It should be readily apparent now, through the hastily implemented travel ban and increasing saber rattling, that the Trump administration is in the business of confrontation. Donald Trump has no previous public service experience, and his political leanings could be generously termed flexible. He’s been a Democrat, and has himself admitted to donating to politicians on both sides of the congressional aisle in order to get what he wants. As an apparent demagogue whose concern is primarily himself and his empire, there isn’t an ideological bone in his body. He has aligned himself with whatever political wind will carry him to power, and unfortunately for the nation he has trimmed his sails to catch very ill wind indeed.
So who are behind these concerning and dangerous policy directions to which the nation has turned? He has somehow surrounded himself with three stunningly toxic, controversial and unelected individuals, which seem to be directing policy.
Trump’s Rasputin, and probably the most well known of the three, is alt-right publisher/filmaker/banker Steve Bannon. What makes this previously little known (to mainstream audiences) player so dangerous? Probably the most concerning is his belief that we are on the verge of a global war with Islam, and seems intent on hastening the process. His philosophy and intent is clearly demonstrated through his film trilogy.
The least concerning of his dangerous traits–and alone should be enough to disqualify him as a presidential adviser–is his tenure as publisher of the “ultra-conservative” website Breitbart News. Breitbart supported Islamophobic far-right European candidates and featured a website tag for “black crime,” which is eerily reminiscent of the new office in the Department of Homeland Security called VOICE. VOICE, it is conjectured, will publish lists of immigrants which have committed crimes. If so, this is reminiscent of a tactic used by Adolf Hitler to foment anti-Jewish sentiment.
Unfortunately the echoes of history reverberate further in the alleged association of Trump’s Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka. The website Forward.com reported that he is a sworn member of the Vitézi Rend, which was under the direction of the German Nazis in World War II. He was photographed at Donald Trump’s inauguration ball wearing a traditional Hungarian outfit which is popular with that country’s nationalist right wing, and wearing a medal that is a “…clear sign he identifies with the Horthy era.” The era identified was between 1920 and 1944, during which the Vitézi Rend aligned with German Nazis. Of course Gorka refutes the claim and declares that he has long advocated for anti-authoritarianism.
The final member of this trinity is a young man who made a brief appearance on the Sunday morning news shows to great effect; his authoritarian message and stone-faced delivery provided fodder for late-night talk show monologues and triggered more fears of a Trump presidency acting like a dictatorship.
Stephen Miller is a Jewish–an odd counterpoint to Gorka when considering the possible Nazi association–conservative raised by Democratic parents in Santa Monica. Spurred to conservative values by Guns, Crime, and Freedom by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, he transformed himself into a right-wing wunderkind, appearing on conservative radio while in high school.
His right-wing political career had him working for Michele Bachmann and Congressman John Shadegg, finally landing him as an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions before being tapped by the Trump campaign. With the administration he wrote Trump’s RNC speech and worked with Steve Bannon to craft the first controversial “Muslim Ban”. His boss must have thought his way with words would translate well to the news show circuit, but his heavy-handed, obviously teleprompted appearances landed more punchlines than punches.
“The Powers of the President are Substantial and Will Not be Questioned.” – Stephen Miller
In any administration there are aides and advisers which may have controversial positions. However, these three figures in Donald Trump’s administration are particularly dangerous in their extreme, bordering on authoritarian, stances.
There will be arguments about how it’s unproven that Gorka is a member of a Nazi-sympathetic organization, that Bannon does not want a holy war, and that Miller is not an authoritarian. The point is, that any administration of any party should never have members which would need to make these arguments. The mere fact that they even approach the fringes where these topics arise should be enough to disqualify them from public service, and these dangerous, unelected men shouldn’t be guiding policy.
Jim Rohn said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If this is the case, the other two people Donald Trump spends time with would need to be Gandhi and King Solomon to balance the equation.
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