake their heads in disgust and disbelief.
Is Trump a totalitarian? Not quite yet, but he seems to want to be one. Among the many signs: his first wife Ivana said that he kept a collection of Hitler's speeches by his bed; he has repeatedly asked foreign countries to interfere on his behalf in elections; he calls the press the enemy of the people and has said they should be executed; he has caged refugees and immigrants; for the sake of a photo-op, he used police violence to smash a peaceful assembly; and he has alienated democratic allies while praising dictators.
Do the 40% of Americans who support this president understand what Trump seems to want? Would the president's own words help? On April 13, he said, “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be. It's total." Is that what his supporters want, a totalitarian? For shame.