Trump's Humanity

Donald Trump has no idea what it means to be a human being. I mean this literally.

He understands what it means to be a human animal, a sentient being who pursues his appetites for food, water, sex, air, recognition and power. But he exhibits no capacity, or even comprehension, of loving, altruism, service or recognition of the self in the other. He is an animal with high intelligence, but not a human being.

It interests me that Americans would be attracted to such a person. When he was exposed as saying that he enjoys grabbing anonymous women by the genitals, and that episode was followed up by the admission that he thought he owned the women in the Miss Universe contest and could walk in on their changing room while they were naked, he demonstrated that other humans are nothing more than instruments of his satisfaction. What does it say of some Americans that they identify with such a demonic personality as a leader? Forget his tyrannical demagogic aspirations for a moment. What do they see in him that they identify in themselves?

Donald Trump expresses a perversion of the American ideal of not only the loner who forges his own way through the wilderness, absolute individualism without human connection, but also the desire to evade all human responsibility for the other. In this sense, Donald Trump is literally the anti-Christ, the opposite of the suffering servant of humanity. It's not just that he is devoid of ethics. He is devoid of remorse and sympathy as well. Rather, he and everyone else serve him, and the world that stands in the way be damned.

Standing up to Donald Trump is standing up for civilization and decency. It is standing up for love, and caring, and viewing the self in the stranger, at least enough to stop their suffering and see the image of God in them. This is not a political fight; it's a struggle that asserts that humanity is, as the Bible says, not simply animal, but is also little lower than the angels. That is the characteristic Donald Trump lacks: he is the incarnation and triumph of materialism over the aspirations of what we term humanity. Our response will both demonstrate and determine whether ethics and religion have power in our lives, or are simply words we mouth to demonstrate civility, but with no real meaning in our actions or character. Let the drama begin.

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© 2016 by Rabbi Mark H. Levin.