To the Editor: Do you remember the never-ending chant at Donald Trump rallies of “build that wall,” “build that wall”?
What his core supporters were clamoring for was a wall that would separate America from Mexico, but what they got instead was a wall that separated America from America.
Trump did build a wall, an invisible wall, that surrounds and isolates his core base of single-issue voters. And with this wall he, like all cult leaders, disconnects his followers from reality and truth in the pursuit of his authoritarian dream.
Like the former Soviet Union, this is Trump’s “iron curtain” that controls the heart, mind and soul of his base.
Trump’s wall was not erected with steel, bricks or cement, but instead with lies, fear and hate. It is stronger, taller, longer, wider, thicker and more impenetrable to truth than any physical barrier could ever be.
Cloaked in nationalism, this invisible wall divides and weakens America. It’s a dogmatic barricade completely encircling Trump’s base. The bedrock of this conceptual wall is Trump’s hegemony disguised as patriotism.
Trump, a member of the opulent upper-crust and self-proclained champion of America’s proletariat, somehow convinces many Americans with minimum-wage jobs and no health care that life is wonderful in his open-air ideological prison where they are devoid of independent thought. He promises them prosperity, but instead only the rich get richer. Trump is the capitalistic “robbing hood”—robbing from the poor and then selling the proceeds to the rich.
During his presidential crusade, Trump seduced pious congregations with the chicanery of an enchanted TV preacher and was able to convert once-unforgiving “Bible Belt” Evangelical Christians to Trumpism.
Today, many Evangelicals are Trump’s most devout followers. Some even claim that Trump is the “chosen one,” comparing him to Old Testament kings selected and ordained by God to lead the people. Are the faithful approaching blasphemy or is this biblical prophecy?
Trump homes in on the innate selfish nature, primal impulses and survival instincts of human beings, and with the expertise of a cardiac surgeon, he has the uncanny ability to transplant fear and hate into the hearts of many Americans.
Like the oppressive thought police in George Orwell”s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” who crush individual thought and force-feed citizens the following short phrases: “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength,” Trump similarly feeds his ravenous base a daily portion of “propaganda du jour,” paradoxically nourishing their loyalty yet starving their minds.
Not surprisingly, this unhealthy diet includes similar short and easy to remember bumper-sticker phrases like “Lock Her Up,” “Witch-Hunt,” “Send Her Back” and “Drain The Swamp.”
However, like the Orwellian phrases, these are lies. The reality is that Hillary Clinton is not getting arrested, six Trump “witches” have already been convicted of Federal crimes, Minnesota U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar is not being sent back and Trump is not draining the swamp; he is the swamp. Sadly, like other victims of Stockholm Syndrome, Trump’s base sides with their captor.
In “1984,” Orwell writes, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.”
Similarly in 2017, Trump told a group of veterans in Missouri, “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”
Orwell continued, “And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.”
Americans are served daily supersized portions of Trump’s lies and trance-inducing diatribes. In addition, conspiracy theories intended to hold our thoughts hostage are cooked up by Russian intelligence agencies and then weaponized by Fox News. In a clear betrayal of America, some Republicans shamefully promote the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.
In this domineering administration where dissent is not tolerated, any Republican who dares to deviate from this brainwashing is exiled to the bottom of the food chain and will be the next victim of Trump’s political cannibalism.
Throughout history, many dictators have demonized and exploited tens of millions of people in their narcissistic pursuit of absolute power. Under these despots, millions ultimately suffered miserable consequences.
Trump is no different than other demagogues the world has seen. He became President by appealing to prejudice. He calls the free press the “enemy of the people.” He created a “scapegoat” by slandering Mexican immigrants, calling them “rapists” and “bad hombres” claiming “they’re bringing drugs” and “they’re bringing crime.” He promises and easily persuades his base that only he can protect America from this northbound “invasion.” He supports and endorses neo-Nazis, referring to them as “very fine people.” Moreover, like other wannabe oligarchs, Trump himself appears to be under Vladmir Putin’s control, which has already caused irreparable damage to America and the world.
Many times at his rallies, Trump’s on-stage thespian performances simulate a Shakespearian tragedy involving treachery and deceit. Trump’s soliloquies reveal his inner feelings, moving his frenzied populace to provoke more of his tirade.
Inside this theatrical fortress, Trump’s base is isolated from and immune to the truth, allowing Trump to act out imaginary patriotic fantasies. He guilefully hugs the American flag to the applause and enjoyment of the crowd as if he represents American values, yet in reality he dodged the military draft, used charitable donations marked for veterans for his own benefit, has disdain and contempt for the U.S. Constitution, disregards the rule of law and idolizes Russia’s Putin—America’s number one geopolitical adversary.
In spite of this feigned love for America and ostensible admiration for Putin and Russia, his captivated followers bluster for an encore of his phony patriotism. He believes Putin over our CIA, FBI and Department of Defense. Surprisingly, many spellbound Americans agree with him.
He built an insidious wall of hate around the hearts and souls of many Americans that has divided our country, caused distrust of our democracy and pitted one American against another in an ideological civil war, to Moscow’s delight and maybe even at Vladimir Putin’s direction. Yes Putin, the jingoistic strongman behind the iron curtain that drapes Trump’s invisible wall in “1984” America.
Trump, a corrupt pathological liar, has defied political gravity.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Bullaro is a retired Assistant Deputy Warden who currently teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
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