In 2016 America's voters failed to heed St. Matthew's warning to beware of false prophets. They elected an opportunist to the presidency who promised to make America great again. Peoples' frustrations and anger stemming from decades of being underserved by previous administrations mandated change. Trump assumed he heard the "voice of the people," and rode the wave of anger to the Oval Office.
After his inauguration, Donald Trump stepped onto the world stage as our country's representative. He demeaned leaders of other nations. His insults alienated many of our allies. Trump morphed into a new "Ugly American." As a result, this country is now viewed as a nation of Ugly Americans. This is a strange way to make America great.
I'm an immigrant and a proud naturalized citizen of the United States. As a patriot, I'm deeply wounded by that depiction of our nation. Our choice of leadership has had a negative impact on our image. For me the stigma of an Ugly American is unbearable. With our national image smeared, I ponder whether the disaster could have been averted.
Trump could and should have been rejected. He revealed his true self through his conduct in the debates. Slander, defamations, and incivility toward his opponents revealed the man's unfitness for our presidency. But the industry that influences opinion and creates images interjected themselves and earned their money. They manipulated people's emotions and logic to embrace Donald's abrasiveness. They stigmatized candidates of the opposition and paved the low road to the summit through the valley of smut and slander.
In 2016 I could not support Donald Trump. I could not accept his incivility. I could not allow him to become my representative or the champion of my cause.
I shudder as I think of prospects of the impending 2020 campaign. To prevent a recurrence of this disaster, I have developed my own process of screening politicians:
I question what my response would be to slanderous attacks. I ask myself if I could present such an individual as a role model to my children. Would I tolerate such behavior in my children? Does a candidate represent me and who I am? What do I become if I accept and endorse someone as my representative?
I intend to seek answers to these questions from candidates of all political parties in the impending 2020 campaign. I'll also question the candidates' credibility, veracity, political, and ideological leanings. The answers will reveal them as who and what they are.
But the scrutiny of our electoral candidates also mandates our own introspective soul-searching as to whether we ourselves contribute to our stigma of ugliness. Trump's base of support is permeated by numerous hate groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the like.
Trump considers them "fine people."
Hate ideologies are difficult to eradicate, but they must be discredited, outmoded, and made irrelevant and unacceptable. Our nation must purge itself of such pestilence of her soul.
Only then, can America's former greatness be restored.
Fred Natkevi is a longtime Oak Park resident.
Answer Book 2019
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