I don’t know about you, but former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is very disturbed by the Trump presidency. In a recent statement published in “The Atlantic,” Mattis accuses Trump of abusing his presidential authority and making “a mockery of our Constitution.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
Trump’s own Pentagon chief – a four-star Marine general with 50 years of military service and a Masters degree – is saying that our current president is a threat to American democracy. In public.
Mattis writes: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.”
To illustrate the danger Trump poses to the country, Mattis cites the old Nazi slogan for destroying America: “Divide and conquer.”
Speaking of Nazis, I recently read a biography of Adolf Hitler, “Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939,” by German historian Volker Ullrich. It provided the following information, which may (or may not) also apply to current politics.
I’ll report. You decide …
• According to Nazi finance minister Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk, Hitler’s primary personal characteristic was his “bottomless mendacity … He wasn’t even honest toward intimate confidants … so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth.”
• When Hitler chose subordinates, Ullrich says, “the most important criteria were absolute loyalty, discretion and obedience.”
• Adolf Hitler displayed an “unusually improvisational and personal style of leadership.”
• Thomas Mann was a Nobel-prize winning novelist, who ultimately fled Nazi Germany. He called Nazism a movement of “mass emotional conviction.”
In a 1930 Berlin speech, Mann said the Nazi party was finding political success because “people had turned away from the fundamental principles of a civil society – liberty, equality, education, optimism, belief in progress and faith in reason – to embrace forces of the unconscious … which rejected everything intellectual.”
• Hitler was “very prickly when confronted with people who obviously knew more about a topic than he did. His antipathy towards intellectuals, professors and teachers was particularly pronounced … Hitler believed he knew better than specialists and experts and treated them with arrogance.”
• Adolf Hitler “lived in fear of looking laughable. His megalomania was the flipside of his feelings of inferiority.”
• During Germany’s short-lived Weimar Republic (1919-1933), the Nazi party never won a majority in any national election. The highest they ever polled (in Weimar’s last election, when Hitler had been Chancellor for one month) was 44 percent.
According to the Gallup poll, Trump’s average job approval rating as president has been 40 percent. He won the 2016 election with 46 percent of the popular vote …
You don’t need an electoral majority to destroy a Constitutional republic from within. The scholarly Jim Mattis knows this. It probably disturbs his sleep at night.
He’s not alone.