George Santayana is generally given credit for the well-used phrase, “Those who neglect history are doomed to repeat it.” However, we prefer, the statement, to the same effect, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, adored by statesmen, philosophers and divines.”
In a recent essay, “The Cain Progeny,” [Blogpost # 886] we dealt with the universal, two-sided persona of humankind, at once, moral, humanistic and empathetic, at another setting or time, fascistic and inhumane. The writing made reference to the fortuitous election to the Nation’s Presidency, of people such as Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama, and, by contrast, the disastrous elevation to the Oval Office, of Donald J. Trump; the latter, seen by most mainstream, traditional American citizens as completely lacking in moral compass, and historically, the least capable of the Nation’s Chief Executives. The persona of Donald J. Trump, has, by academic experts, indeed, been likened to, a political and egocentric reprise of Adolph Hitler. Like the latter, Trump and his substantial horde of followers, concernedly, have been and still are, an existential, threat to republican democracy, analogous to Hitler’s destruction of the democratic, Weimar Republic in the 1930s. Trump has followed the autocratic-fascistic, playbook, in his, “Big Lie,” i.e., failure to concede his election loss to Biden, his deprecation of factual truth, derogation of the media, bigotry, deceit and unchecked, immoral self-interest. His cultish followers, despite his two impeachments and criminal behavior, nevertheless, urge him to run again for the American Presidency. Should their aberrant wish be granted, one might, conceivably, doubt the survival of our republican democracy.
The extant, empirical accessibility of such aberrant and incapable individuals such, as Donald J. Trump, to run for the Office of the American Presidency, is the thematic foundation for this essay. Yet, while Trump, in our estimation, is deserving of the blue ribbon for incompetence in office and immorality, our readings of American History, advise us that he was not the only flawed Chief Executive. We would, accordingly, ask, should any, desirous populist candidate, regardless of persona and capability, responsibly, be deemed, eligible? Isn’t past experience educative, as wisely, suggested by Santayana and Emerson?
It seems incredible to comprehend our extant, bizarre, state of affairs in which an applicant for an everyday job, viz., as a draftsman or an insurance salesman, as examples, must undergo, a preliminary interview and, successfully be adjudged as qualified, as a mandatory, prerequisite to his employment, but not the leader of the most powerful Nation on the planet.
What we would, beneficially,, suggest is that a bi-partisan or non-partisan, panel of competent experts, derived from politics and academia, thoroughly vet all aspirants for nomination for the Presidency (and, perhaps, as well, other high office), psychologically, educationally and experientially, to determine, his or her fitness (including nuanced, persona) and competence, should such aspirant for office, be nominated and successfully, elected. we would, additionally, and emphatically, urge that among the grounds for disqualification to run for office, should be the proven record of the particular aspirant for candidacy as having, at any time, been an “election denier,” regarding an election result which has been certified, as accurate and fairly conducted.
Our Nation, must never again, be subject to an election by democratic means, of a would-be, autocrat, whose nefarious goal is to undermine that (our) democracy, like a predatory fox in a henhouse.