Friday, December 2, 2022

The Essence of Evil


The vast majority of the people I have observed in the first seventy-seven years of my life have been good people; kind, loving, ethical and moral, for the most part.  Some I have read about or observed, are on the other end of the spectrum.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I would describe those people as EVIL. My list of evil persons is not terribly long, less than twenty-five as I think back on it, but some of these humans are what I would call “Ultra-Sinister”. 

Many of these individuals lived before my time, prior to 1945, but their histories are easily obtained, proving they were some of the most evil humans since the dawn of recorded time. 

Attila The Hun:  the epitome of cruelty and rapacity

·        Caligula: Roman emperor whose life was a frenzy of lunacy, murder and sexual perversion

·       Adolf Hitler: responsible for millions of lost innocent lives and rampant antisemitism

·       Joseph Stalin: one of the most pervasive tyrants of the 20th Century, responsible for the death and suffering of over 7 million people

·       Pol Pot:  responsible for the “Killing Fields”, a brutal, murderous dictator

·       Idi Amin:  a brutal and utterly ruthless dictator who somehow either endeared himself to the people he ruled, bullied them into submission or murdered them

 Now, in more recent times, we continue to have evil humans controlling and ruining the lives of millions.  Here are some of those names on my list.

 Bashar Al-Assad: The Syrian dictator has gassed the innocent, bombed hospitals and schools, and made thousands of his own citizens disappear. 

·     Vladimir Putin:  Communist dictator of modern day Russia.  A very dangerous, perverse human whom some say is clearly psychotic.

·       Kim Jong-un:  Supreme leader of North Korea and the odds on favorite, next to Putin, to start a nuclear WWIII. Also considered a psychopath.

 I often ask myself how in the world these people and many others like them could possibly rise to positions of leadership that allow them to spread their evil so perversely and pervasively.  In Scripture we are given an answer that is somewhat difficult to accept…its God’s doing.  God says categorically he is the author of evil: “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7).  I know, this seems to require additional clarification. 

 If a person is asked, “Does cold exist?” the answer would likely be “yes.” However, this is incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist; it is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of good, or more pointedly, evil is the absence of God. God did not have to create evil, but rather only allow for the absence of good. So perhaps it is easier for us to accept that God did not create evil, but He does allow evil. 

 In Christianity, the Devil is the personification of evil, who rebelled against God in an attempt to become equal to God himself. He is depicted as a fallen angel, who was expelled from Heaven at the beginning of time, before God created the material world, and is in constant opposition to God.  Whether you believe in Satan or not, there are many people in this world of ours who have attempted to be equal to God, and stand in opposition to God and the Gospel. It is up to humans to identify these people and do what we can to protect ourselves and others from their evil. Of course, the key question is how do we do this?  For Christians, our principle defense is trusting in the power and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Trusting that God’s will is victorious.  Still, since God gave us “free will”, I believe it is up to each individual to strive to identify evil, the absence of good, and reject it.

 One thing these people on my list all seem to have in common is narcissism. Narcissism is defined as an excessive interest in or admiration for oneself and one’s physical appearance.  Words which can be identified with narcissism are; vanity, self-love, self-adulation, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, egotism or egomania.  Psychologists describe it as a prominent feature of mental disorder and characterize the personality type as involving selfishness, a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy and an overpowering need for admiration. And, to always be right, to be on top, to win at all costs. And, in some cases, never accept defeat.

 A narcissist’s principle management style is Power.  Since they are not self-actualized or humanistic/helpful, and tend to be highly competitive with average or below intelligence, they tend to be extremely aggressive with others; especially if they are losing an argument or contest of some kind.  Aggressive to the point of being a consummate bully. Narcissists hate (cannot abide) losing and refuse to accept it, even to the point of lying, cheating or stealing to convince others that they have actually won.  Consequently, most narcissists feel as though they are above the law, and are, essentially, the equal of a god.  So where am I going with this, please keep reading.

 Over two hundred years ago, our forefathers devised a political system they thought would be ideal for all citizens, and unlike any other form of government in human history.  Technically, it is a constitutional federal republic, where the President (Executive Branch), Congress (Legislative Branch), and the Judiciary (Judicial Branch) share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.  The United States is a representative democracy. This means that our government and its leaders are elected (chosen) by its citizens. Here, citizens vote for the vast majority of their government officials, both at the Federal and State level.  Our form of government is not perfect. Rather, it is a work in progress, which is why our Constitution has been amended multiple times.  Since 1789 the Constitution has been amended 27 times; of those amendments, the first 10 are collectively known as the Bill of Rights and were certified on December 15, 1791.  The last amendment, the 27th Amendment, was ratified nearly 201 years later on May 7, 1992.

 I personally believe that our Democracy was and continues to be a true gift from God.  Today, the right to vote remains in the hands of, with few exceptions, all adult citizens; regardless of gender, race, color, ethnicity or religious faith.  Up until 2016, I thought we were on a path and truly getting close to becoming a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” as Abraham Lincoln once described.  Our Democracy has been worth fighting for and, over the years, many people have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. It is my hope that Lincoln’s wish that it “will not perish from this earth” continues to remain true. 

Unfortunately, our Democracy is under attack these days.  I am not just talking about a battle between the political forces on the far right and the far left.  By most estimates, citizens in those two extreme groups represent possibly 16 % of the voting population, a far cry from a majority.  It is a divide much more universal.  It is a divide between inclusion and exclusion.  It is a divide between truth and falsehood, and everything in between.  It is a battle between peaceful protest and radical and, often, random violence.  It is a divide between personal freedoms and government control of those freedoms.

 There are those who have been labeled “conspiracy theorists”; a label that encompasses those who accept outright lies about many subjects without any proof and/or those too ignorant or lazy to complete their own due diligence so they accept the lies if they come from someone they trust; however untrustworthy the source might be.

 There is one individual who is at the forefront of this divide.  He is the source of so many falsehoods and yet, there are those Americans who continue to drink his Kool-Aid®.  Let me give you some clues as to whom that person might be.

This person:


1.)   Grew up in a wealthy family and never wanted for a thing throughout his childhood; attended private schools and was given anything he ever asked for.

2.)  Played baseball and soccer in high school and claims to have had pro baseball teams looking to sign him before he went to college.

3.)  Enrolled at Fordham University, a private Jesuit research university in the Bronx, but left after two years and enrolled at University of Pennsylvania.

4.)  Claims to have graduated No. 1 in his class at Wharton School of Business with an “astronomical” GPA. 

5.)  Used his father’s money to get him started in business and right out of college became President and CEO of his father’s company at age 23.

6.)  Claims to be a very successful real estate developer with multiple properties across the U.S. and some foreign countries.

7.)   Married Ivana Xelnickov in 1977, fathered three children with her and then they divorced in 1992.

8.)  Married Marla Maples in 1993, had one child together, Tiffany, and then they divorced in 1999.

9.)  In 2004 he starred in a reality TV show called The Apprentice.  It ran for 13 years.

10.)                   Claims to have a “genius” IQ

11.)                    Married Melania Knauss in 2005 to the present.

12.)                   Claimed his net worth was about $ 2 billion as he declared his candidacy for President.

13.)                   Ran for President of the United States on the Republican ticket in the 2016 election and defeated his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton.

14.)                   Served one term as President and then ran for re-election in 2020.


By now you have to have guessed it. We are talking about Donald John Trump (DJT).


Staying with the past for a moment, let’s take a look at history according to supportable facts and history as it relates to the unsupported claims listed above.


A.)  Claim:  Pro baseball teams considered recruiting DJT out of high school.  FALSE:  he batted .138 while at the New York Military Academy…heck, I batted .240 and the Dodger’s passed me by. He was never recruited by any team.

B.)  Claim:  Said he graduated # 1 in his class from Wharton School of Business PARTIALLY FALSE – He attended some undergraduate classes at Wharton, but  not only did he not graduate # 1, he was not even on the Dean’s List. His undergraduate degree is a BS in Economics from UPenn. He does not have a Master’s Degree.  His position in his graduating class is not known and none of his school records have ever been made public.  Trump has never revealed his college transcripts or grades and, in fact, threatened to sue UPenn and Wharton School of Business if they ever revealed them to anyone.  Since then, the schools have refused to disclose DJT’s records.

C.)  Claim: Trump says his IQ is the highest of any President and is on record as claiming specifically that his IQ is much higher than Barrack Obama, George W. Bush, Rex Tillerson (ex-Secretary of State) and Jon Stewart (comedian and TV personality).  NO ONE KNOWS – Trump has never revealed the results of any IQ test he has ever taken.  Indeed, no one knows if he ever has been tested for IQ. However, maybe we can figure it out.  According to BBC News, a Prof. Fred I. Greenstein, professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University, lists six qualities that bear on presidential performance.  They are: public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. "Trump scores low on emotional intelligence, cognitive style, vision, and organizational capacity," says Dr. Greenstein.  "Where he has been superb, in order to win the presidency, is public communication and political skill."  More on this later.

D.) Claim:  Trump touts that he is a highly successful businessman.  PARTIALLY TRUE but MOSTLY FALSE - While the facts show he has had a few business successes, he has had many more failures (his companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy six (6) times; including three Atlantic City hotels and casinos [including the opulent Taj Mahal], the Plaza Hotel in NYC, his Entertainment Resorts company and his Hotels and Casinos Resorts company).  He was sued by several former students and, as part of the settlement with these people, shuttered Trump University.  Investors in his various ventures have lost $ 1.7 Billion of their money from 1985 and 1994 and he has lost billions more since then.  Yet after reporting to the IRS $700 million in losses for 2020, in 2021 Bloomberg still estimated his net worth at $ 2.3 billion.  Despite numerous subpoenas and lawsuits, Trump has refused disclosure and has never revealed any personal or business tax returns or company records to prove either his net worth or business successes.  More on this later.


DJT has been married three times. He was married for fifteen years to Ivana Xelnickova, a Czech national, who was a fashion model and businesswoman, and she bore him three children; Donald, Jr., Ivanka and Eric.  DJT’s second wife was Marla Maples, a U.S. citizen from Georgia.  They were married in 1993, shortly after she told DJT that she was pregnant with his child. A few months later, she gave birth to Trumps fourth child, Tiffany. They were married for six years and divorced in 1999. DJT is currently married to Melania Knauss. Originally a citizen of Yugoslavia (now Slovania), Melania became an American citizen the year after she married Trump.  They have one son together, Barron.  She had a long modeling career and is only the second foreign-born “First Lady”.  


DJT had the reputation, from an early age, of being a millionaire playboy.  He has been accused of numerous affairs and sexual misconduct during and throughout his three marriages.  I am not going to go into all of these accusations, threatened lawsuits and reported hush money payoffs.  DJT denies them all, and yet they have been corroborated by multiple sources and witnessed public events.  If you want to know more about this part of the story, you will have to do your own research. After I researched it, the only conclusion I could come to was that DJT and his approach to gender is the very definition of misogyny.  Check it out and decide for yourself.


Let’s get back to DJTs IQ.  Since no one knows any actual score from any intelligence tests he may have taken, we have to look to empirical evidence.  First, let’s take what comes out of Trumps mouth.  The first thing I noticed about DJT was my grandchildren (ages 12-15) all have significantly better vocabularies than DJT.  He uses five adjectives almost exclusively; great, huge, incredible, tremendous and amazing.  He uses these over and over again; however, when asked his opinion of Vladymir Putin’s actions when Russian troops first invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine, he used the adjective “brilliant”.  So there is that.


“Great” is probably Trump’s favorite. “I’m going to build you a great, great wall on the southern border”, and “Make America great again”.  About himself; “I have great and unmatched wisdom” and on the radical concept of having a lifetime President, “I think that is a great idea.”


“Incredible” is right behind great. There’s really nothing bad about a superlative here and there. A superlative refers to something that is at the “utmost degree” or hyperbolic. However, when you overuse superlatives, as Trump does, it gets harder and harder to differentiate between that which is truly incredible and what is merely average


“Tremendous” is used in precisely the same context as incredible. When they analyzed 260,000 words from speeches related to COVID-19, the New York Times realized Trump spent most of the time praising himself. He was six times more likely to brag than to offer words of comfort during this extraordinary time. Since the analysis, Trump continues to say he has done a “tremendous job” on COVID-19.


As mentioned earlier, DJTs management/leadership style is POWER.  And because he is a narcissist of the highest order, he is a consummate bully.  When confronted with any situation in which Trump is losing or he cannot logically defend his position, he attacks.  Use of the word “stupid” is used flagrantly when describing his opponents. This, of course, is a pejorative term that is meant as an insult—no other way to spin it. It’s a real hard-hitter, and Trump has proven that he’s not shy about hitting hard. “Loser” is another one that carries a lot of weight, especially if a person of power uses it. Trump has used the term a lot, describing everyone from Cher to fallen soldiers, to prisoners of war to terrorists as losers. Another favorite is “zero”. Trump stores this word in his “disparaging” arsenal. Some tweets confirm this: “Crooked Hillary Clinton has zero natural talent.” “Jeb Bush has zero communication skills.”


Here is a couple of Trump invented words you might enjoy; hamberders and covfefe. Look them up, just for fun.  My conclusion is if DJT scored 100 on an IQ test (national average) it would just be luck.  And my guess is that the odds were better for me to win the $ 2 billion Powerball® than for Trump to score anything above that.


Although he did not invent the term “fake news” (DJT actually claimed he did, but that is not true), he certainly did popularize it.  Of course, the term is now commonly used to describe some type of disinformation that is disseminated. However, DJTs use of the term follows its third definition most closely: “used as a conversational tactic to dispute or discredit information that is perceived as hostile or unflattering.”  Both of these conditions are completely unacceptable to DJT.


It has been said that Trump has “turned the rant into an art form”.  He uses both a lot of words and short words to make his point.  And he makes that point repeatedly and frequently.  It is obvious that DJTs rhetorical strategy holds that if he makes a claim of some sort, regardless of its truthfulness or any basis in fact, and repeats it often enough and strongly enough, it becomes the truth. People will believe it.  In fact, the phrase “Believe me…” is one of DJTs favorite sentence starters. According to Professor Roderick Hart in his book subtitled “The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump”, DJTs strategy is “centered on agenda setting and framing, simplicity, emotion, slogans and repetition”.  


Accordingly, this would classify him as a “Demagogue”, or a leader who makes use of popular prejudices, false claims, empty promises and misdirection in order to gain and retain power.  To WIN at all costs. So in this regard I suppose you could call Trump “brilliant”.  But in my mind, it is definitely not intellectual brilliance.  He is just brilliantly cunning.  That, also in my opinion, makes DJT eminently dangerous.  According to “[winning] frames everything as a challenge, a competition to be won, which definitely echoes Trump’s competitive personal nature and business background.” The act of winning is an absolute essential ingredient to the Trump formula.  “You’re going to win so much you may get tired of winning.” There’s danger in setting the level of expectation that high, though. If you miss it, you’ve got a long distance to fall.


Some prominent examples:


1.)   Stolen Election:  As we all know, DJT ran for reelection on the 2020 Republican Presidential ticket.  At the end, verified vote counts nationally had then candidate Joe Biden with 51.3 % (81,282,916) and DJT with 46.9 % (74,223,369), a 7,059,547 vote edge (+ 4.5%)  The Electoral College vote, based on that popular vote lead, was split 302 for Biden and 232 for Trump.  That vote count was certified by the Senate on January 6, 2021.  Interestingly, when Trump won the election in 2016 the EC vote split was identical; 302 for Trump and 232 for Hillary Clinton.  Back then DJT claimed that result was a “great win”, an “incredible victory” and a “tremendous landslide”. Of course, Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by over 2.9 million votes nationally, a fact that DJT conveniently ignores. His response in 2020 when the tables were turned was that this time it was an “incredible fraud” and a “tremendous injustice”.  DJT claimed that reports of voter fraud were rampant and reports to the contrary were “fake news”.  Then Trumps claim that the election was “stolen”, kicked off a divisive campaign to “Stop the Steal” which has polarized American voters for over a year, incited individual and massive acts of violence, and fueled the influence of various popular as well as little known social media sites on the internet, often having a serious corrosive effect and spreading misinformation like wildfire.


According to the investigations conducted and testimony heard by the January 6th Committee, DJT and his minions launched a calculated and multi-pronged attack on the entire election system nationally and across multiple “swing states”.  DJT and his cadre of high-priced lawyers filed sixty-three (63) lawsuits in multiple states including Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in an attempt to upset or set aside the vote and/or the legally assigned electors. This was his right as it is any candidates right. Trump lost all but one of those lawsuits and that favorable judgment was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  The primary reason for dismissal in all of these lawsuits was “lack of evidence”.  DJT could NOT prove his claims of voter fraud.  They were dismissed by the courts as “frivolous”, “without merit” and, interestingly, many of those dismissals were enacted by judges who had been nominated or appointed by Trump himself, disparaging claims of political bias.


Everyone knows what has happened in the past year since this all started.  The Jan. 6th insurrection at the Capitol was the most prominent disaster, but multiple more local and individual disasters have increased because of the spread of the “stolen election” conspiracy theory.   One that could be extremely costly for Trump and some of his minions (Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Fox, Newsmax, et al) is the defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems for $ 1.3 billion.  I might not even be alive by the time this one gets settled.


Still, with all the evidence indicating that the 2020 election was legitimate, 61 % of Republicans still believe that Biden did not win the election “fair and square”.  Why? Because DJT continues to claim that it was fraudulent.  And, as I said earlier, because he continues to say it loudly and often, some people still believe him.


All I would ask people to do, is before you continue to accept Trumps assertions and claims of election fraud, do your homework. 


2.)  Lawsuits and Legal Problems:  Historically, DJT lives in a litigious world.  In the past three decades, Trump has been involved in 4,095 lawsuits.  So it is easy to see how he might appear unfazed by everyone that is coming after him.  As disclosed, DJT believes he is above the law.  However, as of this time in December, 2022, DJT, his companies and many of his cohorts in the Trump “orbit”, as they say, are involved in at least twenty-seven (27) lawsuits and investigations relating to his political and business activities.


These are not frivolous lawsuits.  They are extremely serious.  Some involve criminal charges, some civil.  Some are federal offenses (seditious conspiracy/conspiracy to commit election fraud/obstructing an official business of Congress/election tampering/mishandling and unlawful seizure of classified and Top Secret documents, to name a few) as well as serious and potentially expensive civil suits (tax fraud/loan & lender fraud/defamation/sexual assault and misconduct, etc.).  Trump has dismissed them all as “fraudulent witch hunts” and “politically motivated”. Of course, once again, without any proof.


Trump has lied, cheated, broken laws and bullied his way to a position of leadership in the Republican Party.  He intimidates and uses the ultra-right-wing faction of the GOP as a blunt instrument to keep Republicans in power subservient to his will.  How all of these lawsuits and investigations play out could take months, even years to resolve.


In the recent Mid-Term Election, DJT went on the campaign trail and stumped for his preferred candidates in multiple markets, focusing on the “swing states” of AZ, GA, PA, NV, MN, MI and OH.  Unfortunately for many of those candidates, Trump spent most of his time at those rallies, stumping for himself; bragging about his perceived accomplishments and how he should still be the President. 


In the competitive races overall, 42 Trump-backed candidates won, 29 lost, 6 are in races not yet called and two are headed for runoffs. And a candidate was more likely to lose a competitive race if he or she echoed Trump's lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Twenty-eight of the 29 who lost denied or cast doubt on Biden's victory.


The results of the Mid-Terms have cast a shadow on the Trump’s ability to influence voters.  Some leaders in the GOP, who are still in office, are backing away from DJT.  Even Ivanka, Trump’s daughter and Jared, his son-in-law, have said they want nothing more to do with DJT politics.


A couple of weeks ago, in prime time, DJT held a large event at Mar-a-Lago where he formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States in 2024.  Only portions of it were covered live by any traditional news media and most all of them either took a pass on live coverage and/or cut away in the middle of their broadcasts.  CNN did a fact check on Trumps speech.  Not surprisingly, they found 20 false or misleading statements.


Whether DJT is using his newly established candidacy to slow or halt various investigations or lawsuits is unclear at the moment, but it may be a prominent factor in helping him to dig his way out of the legal cesspool he finds himself in.  I have enough confidence in our judicial system to believe that DJT will not be able to avoid prosecution on all of them and may even face prison time.  Of course, we all have little to no control over whatever the final outcomes might be.


So, what I hope happens is for justice to be done.  I pray that God’s will for DJT be the controlling factor.  And I pray that God’s will has a dramatic effect on saving our democracy from ruin.


Donald John Trump is, in my opinion, the “Essence of Evil” and the sooner he is out of the political limelight, goes back to Florida and shuts the hell up is the only way for our democracy to recover and thrive. In the end, however, I believe that God will prevail.


I certainly would be interested in the reader’s opinion(s) on this post.


Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless America.