As with other national leaders in history who rose to power by capitalizing on people’s fears, Donald Trump demonstrates monarchial traits and behavior. It is not just his admiration of totalitarian leaders such as Russia’s Putin, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, but his willful ignorance. I mean his unwillingness to accept or base decisions on well-vetted facts and opinions from others when they do not agree with his biases and self-interests. Such purposeful ignorance in a president is dangerous.

Trump’s willful ignorance reminds me of a popular political cartoon in which a Paul Revere-like figure is riding his horse, galloping toward the U.S. Capitol yelling, “The facts are coming, the facts are coming.” His denial of the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian hackers attempted to disrupt the presidential election and our confidence in the results is a threat to our national security.

Then there’s his dismissal of the consensus among scientists regarding global warming and its causes. Both positions of course nicely serve the purposes of his big oil industry friends.

There is growing concern within the scientific community that under Trump, government conducted and funded research will be censored or only focus on those issues where Trump agrees with the possible findings.

Will he eliminate federal funding for the University of Maine’s research into off-shore wind and tidal power technology, or into extracting nano-fibers from wood because it conflicts with the interests of his big oil friends? Both hold significant potential for the economy of Maine.

If Trump’s willful ignorance will be how he governs, we will not create the needed industries and good-paying jobs of the future in places such as Jay, Rumford, Millinocket, Eastport or elsewhere in Maine on his watch.

George Seel

Belgrade