As the chaos and psychodrama of the Trump administration continue to play out on the world stage, the republic is debilitated daily. In an op-ed that recently appeared in the New York Times, an anonymous senior official claims “the root of the problem is the president’s amorality.” I would dig down a little deeper.

In his introduction to Goethe’s “Faust, Philip Wayne writes of Mephistopheles that “he is the world’s most convincing portrait of Satan, and cynicism, scoffing, negation, is the key-note of his intellectuality.”

Cynicism, along with its attendant petty devices, is the key-note of Donald Trump’s lack of intellectuality. It is a destructive force. Cynicism both actuates and informs his disregard for anything — even the most cherished ideals and practices — that does not promote his own narrow interests of the moment.

It always bears repeating that the United States is a nation of immigrants — safe harbor for those seeking a better life, the last best hope for countless lost souls. And yet, Trump has cynically exploited the immigration issue to appeal to the worst instincts of the American body politic. His signature order is, in fact, having separated asylum seekers from their children at our southern border.

Cynicism is toxic because it ineluctably shades into nihilism, a belief that nothing has intrinsic value. Not even truth (witness Trump’s incessant lies and “fake news” recriminations). Not even human life itself.

Many have expressed outrage over the president begrudging Sen. John McCain, whose posthumous message to the American people condemned the administration’s wall-oriented immigration policy, official honor in death. But what should we expect?

And so the root rot at the root of the problem is Trump’s fundamental inhumanity. Just ask the grieving McCain family — or the scores of families still torn asunder.

Galin Elias Franklin


Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: