It dawned on me yesterday, watching the Sunday shows like ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” – something that had been wandering about unformed in my thoughts for quite a while.

It’s not Donald Trump himself. The Donald is just a 12-year-old school-yard bully from a rich family, looking up girls’ skirts when they’re on the swings and beating up on the short kid with glasses who is better at math than everybody else. He thinks that will make him popular. And popularity is so necessary to someone who is internally vacuous.

There will be no “Trump policies” because Donald has no political compass. He was a Democrat when that was the thing to be in Manhattan.

Now he’s a Republican (of sorts) because that’s the way he can be seen as a tough guy – and the Republicans are supine as long as he signs off on their pet projects, like repealing ObamaCare. The GOP’s policies, not Donald’s, because his policies are whatever he thinks (or he is told) will up his ratings, as long as he can look tough.

Scenes from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Jan. 20, 2017.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

But — and it’s a really big “but” — the real danger is surrounding the president, whispering like Iago in the ear of this self-inflated reality-show blowhard. And while Stephen Bannon, late of the alt-right Breitbart fringe news-site, with his project to re-initiate the Second Crusade on behalf of Judeo-Christian America against the Muslim pest, is about as scary as he is portrayed on “Saturday Night Live,” it was the Sunday show on which Trump’s other closest advisor, Stephen Miller, took center stage that took matters into a really deep dungeon.

Miller’s Sunday harangue, just as his summer speech in which Miller ranted that the Trump campaign was going to “shut the mouths of the globalists,” started out innocuous enough, but the minute that George Stephanopoulos posed hard questions, Miller went into over-drive, hypnotized by the sound of his own voice, breathlessly denouncing any and all who dared to cast doubt upon the Paladin of “the People.”

Miller went on to declare that Trump’s national security actions “will not be questioned!” Ah, yes they will, they will be continuously questioned, our authoritarian young man – as well they should be in a democracy.

But democracy is not what Miller, or Bannon (or Trump by extension) are all about. They are about “populism.”

In populism, the all-seeing leader embodies the will of the “people.” And the people must be a united, seamless block.

They are the true patriots, those who know the country has been betrayed by the elites, the crooked political class. They are the pure and unadulterated essence of the nation.

Anyone who is not with us is against us – and will be dealt with. It must be so because America is in mortal danger and those who question us are enemies of the people, traitors to the United States, to the “real” Judeo-Christian America.

When I was very young at the end of World War II, at the naval airfield where my father was stationed, we were shown newsreels of Dr. Joseph Goebbels. He was proclaiming that the German people’s patience was at an end, that the nation had been betrayed by the internal enemies of the nation. Then it was the Jews. Today, it might be you.

And it will certainly be me.

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About the Author

  • Stephen O'Harrow
    Stephen O'Harrow is a professor of Asian Languages and currently one of the longest-serving members of the faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A resident of Hawaii since 1968, he's been active in local political campaigns since the 1970s and is a member of the Board of Directors, Americans for Democratic Action/Hawaii.